Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Open Access to Plants

I wrote about Cbeyond petitioning the FCC for access to the ILEC fiber plant (here). And Cbeyond wants to pay retail.

Many groups representing telcos large and small are freaking out, of course. Hiring lobbyists, donating cash monies to pols, and of course full court press at the FCC building. Ah, federal government.

Meanwhile, we have Covad "argued before the FCC for a 100 Mbps national broadband network – and for competitive cost-based access to copper, HFC and fiber local loops. These steps, it says, will make American businesses more competitive in the global economy." [Broadband Properties magazine in PDF].

That is a pipe dream. It's more realistic to be like Cbeyond and just ask for access. TNCI, Access2Go, NITEL, Host.Net, and a bevy of other resellers and CLEC's have wholesale contracts with AT&T and other ILEC's for transport. FISPA has a volume wholesale agreement. Why retail? Probably because AT&T's customer service level for wholesale is less than pleasing. While Comcast has worked to fix it's customer care problem, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon have let more than 60,000 employees go in the last 3 years. It's probably closer to 70K. (BTW, VZ is about to layoff another 10,000 because of a $700M loss in Q4). It's a brain drain. Meanwhile the BSS is a convoluted piece of crap. These companies are just trying to maintain Enterprise customers. That's where the money is.

Carl Grivener, CEO of XO, says better use of copper is needed for Broadband in the USA. We have slower access in the US than any developed nation. Let's not forget that more people live in cities than ever before. And we don't have the largest population at 330M. I get mad when I see stats like this: How Fast Will LTE Be, Really? - 12-45 Mbps in Sweden, 5-12 Mbps in US [DSLR]. But its typical. It's all about the stock - not about thinking about the future or the economy or anything. It's all about the stock options for gasbags like Ivan.

I will say that the CLEC's blew it. Twice. The idea behind the TA96 - 13+ years old now - was that CLEC's would start using resale (read: UNE-P) to get a dense enough set of customers to build out facilities. So UNE-P goes away, CLEC's fail. Still we only have less than 5% of buildings in the US as lit by fiber that doesn't belong to the ILEC. No wonder David Rusin keeps ranting as the fiber bigot.

My advice is to get dense. Build as much network as you can. Go deep into every building. And call me for help with strategy and marketing ;) 813-963-5884

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