September 1, 2005

2 Min Read
Time Out

By Khali Henderson

I was tempted to rerun my comments from last month, Bells Win Another Round. By simply adding the word, Again, to the title and changing all the verb tenses from future to past, the piece stands.

Of course, I am referring to the FCCs swift move to deregulate DSL access (see this story). The Aug. 5 decision came little more than a month after a June U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding an FCC ruling against Brand X Internet LLC that freed cable operators from requirements to open their broadband lines to other ISPs.

It was expected. FCC Chairman Kevin Martins statements following the Brand X ruling sounded the intention. Even Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who supported deregulating DSL albeit with reservations said the outcome was a foregone conclusion following the courts ruling on cable modems. Indeed, how could one argue the other side?

It was inevitable. The industry has been on a trajectory that seems to be preordained. No will or argument seems to change its course. Its like a falling object. Even if obstacles are thrown in its path, merely delaying its progress, the destination is the same.

Some in the industry looking for a silver lining are quick to remind that these competitive losses primarily impact consumer providers. This is true, but it is no consolation to independent ISPs and does not justify the basis for these decisions in furthering a competitive and innovative market.

Furthermore, DSL and cable modem services are primary access methods for small businesses and branch offices a stronghold for competitive providers. Hopefully, commercial agreements to be negotiated between Bells and DSL resellers will be viable for those applications.

Between the regulatory losses and the megamergers, it is easy to become disheartened about the prospects for a competitive industry. However, these are loud and clear signals to build where possible, explore alternative broadband wireless and powerline communications technologies and invest in high-touch, endto- end services. Take a timeout; review your game plan.

For the indirect channel, the prospect of fewer competitors in the market also calls for reflection. Take heart, there is a clear opportunity for channel partners to profit from consolidation, says consultant John Macario, noting this is predicated on a broadened skill set and portfolio. (Read his advice on this page or hear it live at The Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Chicago later this month.) To help you with this transformation, PHONE+ is unveiling CSP Network (see this story), an online resource and community devoted to the emerging converged solutions provider community. Convergence. Content. Community. Channel. Certification. Its all there. We invite you to check it out at


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