USTelecom Wants Forbearance for all ILECs

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

USTelecom Wants Forbearance for all ILECs

We once fancifully debated if the ILEC's would LET the cablecos get ahead just so they could get out from under regulations. This was 2006. Apparently, that was the plan.

USTelecom is an organization made up of ILEC's. The org has filed for forbearance at the FCC on behalf of its members. Not certain THAT is legal.

The petition [pdf] comes from the ILEC executives "essentially telling the FCC that it's time to wake up and smell the coffee--"many rules were adopted in a different era, long before the advent of broadband networks or the creation of the public Internet."," as JSI describes it. JSI continues with, "it might be time for a new regulatory regime as even the 96 Act is becoming less and less relevant with each new cord cutter and cross-platform conglomerate. The petition is also in line with the White House and Congress' push to get the FCC to clean house, and "the Commission's commitment to eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements.""

The petition states, "Forbearance is warranted because the rules have been rendered obsolete by technological and market changes. From a technological standpoint, the Commission's legacy telecommunications regulations are ill-suited to facilitating, and in fact hamper, broadband deployment." I'm not sure that's true. It hasn't hampered DSL; the LEC's have by not deploying, switching to fiber and, quite frankly, arrogantly thinking that they were still a Monopoly. In every respect, the trouble with ILEC's is NOT the federal (or dwindling state) regulations. The trouble with the ILEC's is a Monopoly Mindset.

They don't choose the best technology nor do the deploy technology well. Mismanaged spectrum just being a symptom.

FiOS failed because the numbers forecast was wrong. Basing it on 50% penetration was a mistake. Not considering that it would take 2 techs all day (or longer) to install triple-play FiOS. Thinking that the CPE - all 4 pieces of equipment - would be cheap to install.

Let's also look at three bigger problems for ILEC's Pensions, Unions, and USF. By shifting to a cellular and entertainment companies, the RBOCs - AT&T and Verizon - are moving toward a non-union shop. AT&T is dealing with CWA union contracts right now - and VZ had to deal with them last year (along with a strike). They want to eliminate the union. Cellular, entertainment, cloud and outsourced services mean less Union liability - and less pension liability. The ILEC's - Embarq, VZ, ATT, Qwest - are sitting on a chunk of pension payments. It's just another example of bad planning by the executives running these corporations. I know in my life time I will see one of these companies file BK papers. With all the debt they have - $109B just for the Big 2 - mixed with declining revenues, pension payments, probably healthcare costs, union troubles and hyper-competition, the C-Suites at the ILEC's - all of them - are as ill-suited to run them as Hesse is to turn Sprint around.

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A Forbearance petition is nice, but it won't solve any of their problems.

With USF Reform, the RLEC's - and even some ILEC's (FFW+C) - will be in even more trouble. Not just competition and dwindling access lines, but decreasing government subsidies for those access lines PLUS a requirement to build out broadband, which means CAPEX! It is not a pretty horizon.

As I read this paragraph all I can think is: Monopoly MIndset is the problem, not FCC regulations. And claiming that it is regs that have created the current quagmire is sticking your head in the sand.

"Indeed, the most recent survey by the Center for Disease Control (which has been relied upon previously by the Commission) has found that more than 32 percent of households have completely "cut the cord" and have abandoned their wireline phone altogether. .... At the same time, incumbent carriers compete against a host of providers, including cable companies that offer service to at least 93 percent of American households, already serve approximately 20 percent of the residential voice market, and are the primary provider of residential broadband. Under these competitive circumstances, the current outdated regulatory regime imposes unnecessary costs on a limited subset of competitors to the detriment of these competitors and consumers alike." Plus it's a Duopoly. There isn't much competition in the Broadband space. It's DSL, cable or 3G.

Comments or Oppositions Due: April 9, 2012 TODAY>

And of course COMPTEL has filed opposition.

Category 10 (Service Discontinuance Approval Requirements); Category 9 (Rules Governing Notices of Network Changes); and Category 2: (Open Network Architecture and Comparably Efficient Interconnection Requirements, All-Carrier Computer Inquiry Rules and the Structural Separation Rule) would really make CLEC life miserable.

Think about this when thinking about regulations being the issue: "According to the Telecommunications Industry Association, wireless has become the preferred voice-services option. Wireless revenue in 2012 is forecast at $335 billion, while all other forms of fixed network voice revenue will only total $176 billion ($132 billion for wireline, $38 billion for broadband access and $6 billion in cable/television revenue)." Is it regulations doing this or our mobile culture? De-regulating ILECs will mostly hurt SMB who are the profit center of ITSP and CLEC businesses.

One last point: voice is being replaced by Skype, G+, Facebook, IM, chat, SMS, and other types of communications. These innovations were NOT brought to you by the telcos NOR will any innovation because they have a Monopoly Mindset. And that mindset screams: "We want to make more money off our old plumbing without having to morph, change or innovate!"

There's no fixing that.



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