Robert C. Atkinson
  Director of Policy Research - CITI

Bob Atkinson joined CITI in 2000 as one consequence of CITI receiving a multi-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the purpose of expanding CITI into a Sloan Center for Telecommunications Research. At CITI, he has written on a number of regulatory issues (for example, Network Neutrality: History Will Repeat Itself, Telecom Regulation for the 21st Century: Avoiding Gridlock, Adapting to Change and Net Neutrality: An Overview) and speaks regularly at conferences on regulatory policy, telecom business trends and the interaction between policy and business.

For 18 months prior to joining CITI, Mr. Atkinson was the Deputy Chief of the FCC's Common Carrier Bureau. ( FCC announcement ) With the Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau and two other Deputy Chiefs, he was responsible for developing, implementing and enforcing FCC policies and regulations governing interstate telecommunication services. Mr. Atkinson negotiated the conditions associated with the FCC's approval of the SBC-Ameritech merger and was responsible for the substance of many major FCC decisions, including: UNE Remand; Line Sharing; Bell Atlantic-GTE and Qwest-US West mergers; Broadband Deployment (Sec.706) Report; and, Local Competition & Broadband Deployment data gathering.

From 2001-2006, Mr. Atkinson served as the Chairman of the North American Numbering Council (NANC), which advises the FCC on matters affecting the availability and utilization of telephone number resources in the U.S. (NANC goals interview, part 1; part 2)

Beginning in 1985, Mr. Atkinson was responsible for the regulatory, public policy and external affairs activities of Teleport Communications Group (TCG), the nation's first Competitive Access Provider (CAP) and Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC). In 1994 he became Senior Vice President for Legal, Regulatory & External Affairs when his role was expanded to include responsibility for TCG's Legal Department. When AT&T acquired TCG in July 1998 and TCG became AT&T Local Services, Mr. Atkinson was Vice President and Chief Regulatory Officer of AT&T Local Services until he joined the FCC.

In addition to CITI activity, Mr. Atkinson currently serves two levels of government in an advisory capacity:

  • as a member of theNew York Telecommunications Reliability Advisory Council (NYTRAC) which advises the New York Public Service Commission on telecom reliability and survivability issues; and,
  • as a member of the Telecommunications Policy Advisory Group (TPAG) which advises New York City on telecom infrastructure and broadband deployment issues.

Throughout his career, Mr. Atkinson played a leading role in most of the key regulatory and public policy decisions that introduced competition to the local telephone markets and shaped the Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) industry. For example, the TCG White Papers helped shape key state and federal local competition policies. Since joining CITI, he participated frequently in public policy hearings (for example, ), conference and seminars and has been quoted regularly in the press on telecommunications policy issues (for example, ).

In the regulatory and public policy area, Mr. Atkinson served in Washington, DC as a Government Relations Representative for ITT's Communication Operations Group and as Counsel for Government and International Matters at Satellite Business Systems (SBS). He was a founder of the Ad Hoc Committee for Competitive Telecommunications (ACCT, a forerunner of CompTel), which was formed by competitive long distance companies in the mid-70's to promote pro-competition legislation and regulations. After joining TCG, Mr. Atkinson co-founded and was the first President of the Association for Local Telecommunication Services (ALTS), the competitive local telecommunications industry's trade association.

Mr. Atkinson graduated from University of Virginia in 1972 with a Bachelor of Art degree in Government and Foreign Affairs. He later received a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center (evening program) in 1979. While at Georgetown, Mr. Atkinson was a member of the Georgetown Law Journal. He is presently admitted to the bar in New Jersey.