tw telecom Chairman, CEO and President, Larissa Herda, delivered a keynote at Comptel this evening, calling on the industry to engage Congress and the FCC in establishing a national Broadband Policy for Businesses that will spur innovation for enterprises and create jobs in what she termed, the New Broadband Economy.
Just hours before Herda's presentation, President Obama ended months of sepculation, and announced that he has nominated Julius Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission.
Herda urged the competitive carriers in attendance to fight for a national business broadband policy that includes three critical points -- effective regulation of Special Access, including Ethernet services, and UNE last-mile facilities; interconnection for IP voice and data services; and a reform or elimination of the forbearance process.
She noted that 2009 has been quite a year so far, with a new administration, a crazy market, and many challenges, but there is hope.
Herda described the industry as facing uncertainty, with treacherous market conditions, and sleepless nights, the likes of which many had never experienced before.
She told the audience that we need wisdom from government as well as business leaders, to navigate these treacherous waters.
"As an industry, we are at a cross roads," Herda said, "we face new challenges, and a long road lies ahead of us."
She got a good response from the assembled group when she likened the past decade to a popular reality television show. "The past eight years has been Survivor FCC, but with no immunity on the island," she said.
Herda called on government regulators to treat everyone fairly. "There cannot be one set of rules for only the most powerful and a different set of rules for everyone else," she said.
"We can continue down the same paths, permitting consolidation and deregulation to limit competition and forestall innovation," Herda said, "or we can unleash the power of competition for the good of the entire U.S. economy"
"We must enable the enterprise with technological solutions that will propel and accelerate growth," she said.
In the end it's about the customer. "Customers will either reap the benefits or suffer the costs."
Herda again, "The world has changed. The way we interconnect with the incumbent needs to change, because the enterprise customer is changing what they're doing, how they're doing it, and the applications they're developing," Herda said. "A comprehensive broadband policy for business must focus on better, more efficient, more scalable ways to interconnect with the incumbents."
Herda foresees a fundamental shift in enterprise data as customers adopt and implement applications such as Collaboration, Web 2.0 applications, Software as a Service, Ethernet and Storage, Telepresence, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, Green IT and Cloud Computing; all of which require massive amounts of data bandwidth.
"Demand for bandwidth is growing -- exponentially," she said. "Yet, access to the end user customers and the buildings is generally constrained -- limited to the facilities available only from the incumbent. This limited access often means higher prices and less innovation, which inflicts harm not just on our business, but more importantly on the hospitals, schools, banks, and government agencies on which our nation depends for economic progress."
"The bottom line is that competition drives innovation," Herda added. "We need a healthy competitive environment to spur innovation that delivers better solutions to the enterprise customer because that will lead to a more stable and healthy economy."