It turns out that many people in the Light Reading community think a telco by any other name would still smell like a telco.
With extreme apologies to Shakespeare (whatever his name really was), that's how roughly 33% of site followers who answered Light Reading's latest community poll question feel. The poll taken by about 880 people, asked, "Should we put the label 'telco' to rest once and for all?" The most popular answers suggest that our readers believe changing the name won't change how we think of those companies we typically identify as telcos. (See What's in a Name?.)
Although AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and the like most certainly would blanch at being described as "the telephone company" (we'll give you youngsters a minute to Google "telephone"), we have to admit that "telco" is still a term you see and hear quite often at industry gatherings and in Light Reading stories (so maybe it's our fault.) Still, networks and the business plans that leverage them have changed so much that most so-called telcos now provide an incredibly wide range of services, quite a few of them not voice-centric.
Many of those services, though not all, still revolve around communications in some way, so it's no surprise that about 28% of poll takers believe CSP, or communications service provider, would be a much better label. Although, at least one dear reader pointed out that would mean replacing an actual word (well, it's sort of a mash-up word) with yet another acronym.
Among other answers, more than 19% said the telco label should not be retired because there's nothing wrong with it, while more than 16% went with the opposite extreme -- that it should definitely be changed because it's terribly outdated. Finally, about 2.5% of voters believe the term should be retired for some completely new label, though very few gave suggestions what that label should be.
What's perhaps most interesting overall is that given three essentially affirmative answers (in other words, yes, let's retire the telco label) and two negative answers (no, let's keep using it), a little over 53% don't have a problem with a term that almost 47% of us think is a bit long in the tooth. Talking "telco" is a pretty divisive topic.
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading