& 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 While conceding that it doesn't make sense for an incumbent telco to maintain outdated or inefficient network elements such as aging copper loops and under-used circuit switches, Kline pointed out that it also doesn't make economic sense for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   >   >>
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 19, 1:00PM EDT
Securing a Virtual World
Rita Marty, Executive Director, Mobility and Cloud Security, Chief Security Office, AT&T
Friday, October 21, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Evolving the Data Center
Rasool Kareem Irfan, Head, Telecom & Infrastructure Security Practice, Tata Communications Transformation Services Ltd (TCTS)
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
From Philly, With Love

9|30|16   |     |   (5) comments


Join Alan Breznick, cable's answer to the Italian Stallion, as he runs through the highlights of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, lumbers along in Rocky Balboa's footsteps and searches for the perfect Philadelphia cheesesteak.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SD-WAN Customers Looking for Value Not Cost Savings

9|30|16   |   5:31   |   (0) comments


At NFV & Carrier SDN in Denver, CenturyLink's Eric Nowak told Light Reading that when customers launch SD-WAN, they aren't necessary looking to save money, but instead they are looking for more value from what they're spending. He also shared some unique case studies and lessons learned from launching SD-WAN services.
LRTV Custom TV
Flexible Deployment Approaches for the Gigabit Services Evolution

9|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


For many operators, the gigabit evolution begins with the shift from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1. But that move represents a change not only in the protocol itself, but in the approach to architecting their entire DOCSIS delivery chain -- from the headend to the outside plant and home gateway components.

Jonathan Ruff, senior director of global technical ...

LRTV Interviews
Level 3 VP: Enterprises Need More for Less

9|29|16   |   05:27   |   (0) comments


Andrew Dugan, Level 3 group vice president of global technology and IT, says enterprises need more bandwidth and they need it faster and with greater security, but they want to spend less, if possible. They are looking to carriers to reduce their network complexity and help protect them from cyberattacks as well.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SDN/NFV Pose New Interconnection Possibilities

9|28|16   |   04:37   |   (0) comments


Network operators should develop new APIs and business processes for reselling virtual assets to each other, says CenturyLink's Bill Walker. That will enable them to build digital business portfolios that help them avoid becoming commodity transport providers.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Overcoming Terror of Being Supplier, Integrator & Developer

9|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Travis Ewert of Level 3 Communications said there is terror in becoming supplier, integrator and developer, but it can be overcome and be cost effective.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing IoT World News

9|27|16   |   01:43   |   (0) comments


Self-driving cars, medical sensors, smart cities... and refrigerators. In order to address the huge scope of IoT, KNect365 has created a unique online community that will help businesses to understand and monetize the opportunities that live within the IoT market. We look forward to welcoming you to IoT World News -- your gateway to a better connected future.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Reusable Functions Next NFV Key

9|27|16   |   06:03   |   (0) comments


The next generation of NFV has to break functions down into reusable software chunks, making everything much more cloud-like.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (2) comments


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Telefónica Taps Juniper for Network Security
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/26/2016
AT&T CEO Backs Black Lives Matter
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/30/2016
Powell Kills the Cable Show
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/29/2016
Telstra Sees Quadrupled Data Capacity by 2020
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/28/2016
From Philly, With Love
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 9/30/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.