This could be the year for CLEC's.
First, the Broadband Stimulus money is starting to be handed out. CLEC's (and ISP's) are starting to get some of it.
CLEC's are getting acquired by ILEC's and Cablecos. For example, Comcast buying Cimco, a Chicago CLEC and Windstream bought Nuvox. Comcast also bought NGT, an wholesale ITSP. The SMB space of 25 to 99 employees is a sweet spot. [some info from telecompetitor]
The growing demand for IP means that CLEC's have to find a way to expand past the T1 level. This will be the Achilles' heel for many CLEC's. Without a way to deliver 10MB to small businesses with 50 to 99 employees, CLEC's will be relegated to NxT1 service to 10 to 50 employee businesses at a more expensive rate that Metro Ethernet service.
It is time to shift from TDM to all-IP --move from a Bell-head acting like a tiny ILEC to being a Net-Head, an innovative, flexible company enhancing the productivity, communications and employees at SMB companies that are your mainline customers.
Windstream is an ILEC that is stretching - through acquisitions and by adding services like backup, security, tech support and fax-to-email. If only CLEC's were as innovative - or shall I say willing to take the risk of adding products delivered by strategic partners (or straight vendors).
The other strategy is to hope for an acquisition, if you didn't win some stimulus dollars to actually build network (something many CLEC's lack - physical plant).
What could COMPTEL do?
Right now, CLEC's are gathered in Nashville for the COMPTEL Expo. This show has a sales trainer. Umm, how does that help? Train the VP's to sell? Next to the incessant lobbying and crying to the Hill, how about some concrete steps to help the CLEC's?
What about a lit building database so that CLEC's can buy from each other instead of cable or ILEC? What about a nationwide fiber map? Note that there are some private companies that have this info like Ciena fiber, NEF and Global Capacity.
What about a VoIP Peering point for HD Voice and Fax-over-IP exchange with an ENUM? Arbinet and the VPF already provide some of this functionality. Yet I will bet that if COMPTEL members got on-board the HD Voice exchange and started selling Dynamic T1 with HD Voice, customer retention would go up.
Why did CENX and Neutral Tandem offer a carrier ethernet exchange instead of a COMPTEL project?
Before being sold to GTT, WBS Connect had a H.264 inter-connection service for telepresence. And Telx just announced a video conference exchange.
These are services that COMPTEL could have been offering to its members to enhance membership to COMPTEL while making a little money and even partnering with vendors - like Telx, VPF, Neutral Tandem - to do this. PLUS these exchanges would have given CLEC's a competitive market advantage over the Duopoly. Hopfully, CLEC's will take advantage of these services in 2010 to gain that market advantage.