by Dan Gibson
AT&T needs a few things from the FCC - approval of their merger with T-Mobile, permission to screw with how traffic flows through the internet tubes - so what's the only way to woo a government entity? Cupcakes!
IN this covetous town, the delicacies of the Georgetown Cupcake shop stand alone as symbols of wish fulfillment — heaping swirls of luscious confection atop rich, creamy pastry.
Therefore: Operation Cupcake. As the Federal Communications Commission debated final rules last December on how Internet service providers should manage their traffic, AT&T delivered 1,500 of these opulent desserts to the F.C.C.’s headquarters here.
Like many other big corporations, AT&T annually blankets power brokers with token holiday gifts, but the cupcake campaign was notable for its military precision. A three-page spreadsheet, stamped “AT&T Proprietary (Internal Use Only),” detailed how the desserts were to be deployed to each of the 63 commission offices: four dozen were assigned to the enforcement bureau, 10 dozen to the wireless divisions, 12 cupcakes to each of four commissioners, and 18 to the chairman, and so on.
As it turns out, AT&T had begun its $39 billion courting of T-Mobile about the same time. The resulting deal, announced a week ago, would transform the industry if approved. It would narrow the field of major wireless providers to three and vault AT&T into the No. 1 spot, ahead of Verizon; consumer advocates say the combination will lead to higher prices.
I feel better about my $150 a month bill now! Thanks for looking out for my interests, AT&T!