Top Ten Movers & Shakers in Telecom
If cable overlay vs. IPTV is the telco industry's Coke/Pepsi debate, Chris Rice may have made the choice of a new generation.
In the last 12 months, Rice, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s executive VP of network planning and engineering, has become the designated chief defender of the company's decision to roll out a pure IP-based TV service as part of its next-generation access network makeover, Project Lightspeed.
The sheer size of AT&T's reach and the visibility it has created for Lightspeed put Rice in an influential position. And we note his star has been on the rise since the company formerly known as SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) went on its buying spree. (See Source: Eslambolchi Out at 'New' AT&T.)
With all the pressure on AT&T to deliver skeptic-crushing numbers and knock-your-socks-off technology, Rice's technology cheers and jeers in the next few months could be the stuff of telco industry legend. He's not easy for vendors to please, and if he gives a thumbs-down to any service or vendor while Lightspeed is lighting up, millions of dollars worth of market cap and tech investment could be on the move.
We like that Rice is up for a good chat, too. Without mincing words, he frequently and fluently takes on issues such as how much bandwidth is enough for consumer homes, how big a problem P2P is traffic in telco networks, what's wrong with telco gear vendors, and why home networking is the wave of the future in residential service delivery. (See RBOCs Want Inside Your House, RBOCs Wait & See on P2P, and RBOCs to Vendors: More Nines, Please.)
Adding to Rice's rhetoric is AT&T's addition of satellite broadband, Internet-based VOD, and a fairly future-proof residential gateway to the company's access network bundle. (See AT&T to Offer Satellite Broadband, AT&T, TotalVid.com in VOD Deal, and AT&T Adds Akimbo VOD.) With more options for more people, this could tilt the table in Rice's favor and make the company's IPTV plans, no matter how humble at first, seem larger than life.
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