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Current Topic: Telecom Industry

6 Companies Get US Telecom Contracts
Topic: Telecom Industry 9:59 am EST, Dec 31, 2003

Six companies (Ciena, Sprint, Sycamore, Juniper, Qwest, Cisco) were awarded four contracts worth at least $400 million by the United States government to build a global network with optical and data networking gear.

Analysts have said that the four contracts combined could generate almost $1 billion in the initial two years.

6 Companies Get US Telecom Contracts

The Bells Struggle to Survive a Changing Telephone Game
Topic: Telecom Industry 9:44 am EST, Nov 26, 2003

When the United States telecommunications industry imploded a few years ago, with upstart carriers disappearing by the dozens and investments vanishing by the billions, it looked as if the regional Bell companies had won the telecom wars.

But it is clear now that the Bells merely survived the first wave of what may be decades of difficulties.

The local communications game itself is changing -- and not in the Bells' favor.

Every few years, one or more of the Bell companies strikes a marketing deal with a big satellite-television provider.

Now, Verizon and SBC are trying satellite ventures again.

This time, they say, they will get results.

They just don't get it, do they?

The Bells Struggle to Survive a Changing Telephone Game

Competing Visions for an Evolving Telecom Market
Topic: Telecom Industry 12:10 am EDT, Oct 26, 2003

A Public Debate on Telecommunications Policy, entitled "Competing Visions for an Evolving Telecom Market", featuring:

US Senator Sam Brownback, Chair, Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology & Space, with keynote remarks and introductions;

Marilyn Showalter, Chair of Washington State Utilities Commission, Seattle, WA; First Vice Pres. of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners;

Thomas Hazlett, Senior Fellow, Center for a Digital Economy, Manhattan Institute, Washington, DC; Former FCC Chief Economist.

Friday, October 31, 2003, at 2:30 pm (Kansas time), with live online audio-visual webcast.

Competing Visions for an Evolving Telecom Market

The Revolution Is Coming, Eventually
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:24 pm EDT, Oct 18, 2003

Few people have ever lost their shirts betting on the weather. Investors who believed in Mr. Gilder's wildly optimistic predictions about the telecommunications revolution, on the other hand, spent the last few years watching their portfolios unravel.

Now, slowly but surely, portions of the telecom industry are recovering, and Mr. Gilder is gradually regaining the credibility that nearly vaporized before his eyes three years ago.

Yet when he opens his mouth ... he might be mistaken for a glassy-eyed nut case on the University of California at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza shouting random invectives at passers-by.

Katie Hafner on George Gilder in the Sunday New York Times.

The Revolution Is Coming, Eventually

The Many Paradoxes of Broadband | Andrew Odlyzko [PDF]
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:19 pm EDT, Sep  2, 2003

There is much dismay and even despair over the slow pace at which broadband is advancing in the United States. This slow pace is often claimed to be fatally retarding the recovery of the entire IT industry. As a result there are increasing calls for government action, through regulation or even through outright subsidies.

A careful examination shows that broadband is full of puzzles and paradoxes, which suggests caution before taking any drastic action. As one simple example, the basic meaning of broadband is almost universally misunderstood, since by the official definition, we all have broadband courtesy of the postal system. Also, broadband penetration, while generally regarded as disappointingly slow, is actually extremely fast by most standards, faster than cell phone diffusion at a comparable stage. Furthermore, many of the policies proposed for advancing broadband are likely to have perverse effects. There are many opportunities for narrowband services that are not being exploited, some of which might speed up broadband adoption.

There are interesting dynamics to the financial and technological scenes that suggest broadband access may arrive sooner than generally expected. It may also arrive through unexpected channels. On the other hand, fiber-to-the-home, widely regarded as the Holy Grail of residential broadband, might never become widespread. In any case, there is likely to be considerable turmoil in the telecom industry over the next few years. Robust growth in demand is likely to be combined with a restructuring of the industry.

This paper also appears in the September 2003 issue of First Monday. You'll want to print it to read it, so I've linked directly to the PDF version.

The Many Paradoxes of Broadband | Andrew Odlyzko [PDF]

Cable and Wireless Posts Loss and Plans to Pull Out of U.S.
Topic: Telecom Industry 10:53 am EDT, Jun  8, 2003

Lacking a buyer, Cable and Wireless appears likely to shut down its US network, including the former MCI Internet backbone, Exodus, and Digital Island. The company will retreat to focus on competing against BT in Britain.

If you are a C&W customer and are not already multi-homed, now would be a good time to consider it.

Cable and Wireless Posts Loss and Plans to Pull Out of U.S.

Looking Beyond a War in Iraq
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:48 am EST, Feb 17, 2003

The telecommunications equipment industry is quietly pinning its hopes on a quick Iraqi war that would be followed by an American-led effort to rebuild the country after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Memo to France: play ball, or Alcatel won't be winning any contracts in post-war Iraq.

Memo to telecom news desk: Accounting scandals and economic downturn are tired. If you want your story above the fold, give it an international relations spin.

Looking Beyond a War in Iraq

The Paradox of the Best Network
Topic: Telecom Industry 1:53 pm EST, Jan 19, 2003

... we urge the FCC to:

* Resist at all costs the telephone industry's calls for bailouts. The policy should be one of "fast failure."

* Acknowledge that non-Internet communications equipment ... is economically obsolete ...

* Discourage attempts by incumbent telephone companies to thwart [asset-based telecom].

* Accelerate FCC exploration of innovative spectrum use and aggressively expand unlicensed spectrum allocation.

This letter was sent to FCC chairman Powell and signed by, among others: Scott Bradner, Gordon Cook, David Farber, Bob Frankston, Roxane Googin, David Isenberg, Jeff Pulver, David Reed, Paul Saffo, Clay Shirky, and Kevin Werbach (one degree from Esther Dyson).

The Paradox of the Best Network

New Networks Institute: The Unauthorized Biography of the Baby Bells & Info-Scandal
Topic: Telecom Industry 2:47 pm EST, Dec 25, 2002

I haven't read this book yet, but it looks interesting. Reply if you've read this already, or if you browse it and find tidbits you'd like to share.

New Networks Institute: The Unauthorized Biography of the Baby Bells & Info-Scandal

Breakdown in Communications
Topic: Telecom Industry 10:36 am EST, Nov 24, 2002

Laura and Ken Jewell have entered the Lucent afterlife.

The Jewells are small players in the great New Jersey telecom crash that has ravaged one of the state's leading industries, leaving thousands of highly skilled workers jobless or underemployed.

Breakdown in Communications

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