Comments at the FCC

Seal of the United States Federal Communicatio...

Seal of the United States Federal Communications Commission.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is in response to the blog post “The IP Transition: Starting Now” by Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman.

By George Mattathil – Transiting to an all-IP network would be a bad thing..

There are three primary data types – voice, data, video. Each has its unique characteristics, and cannot substitute the other. Developments in digital technologies allow transporting voice, and data and video over packet networks. But, that is not the same as deciding how best design networks.

We have cars, buses, trains, airplanes, ships, spacecrafts, etc. for different modes of transportation. But nobody argues that we should build flying cars to replace all modes of transportation. Networks should be build in the same manner. Different data types have different performance requirements, and build networks to best meet those needs.

The unthinking affinity for the Internet is an after effect of the dot-com-bubble. One side effect of the bubble was the Telecom Meltdown and dissolution of Nortel and Lucent as the de facto telco technology providers. This has placed the US telcos in a pickle, as the telco systems with innovations and ingenuity spanning more than a century, since Alexander Bell made the first phone call in 1876, cannot be replaced easily.

Financially driven decision-making started at the original-AT&T with the decision to keep the then profitable long distance and divest the technology (Lucent, Avaya, Agere) and the customer-connecting access networks (Baby Bells.) AT&T then followed it by another disastrous decision to buy TCI cable network. As the original fantasies did not materialize, AT&T was forced to spin off the cable business to Comcast, and lost billions in the process. The result was one of the reconstituted Baby Bells, SBC, bought AT&T and renamed itself as the current at&t.

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The telcos have been indulging in financial wizardry, and seems to have forgotten their primary mission. As Steve Denning points out, it is high time telcos realized that their mission is building and operating networks. More at:


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