Broadband to displace POTS

AT&T has asked the FCC to set a sunset date for Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) in recent FCC Filings. They reportedly see the light in the wisdom of multiplexed data streams in this fancy IP networking that you are reading.

This has some interesting prospects (and caveats). They call out those that are unwilling to build to profitable areas, yet also imply cost as a reason they are unable to deliver services. They are not allowed to recoup market rates in poorly populated areas due to the nature of State and Federal regulation.

Me? I see it as the same situation being played out that Verzion did in the northeast. They determined that some areas were unprofitable to service. They sold these assets to Fairpoint. Fairpoint has since declared bankruptcy. This also could bolster the AT&T argument, as if they could truly charge what the service cost, would VZ have sold the business lines? Would Fairpoint have filed?

I see this as the need to build another wire to homes. Most homes have phone lines and Power. These existing right-of-ways should always have fiber placed in them. I’m actually in favor of banning new builds of any outside copper plant in the US. This does not mean that I own stock in Fiber optic cabling companies, but that there needs to be a competitive landscape. Where it’s not driven by pure market forces, consumers should get together and build their own infrastructure.

DOCSIS 1.1 and 2 equipment can be had for “cheap” on the secondary market. Even if you build coaxial cables, the cost of delivering services can be quite low.

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2 Responses to “Broadband to displace POTS”

  1. Most homes have phones and power because extending those utilities to the country was subsidized by people who live in cities.

    I would be happy to have co-ops show up (and would even support a national fiber build out that would lease access to providers and contract out maintenance) but I don’t want to see people living in denser population areas subsidizing people who choose to live out in the country yet again.

  2. admin says:

    I think the problem is people are willing to pay their utility $12k to extend water or power to their home, but unwilling to pay a comparable amount.

    My concern with reading the AT&T letter, it sounds like their intent is to follow the Verizon model and sell/dump the unprofitable markets and leave those outside of dense urban settings without any service at all.

    This is why the Rural Electrification Act (REA) was later extended to allow Rural Utility Service funding (RUS, being more service agnostic).

    I see return on investment happening quickly (on the order of a 1-3 years) for some areas.

    I believe there are some important issues to be addressed here, primarily around USF. USF is often misused (in my belief) to allow a monopoly to extend their footprint in the high cost areas as opposed to building the best network possible.