Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate

Readers fire in suggestions about government involvement and technological solutions for the telecom industry

July 16, 2002

2 Min Read
Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate

Light Reading users have demonstrated that they are passionate about various proposals to fix the telecom industry mess, as shown by a feverish debate raging on the message board attached to the column, The Big Problem.

Much of the debate centers around regulatory issues, and what the government should do, if anything, to help the U.S. telecom industry recover.

"The constructive thing to do is stick with the Telecom Act," wrote a user named WillyWilson. "The RBOCs ran out of string in May on the delaying tactics when the US Supreme Court minced no words in upholding the Act. Congress won't repeal it, and the states are enforcing it."

WillyWilson doesn't see things coming up rosy for the RBOCs. He believes recent court decisions have gone against them, and the only reason CLECs lost was because they were "stupid." (See Supremes Rule for Competitive Carriersand Good News for CLECs?.) He believes a new wave of competitive carriers will emerge to challenge the RBOCs.

Other readers concurred with Willy's pro-competitive carrier approach. One reader, DoTheMath, likened the RBOC consumer broadband strategies to "fraudband," in which they drive the prices of DSL up and slow down deployments as competition wanes.

"I strongly believe a generation of hyper-efficient Dell-like entrepreneurs will arrive that will bypass the RBOCs completely, build infrastructure from the ground-up, offer real broadband, real cheap," wrote DoTheMath.

But while Willy and DoTheMath were trashing the RBOCS, a radical, left-wing faction emerged on the board, urging government aid for a program that would encourage building fiber to the "wherever" (referred to by readers as FTTx).

Several readers likened a government-sponsored fiber infrastructure to the public highway system.

"FTTx is no different!" wrote a reader called bitdropper. "It will take the interest and involvement of the community, supported by incentives from the local, state and federal entities, to get this stuff into the ground. As soon as anyone mentions this, the watchdogs of capitalism [yeah, Willy, that’s you :)] start strapping on their holsters."The debate reached such fevered pitch that WillyWilson announced that he would have to take a vacation from the Light Reading message board after spending the better part of two days there.

To create a more permanent place for the debate, Light Reading has now set up a forum in the Reader Talk section of Light Reading's message boards. The new "Telecom Rescue" forum can be found here.— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading

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