On October 15th, 2002 -- over 13 years ago -- AT&T filed a Petition with the FCC to investigate the "special access" services that are controlled by the "Bell" companies, now AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink.
Why is America not in the Top 20 in the world in wired or wireless broadband speeds? Why are America's communications prices higher than many other countries? Why is there no serious competition -- and how do we fix this mess?
I started to reflect on how I ended up in the mess -- this personal journey about my love and obsession with, well, telecommunications (though you may call it broadband, Internet, cable, wireless, etc).
But it is ALEC that should cease operations and everyone reading this must ask -- why is the Department of Justice (DOJ) not investigating ALEC and its corporate communications members and funders -- AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, Comcast & Time Warner Cable?
As a telecom analyst for over 30+ years, I've been tracking the trend lines of communications services. And from the customer perspective -- your perspective -- 2015 will be like watching a train wreck in slow motion -- and continue over the next few years.
In the last article about broadband I supplied a list of the "video dialtone" deployments that were filed at the FCC by what are now AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink to upgrade the utility copper networks and replace these wires with fiber optics wires -- which never happened.
Forget about the NSA and the phone networks. There's another secret network you should know about. I call it "special excess," though it's known in the telecom industry as "special access." You won't hear about these secret wires.
I just saw no reason for that cringe factor from purists whatsoever. There was also no jingoism. The Panama fans mixed comfortably among the crowd. Isn't it nice to see a collection of patriotically dressed people who are actually pleasant to foreigners?
The incumbent phone companies were supposed to compete with each other for wireline/broadband services as each merger to make these companies larger was based on commitments to compete out of region. Now it's all one, big, happy family.
AT&T, with the help of Verizon and the cable companies have 'captured' the FCC -- and have been able to get the federal agency to create and shape a working group designed specifically to remove all regulations and obligations.
For the last 20 years, the nation's major telecom companies have been playing the public and regulatory officials for fools. Now they're claiming they shouldn't be obliged to provide affordable landline service to everyone anymore, as they take the money and run to wireless.
With the vast majority of Americans greatly overpaying for slow and unreliable broadband compared to connections in Europe and Asia, hundreds of communities have started building their own networks. And the industry is fighting back.