Feature Article

July 05, 2012

A Century of Links Can't be Ignored, But Can be Debated

Rarely do I let the here and now interfere with my writing about the future.  Companies merge and divest in their own time at their own speed.  When Rupert Murdoch, says he is splitting the assets and then in talking with David Faber it becomes clear all he is doing is doubling the accounting,  I just let it pass.  When people call for RIM to split and give up the handset business, while ogling over the tight integration of Apple, I let it pass.

However, CenturyLink seems to have merged the worst parts of its acquisitions.  The U.S. West assets that became Qwest and were then merged with Century Links’s other acquisition of Embarq seems to have given us a less than perfect discussion.  While Craig Moffet has been a fan of Qwest’s “leave it in” strategy of keeping the cash cow copper milked in the outside plant, Qwest has been doing some very nice solutions with Ethernet for other wireless carrier’s backhaul.

However, my former colleague Peter Copeland was given the task of advocating the copper DSL alternative in favor of WISPs.  I feel for Peter, he is a brilliant guy. Peter did his best in his analysis to paint the picture that CenturyLink wanted to defend a century of copper being used to link things together today.

However, the analysis shows the problem with the FCC’s transition of the “voice” network.  As I have pointed out several times, we are becoming a wireless not a wireline world and we are only using our smart phones 15 percent of the time for voice.  The burden of migrating the old infrastructure is not about maintaining status quo copper; it is to “ensure universal availability of modern networks capable of providing advanced mobile voice and broadband service.”  In my area I have had fun showing the shucking of copper that is going on by my local operator.

More is the pity.

When Peter is charged with defending the cash cow and suggesting that WISPs are not an alternative, he has to ignore the impact of Cooper’s law on wireless and Metcalfe’s law on network build outs.  In other words, he has to isolate the future from the current moment in time. The technological arguments made in the separate document run against the commissions own experience in looking at the opportunities with Wi-Fi and TV White Space.

Brough Turner does a great job exploring the future in a recent blog, and for the real engineers his additional link to Wikipedia should be read.

However, this is a simpler discussion.  Is it time for the USF replacement CAF to be a step forward or merely a maintenance plan?  In CenturyLink’s arguments the old is advocated without a migration strategy and that flies in the face of the CAF goal to “minimize the universal service contribution burden on consumers and businesses.”  As our friend Richard Shockey would point out, the technology that CenturyLink is advocating is suffering from an end of life cycle that is going to keep increasing the costs.

After a century of copper and quarter century of USF, the time has come to see the future fulfilled with something that expands the core of competition and not lifelines links to the past.

If I am making sense to you and more importantly if you have a goal of seeing the unserved or underserved have access to the same experience as the rest of us.  Please file the commission with your comments.

Want to learn more about the impact and potential future of White Spaces? Then be sure to attend the Super Wi-Fi Summit, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX. Co-sponsored by TMC Partner Crossfire Media the Super Wi-Fi Summit will address the opportunities, challenges and technical issues surrounding the use of White Spaces for wireless broadband services. The event will cover all aspects of the White Spaces market including, results and next steps for recent technical trials, White Spaces backhaul opportunities, database issues, White Spaces Devices, Spectrum Issues, Standards and more. For more information on registering for the Super Wi-Fi Summit click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at Super Wi-Fi Summit. Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Stefanie Mosca


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