] ] With Covad (or companies like it, or new companies)
] ] acting as "fiber middleware" suppliers, and Earthlink (or
] ] companies like it) investing heavily in last-mile WISP
] ] solutions for customers, the Bells will be effectively
] ] bypassed. And voice calls are really just a low-bandwidth
] ] data service.
] A radical idea.
This person is clueless when it comes to the business of either Earthlink or Covad.
First of all, I don't see a future for WISPs. Wireless is surging in ad hoc ways. In homes and businesses for LAN use. It is not a practical medium for wide area business communications, because it is not reliable. It is also not a practical transmission tool for a service provider because of the way in which the topology must be designed. WinStar and countless others have already proven this. Notwithstanding all that, the economics aren't any better than wireline. So you have equal economics coupled with inferior technology. BOOM. This isn't to say that people won't try, and get funded, and even build a customer base, but it will implode just like wireline has. In fact, the more people in the market, the bigger the implosion.
Secondly, I don't get the idea that the Bells are going to deploy FTTH. They're already under incredible debt. They aren't going to roll out a multibillion dollar infrastructure plan over the next 3 years, or even 5 years. I've said it before and I'll say it again: FTTH will not be possible in the next 20 years. It's too expensive and the demand for it is not high enough. It is stupid to deploy when you've already got at least 2 other plants installed that are not paid for and are just as capable for current service deployments.
With that said, I think that DSL providers are still in an okay position, but their options are limited. The FCC has basically screwed them over in public after screwing them over in private since 1998. Residential DSL just doesn't work. The economics have been and are still all wrong. You can't charge people $60/mo for a 1M/128k Internet connection and nothing else. If the DLECs like Covad could offer telephony, they MIGHT be able to make it work, but they don't know anything about voice and it's too late to invest in it now. The Bells CAN'T offer bundled services like this by law. So in the end, the customer loses.
However, there are other alternatives. You can sell to business. That's proven to work and work very well, thank you very much. You can also use this market to help shore up your residential market by offering VPNs and VOIP solutions so people can work from home. Covad started off with that, but has completely scuddled it because they could never understand how to market it. It is doable. And the technology has gotten better and cheaper.
Finally, I believe that copper is the way to go. It's already there. It's capable of providing even faster data rates. It *WAS* cheaper by a long shot. How the FCC could've screwed over the CLECs in this way, I don't know. Study after study after study has proven that the costs the Bells claim for copper are way way overinflated. Even if you took the higest value of copper and the highest value of labor EVER, depreciated over 30 years (instead of 100), you'd still get a price that was something like 1/100th of what's being asked to pay. And then the FCC says, 'NO! Pay more!'. Dumb.
Hopefully enough lawsuits will emerge to push some common sense on the stack and get this reg overturned for the good of the consumer.