With AT&T ceasing work the real message to the FCC, and President Obama, is the willingness of AT&T to hang their TURF contractors out over the cliff as a threaten to ruin an already fragile market. By doing so AT&T is threatening the President, and the FCC, with mass extermination of the already struggling contractors who are constantly squeezed like a lemon until an explosion of bankruptcy prevails. This isn’t the first time AT&T has had the market on eggshells, every time AT&T sneezes these small players face drastic measures of cutting staff. Most of these smaller firms are “hire-and-fire” companies as it is, which hasn’t helped the hiring process at all, but this may put a nail in the coffin for the entire market. But maybe AT&T didn’t think this all the way through, or maybe they did? By delaying their own plans to expand and capture more market, they may in fact be destroying the market for certain silos within their own company, which has been the intention all along.
If AT&T were already consolidating and stripping silos, that are detrimental to the bottom line, the most burdensome area to focus on would be the enterprise or fiber business. As I wrote about in the past, the only real piece of the physical architecture that is amenable to Net Neutrality is Layers 1 and 2 – that being the fiber, conduits, right-of-ways, etc.. The content and services layers, Layer 3 and above, are to fluid in their demand to meet market needs and are unmanageable in the context of Net Neutrality, multiply that by the number of providers and you will quickly see the useless advantage of trying to manage access and services in an equitable fashion. The focus of Net Neutrality lies in Layer 1 and 2, not the services layers of Layer 3 and above. This is why an Attorney, or a President, is not equipped to intervene in such a market; you must be abreast of what the Layers are within the telecommunications space. I don’t see too many network engineers struggling to change Tort Reform, why should we see Attorneys struggling with TCP, UDP or NAT services? It’s all about the money that’s why.
With that said, who is really suffering? If I were AT&T and I needed to shed the burdensome silos, which are severely detracting from my bottom line, what better way in making a needed drastic change than under the disguise of government intervention. Let the government come in and take over the fiber networks, for a fee of course, then I am free and clear to shed and consolidate my resources and re-shape the company towards the more profitable Content Services market, which is really where I want to go anyway. So in fact, President Obama just did AT&T a huge favor by giving them reason to eliminate the contractors who support their Layer 1 and 2 deployments. You should note that these contractors are encumbered with unions, so it’s not all bad.
In the end though, all the small contractors will suffer the most -- which means you and I. AT&T gets cover and a real reason to morph its business into the much more profitable Content and Services space. And, the government gets what it was asking for -- burdened with the cumbersome, costly fiber infrastructures, and a legal conundrum of drastic changes to unionization.
There is an answer though. The only way out of this mess is for the Government to leave the commercial assets alone; establish their own fiber infrastructure; and then allow Net Neutrality to happen on their own infrastructure. It may be just me but anybody else smell the stench of more taxpayer funding and a new overreaching government agency? The answer may lay with FirstNet.
FirstNet, and its requirements to build a nationwide broadband network in support of priority public safety usage, requires vast amounts of fiber transport and fixed microwave. If there is any asset that has the best chance of reutilization within the FirstNet deployment, it’s Fiber and Microwave. These technologies make up the Layer 1 and 2 infrastructure of the Public Safety Broadband Network. Being that the target coverage for FirstNet is 100% makes all available assets in this space attractive for repurposing to a nationwide architecture. As I have spoken about in the past, the only real business model to successfully implement such a broadband solution, that doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything, is through a Public Private Partnership – The Myers Model® in fact.
FirstNet needs fiber and the FCC wants to grant Net Neutrality – seems like a marriage made in heaven.
But who am I other than….
Just some guy and a blog….