& cplSiteName &

US Carriers Should Fix Own Regulatory Crisis

Carol Wilson
3/19/2014
50%
50%

LAS VEGAS -- COMPTEL Plus Spring 2014 -- Can US service providers cooperate on their own solution to figure out how to interconnect competing networks in an all-IP world? Sam Kline, SVP-corporate strategy for Granite Telecommunications thinks so, and he warns that the telecom carriers' failure to agree on a solution that supports competition going forward will force Washington to step in with a plan likely to burden everyone. (See Windstream CEO: Protect Interconnection and FCC VoIP Ruling Bound to Disappoint Someone.)

Kline, whose firm Granite Telecommunications LLC is a national competitive carrier, laid out what he sees as obvious realities in a panel discussion on the future of the copper network in the US. While conceding that it doesn't make sense for an incumbent telco to maintain outdated or inefficient network elements such as aging copper loops and under-used circuit switches, Kline pointed out that it also doesn't make economic sense for every operator to build out its own local distribution network, rather than share the local loops through the wholesale arrangements that exist today.

"We are better off working together here to find a solution," Kline said. "It doesn't make economic sense for us to force government regulation by refusing to find a reasonable business process that enables us to work together. "

The challenge is how competitive carriers will gain access to incumbent networks as incumbents upgrade their networks, both to eliminate aging TDM switches with IP gear, and to replace copper distribution plant with fiber. (See FCC Tests Copper Obsolescence in an IP World.)

Kline's comments came after execs from two incumbents -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) -- said their companies are not planning sweeping retirement of copper networks but nor are they interested in maintaining two networks -- copper and fiber -- or keeping aging switches in operation when they are under-utilized.

Both Gary Ludgood, SVP, global network field operations, AT&T, and Bill Cheek, president, wholesale markets group, CenturyLink, said their firms are tracking their network investments to consumer demand -- and that's tilting toward wireless connections and VoIP services, not traditional wireline voice.

CenturyLink, which has lost 70% of traditional voice lines in its 37-state region, "doesn't see the day when we will retire copper but we don't want to be mandated to maintain two networks either," Cheek said. The carrier favors interconnection at state level, he added.

AT&T is looking for the most efficient way to handle interconnection of networks in the IP realm, Ludgood added, and he appealed to a large crowd of mostly competitive operators to share their ideas. Ludgood also said he believes the period for all-IP trials will be a long one. AT&T has proposed two initial trials to the FCC. (See AT&T's All-IP Tests Won't Answer Key Questions.)

The fourth panelist, Daniel McCarthy, president and COO, Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR), a smaller ILEC, pointed out that while consumers are shedding their wireline phones, businesses are not, and maintaining choice and competition in the business community remains a key economic driver in many parts of the US. That will require maintaining copper connections.

Incompas , the organization sponsoring the event and the political lobbying force for the competitive carrier industry, is the likely fulcrum point for any industry discussion, since all of the major carrier players that buy and sell wholesale interconnections attend its twice-annual events and keep its deal center hopping. Chip Pickering, the new CEO of Comptel, moderated the copper panel and kicked off the panel by saying the new transition to IP needs to carry forward the "enduring values" of the current system.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(15)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2014 | 3:53:26 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
I think if they start getting wind of the government stepping in, it will be  enough for them to try to work together. They've seen how the government has "helped" the industry before, so they have to know that working together may not come up with a solution than everyone likes, but is very likely to be better than anything imposed from on high.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/20/2014 | 3:12:28 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
Sam,

I'm sure that's why the Granite exec was making this appeal. The folks who gather at Comptel -- and all the carriers do -- are the ones making the deals with each other, and they know the give-and-take. The guys at the executive level, not so much.

And if they string this out long enough and the next administration winds up setting the rules, it could be a very different ballgame. 
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2014 | 2:35:43 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
Agree with you that it would be nice for the industry to sort these things out on their own, but it seems the big guys, whether vendors or service providers, don't every want to "give" anything away. So would not at all be surprised to see this dumped into the lap of regulators--and it's not as if the big guys don't have a lot of weight there. So with them, it's heads I win, tails you lose, and forget win-win.
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 6:17:53 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
Peering is what I take it as. But I could be wrong. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/19/2014 | 6:14:49 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
If I'm reading this right, Kline says that established businesses should work together to ensure that new competitors can enter the field.

That's not how business works. What happens is that established businesses work together to BLOCK new competitors. Why should they do otherwise?

On the other hand, peering arrangements between networks have historically worked brilliantly well, and we're talking about peering (or something like it) here, correct? Or am I missing something?

And when business and government work together, what happens is they cooperate to drive out new competitors. 

I seem to be excessively gloomy today. I need more tea. 
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 3:07:53 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
Of course they don't want to keep pumping money into copper when they have shinny new fiber on hand. 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 2:19:25 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
It's a little more complex than that. Verizon, for instance, is essentially letting its copper network deteriorate in markets where it also offers FiOS. But as of now, it's also saying that it will not be expanding its FiOS footprint. Applying logic, this suggests that Verizon at minimum wants to operate only one network (FiOS or copper) in each market it serves, but it can't force copper customers off their service in the FiOS territories for regulatory reasons. As for the markets that don't have FiOS, it's entirely possible that VZ may just want to sell those off, but that hasn't been stated publicly to my knowledge.
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 2:05:27 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
They will keep copper for as long as they can... and squeze as much cash out of it as they can.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 1:59:33 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
As the telcos say they aren't going to get rid of copper, but on the other hand don't want to continue two systems, one wonders which is true. Residential customers have abandoned the landlines bit time, but business, presumably because of much larger investestments in equipment will slog on for a bit more, but eventually they'll switch as well. To avoid regulatory oversight all will have to get togther before they are forced.
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 1:55:49 PM
Re: Keep the gov out....
@Carol, 

Yes, Openness is what I was getting at, I think there needs to be some regulation on that front, no matter how much the providers fight it. And speaking from my experience as a network engineer at a service provider I know that the companies can easily come up with a workable solution and probably have it implemented in record time if there was money to be made. I just think the government needs to help put a framework of openness in place to help everyone play nice. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Atrinet's NetACE – Migration to NFV & SDN With NetOps-Driven LSO

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At Atrinet's headquarters, Ray Le Maistre sits down with Roy Silon to get an in-depth look into the company's focus and the secret recipe for their success.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Amsterdam ArenA, Powered by Huawei

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Huawei's ICT solutions power the state-of-the-art Amsterdam ArenA, turning it into a smart stadium.
    LRTV Interviews
    Testing When There's No 'There' There

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The benefits of SDN/NFV are well known, but the transition comes with some challenges, prominent among them is: how do you test a network that has been abstracted and has the potential to be endlessly reconfigurable? Light Reading was at NFV World Congress in Santa Clara, Calif., where we bumped into Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds, a Swedish ...
    LRTV Interviews
    Ditching the Slash & the Orchestration Wars

    5|3|16   |     |   (2) comments


    SDN and NFV have been inextricably bound with each other for so long that on a conceptual level, smooshing them together into one catch-all phrase – SDNFV – is now justifiable, according to Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Light Reading spoke to Pitt at the NFV World Congress, where he explained that the next ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    ZTE TV Connect Highlights

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    ZTE gives us a tour of its booth and new products at TV Connect in London.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and visit the Deluxe booth at NAB! Here you'll find Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution, OTT video, virtual reality, HDR, 4K and much more!
    LRTV Interviews
    Verizon Puts Gray Boxes in the Shade

    5|2|16   |   04:33   |   (1) comment


    When it comes to the white box trend, "gray" boxes, which have a slight proprietary twist, don't give service providers and end users the advantages they're seeking, according to Verizon's Vice President of Product and New Business Innovation Shawn Hakl.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Dealing With a Disrupted Video Market

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ericsson's Simon Frost discusses how traditional pay-TV providers can cope with the big changes wrought by the rise of OTT video and IP technology.
    LRTV Custom TV
    The VNF Responsibility of Red Hat

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At MWC, Caroline Chappell of Heavy Reading visits the Red Hat booth and sits down with Chris Wright to talk about the responsibility the VNF needs to take on in order to ensure the operators get the carrier-grade performance they expect for their network.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Amazon AWS Reports $2.6B Quarterly Revenue, Up a Colossal 64%
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/28/2016
    Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/3/2016
    Amazon & Other 'Big 4' Cloud Providers Crushing Competitors
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/29/2016
    FCC Poised to Re-Regulate Wholesale Access
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Sloth Mail Click Here
    Sloth mail -- somehow even slower than snail mail.
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.