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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
http://www.lightreading.com
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DoTheMath 12/4/2012 | 10:05:05 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate Scott, thanks for the quote. To be fair, I did not come up with "fraudband". Some other LR poster, probably rjmcmahon, did.

My argument is telecom should offer more for less, and do it consistently year after year; rapidly lower the price per mbps, but provide a lot more mbps to keep the industry revenue growing. The industry has huge inefficiencies along the food chain today, and removing those inefficiencies is essential for this to be possible. As an aside, I have argued that the debates over "class of service" are mostly pointless: my mantra is good enough products (i.e services), low prices and a profitable business model.

I summarized my argument in
http://www.lightreading.com/bo...

It references earlier posts:

http://www.lightreading.com/bo...

and

http://www.lightreading.com/bo...
jim_smith 12/4/2012 | 10:05:03 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate Please add the following capabilities to your
message boards. (If you do this, the valuation of
the message board will go up by at least 100x...
BTW, thanks for the "ignore author" feature. It
really helped with the BobbyMax type of noise).

1. Threads. It will be nice if we can organize and
read the messages based on threads.

2. Search capability. It will be great if we
can search for earlier postings by author name
or by topic.
theanswer 12/4/2012 | 10:05:02 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate Government needs to ensure that workers are not screwed out of their options and gains for hard work while the execs. continue to walk away with golden parachutes, perks, extended pay after leaving, and during the sale of company. Deals that maximize the VC & executives pockets while finding ways to prevent employees in the trenches of getting a share should be investigated. It doesn't just happen with big companies.
Scott Raynovich 12/4/2012 | 10:05:02 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate there already is a search function, right here:

http://www.lightreading.com/bo...

most people don't seem to know this page exists, but it is very handy. Enjoy.
rafaelg 12/4/2012 | 10:04:58 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate "Everyone should be encouraging small communities to build their own municipal owned networks to help spur growth."
AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!
I've been biting and gritting my teeth as a read all the posts that have surfaced on this subject. While by no means I will replace Willie in his absence, I have to comment on this one. I will even number them!
1- In terms of successful subsidies vs. unsuccessful, data shows that an immense amount of "pork" is created by government when it intervenes in bailout schemes. Taxpayers continually end up paying for useless programs that only benefit a few.
A) Paying agribusiness groups not to grow certain crops on barren or marginal land.
B) Mining companies don't pay taxes on minerals extracted from government land. The same goes for oil companies.
C) Research and development is another big "porker". Grants are given to study the sexual behavior of squirrels.
D) Drugs. Federal grants are given to big pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs. Moreover, they keep the profits!
Therefore, I am with Willie and all those that will fight CORPORATE WELFARE!!!
The "BIG FIX" won't come until enough applications are generated to require that MA and PA get a DSL to the home. Period. Downloading pictures and music won't cut it. Only then, we will see the services fighting to get to our door. No demand, no services.
It comes down to the chicken or the eggGǪ

jim_smith 12/4/2012 | 10:04:58 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate I also got the "LDAP Authentication" page, but
the following link worked for me.

http://www.lightreading.com/bo...
Bumper_car 12/4/2012 | 10:04:57 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate rafaelg: "The "BIG FIX" won't come until enough applications are generated to require that MA and PA get a DSL to the home. Period. Downloading pictures and music won't cut it. Only then, we will see the services fighting to get to our door. No demand, no services.
It comes down to the chicken or the eggGǪ"
_______________________________________________

Which is the chicken and which is the egg? Which creates demand, the perceived need or the availability? Given that most deployments take from 18mo to three years between the planning stages and the active turn up of services, both the chicken and the egg would die while waiting on the other.

The existing infrastructure was built more by business community needs and requirements than by residential needs and requirements. The residential telephone became a reality because of the political will of the people demanding basic connectivity, which then created a market for residential long haul services. The local facilities deployments were subsidized to respond to that political will for connectivity. There were a massive number of small local only telephone companies (many of them community cooperatives) that provided most of the early infrastructure for the non-tier one service environments. For the most part, these small local infrastructure telcos were bought up and are now part of the larger RBOCs. Some still exist. Some have been bought by utility companies as GǣfrontsGǥ for their fiber transmission services.

Business demands created the revenue that paid for the long haul interconnect infrastructure. It was a lack of competition for the long haul business and those revenues that created the GǣdemandGǥ for the break up of AT&T, not competition for local dial access for other services. Only as the service models drill deeper into the need for access has this become an issue.

Just as in the early days of local residential or non-tier one markets, it will be up to the political will of the people in those environments to get the infrastructure built. Only after there is an availability for application usage will there be a discovery of what those next generation applications will be. In the early days of the telephone, how many fathers realized that the primary user of the phone would be their teenage daughters not themselves. For the most part, the first phone in the house was decided on by the father because he had one at work. (I donGt know of any widely know studies on the history of the operant behavior changes in the use of the telephone in the early days of the industry.)
The deployment of universal non-dial up access will end up being more an issue of political will and will be have to be paid for through that political will. What the services will be is yet to be discovered.

Side Note: I agree with your comments on the corruption of big business and big government. Local governments tend to be less corrupt and easily exposed when they are. I would much rather see local communities do this than wait on the federal government.
bitdropper 12/4/2012 | 10:04:57 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate "...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)."

--------------------------------------------------
Boy, wait until my mother-in-law finds out I've just been branded a "radical left-winger". :)

Great article Scott! How do you manage to get through lunch every day with your tongue planted so firmly in your cheek? :)

bd
bitdropper 12/4/2012 | 10:04:57 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate " 'Everyone should be encouraging small communities to build their own municipal owned networks to help spur growth.'
AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!...
"...Therefore, I am with Willie and all those that will fight CORPORATE WELFARE!!!..."
--------------------------------------------------

I might have missed the point, but I don't see municipal utilities and corporate welfare being the same.

Municipal utilities (MLECs) will actually create competition for the ILECs and CLECs. They'll get the last mile access plant away from the control of the RBOCs. They'll hand off their subscribers to multiple SPs, who will then have to compete for their business. How is this "corporate welfare"?

PS Be careful about volunteering to be Willy while he's on vacation. You'll be required to wear one of his "flattery protection suits" if you do. :)

bd
bitdropper 12/4/2012 | 10:04:57 PM
re: Telecom Turmoil Fires Up Debate "I also got the "LDAP Authentication" page, but
the following link worked for me.

http://www.lightreading.com/bo..."

--------------------------------------------------
If you look at the left side panel of the LR home page, there's a bullet called "Message Boards". If you click on that, it puts you right into the search page.
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