Monday, November 14, 2011

AT&T and Verizon’s Deteriorating Legacy Landline Networks

Phillip Dampier has posted an excellent piece summing up the current dreary state of commercial premises telecommunications service in the United States. Dampier depicts telcos as caught between the old world of central office switched plain old telephone service (POTS) and its aging and increasingly obsolete copper cable and today's world where fiber optic infrastructure delivers voice, video and data over the Internet.

Telcos can't afford to make the change over from the old world to the new. So they're trying to limit their losses by keeping their old copper POTS cable plants functioning with bubble gum, bailing wire and trash bags while boosting their bottom lines with smartphone services delivered over more lucrative mobile wireless networks that don't have the carrying capacity to substitute for fiber to the premises infrastructure.

Dampier's post makes a powerful case for community owned fiber networks. There's simply not enough money in the fiber to the premise architecture to support an investor ownership model even for large corporations and their favorable economies of scale. Without community fiber networks, much of the U.S. will remain disconnected from the Internet for the foreseeable.

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