Tuesday, August 05, 2008

the FCC Should Forbear for Benefit

According to Dave Rusin, the FCC should grant forbearance to help consumers and the economy. (Read more here). Of course, he thinks the CLEC Industry is doomed, but then he is in the fiber game. He is CEO of American Fiber. Dave writes:

What forbearance does is stifle pent-up demand. When the FCC maintains/limits competition to legacy copper facilities where do they think we are going? This supply protectionist desire by the FCC to stimulate “demand” has not demonstrated anything appreciable in the world theater of global competitiveness on the part of the United States. The same FCC that denies forbearance is the same FCC that said cable company infrastructure is closed to competitors and new fiber deployments by ILECs are closed to others. It’s the same FCC that is trying to figure out how much a pole attachment should cost depending upon what application that a physical cable may be carrying!!!

To me, Dave is saying that fiber guys like AFS got it right by sinking money in facilities and the rest of the CLEC's (like the 370 in Florida) got it wrong.

To an extent, I agree. Most CLEC's still do go after some arbitrage play to make money. (If I hear I will save you money one more time in a marketing session!!!) The whole idea behind TA96 was for CLEC's to get a footprint started by using Bell facilities, then create their own. (It's also why spectrum was sold -- as facilities replacement).

But I would argue here (heavily) that Dave is wrong about Forbearance. The reason: because the FCC has done such a sloppy job of their job. Flip flopping on everything. If the one goal was an effective third party provider, the FCC would have stayed that course. Spectrum would have gone to companies other than the Bells to be used for a copper replacement.

The FCC could have driven us to a 3-way system by now, if the F Agency had that vision. I don't think it ever did. Or ever will.

And to jump to forbearance now would destroy our economy in ways that the credit crisis couldn't.

BTW, Dave, even AFS only hits about 1% of businesses in any market. That's kind of limiting.

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