Friday, August 28, 2015

U.S. paying price for lack of orderly transition plan to fiber telecom infrastructure

FCC Orders Rules for Copper Retirement | POTs and PANs: The biggest issue I see with getting rid of copper is where the phone company doesn’t have an alternate landline network ready for the transition. It doesn’t seem like a big issue to me when a company like Verizon wants to move customers from copper to FiOS. There have already been tens of millions of customers who have changed from copper to either FiOS fiber or to a cable company network who have experienced and accepted the required changes.

But AT&T has said that they want to walk away from millions of rural copper customers. That would force customers to migrate to either the cable company or to cellular wireless. This could be a huge problem for business customers because there are still a lot of business districts that have never been wired by the cable companies. And even where a business can change to a cable company network, they are not always going to be able to buy the services they want from the cable company. For example, those businesses might be using trunks or Centrex today that isn’t supported by their cable provider. These businesses are going to be facing an immediate and expensive upgrade cost to keep the kind of service they have always had.

Doug Dawson lays out the effects of the train wreck caused by the lack of an orderly transition plan in the U.S. to migrate from copper to fiber telecom infrastructure that should have been put in place a generation ago. The consequences of this and misplaced reliance on market forces in a monopolistic microeconomy are now coming home to roost. More on this in my forthcoming book, Service Unavailable: America's Telecommunications Infrastructure Crisis, available in September.

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