Saturday, September 29, 2007

10 Things I Dislike about Telecom

Recently at the Channel Partner Expo, the Director of Sales for Easton asked me why I worked in telecom, since I obviously hated it so much. I don't hate telecom, I dislike quite a few things about it:

10. The whiners who won't file a comment or complaint with the FCC or PSC. It's like citizens who complain about the President, but didn't turn out to vote.

9. The whiners who still expect the FCC to "fix" it so they can sell DSL profitably. Wake up! It isn't the FCC's job to see to it that you make a profit - that's your CEO's job!

8. The telcos that advertise UNLIMITED, but actually don't mean it. (False advertising - and the other F-Agency - the FTC - should be all over you.).

7. The telcos that say they OWN the network, when in fact they only Operate the network (or something akin to that). Unless you trenched or strung some fiber; bought an IRU; or lit up an AP, you lease or rent your network. (More false advertising. Hello! FTC?!).

6. Telco execs that have no clue about dockets at the FCC that will adversely affect their companies position. Regulatory and Legislation are as much a CEO's bailiwick as Vision, Strategy and Profit. How do you have Vision or Strategy without knowing what is happening in DC and at the State Capital? Ma Bell spent over $60M last year lobbying to get what they want. $60M!

5. CLEC execs that still think the FCC is going to see the light and not UN-regulate the ILECs to the detriment of the industry. Powell and Martin peeve me off, but there isn't any change in sight, so re-adjust your thinking. No national broadband strategy is another problem*.

4. CLEC execs that still think offering an Integrated T1 is novel.

3. MVNO execs that think the new UNE-P (MVNO) is going to work out any different than the copper UNE-P did.

The Number 2 item that bugs me is COMPTEL for not forcing its members to see the writing on the wall. By now, CLEC's should be peering, sharing infrastructure info, and buying from each other as much as possible to the detriment of the ILEC. Why isn't COMPTEL sponsoring a consortium to bid on the 700 MHz spectrum? There's the 3rd pipe so you can actually OWN the network. (Get the RLEC's to join you).

And Number 1 is The Total Lack of Innovation from the CLEC Industry. We live in a Web-enabled, widget tech world. And the CLEC's mostly act like it's still 2000. Remember Z-Tel's PVA? Where's the UM, the FMC - and all the other acronyms? Everyone is chasing minutes with "I'll save you some money". You hate FREE, but you are the ones pushing the price lower and lower. Where's the Value? Business owners would rather have productivity and reliability and integration and an easy bill than save 10%. (But if you can't do any of that - all you have is price... for the short term.)

This isn't to say that there aren't CLEC, ITSP, Hosting, ASP, ISP, and WISP execs that have a clue - I know quite a few. Where are they, you ask? Most of them are regional. Local players, who don't have the audacity to think that you can go national before you build a bedrock of local or regional. Execs that get to know their clients - and create a solution for them, thinking outside the box. Getting it done. That's why I am in telecom industry. I love working with these guys. They get it. You have a good day now, James.

*(It doesn't surprise me that we have no broadband strategy, since the only plan this Administration had was to make all their pals rich and go to war in Iraq. Remember he said mission accomplished a long time ago. Don't be like GW. Get an A in Planning.)

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