Mobile IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Paul Simmons, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Mobile IoT

Mobile IoT: Article

Tauzin-Dingell and the Baby Bells Sing 'You and Me Against the CLEC World!'

Tauzin-Dingell and the Baby Bells Sing 'You and Me Against the CLEC World!'

You don't hear much about the Tauzin-Dingell Telecom Bill, unless you're in Washington, DC, or in the camp of either the CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers) who oppose it or the ILECs (Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers) who we might assume all but wrote it. But Tauzin-Dingell (now in the Senate) would allow the Baby Bells to keep their legacy networks and any of their new broadband infrastructure developments to themselves. It would gut the Telecom Reform Act (TRA) of 1996. It could raise prices on all telecom services; it could be the end of some CLECs. The Tauzin-Dingell Bill could set telecommunications quality, service, and price standards on a path toward those of 20 years ago.

What would passage of the Tauzin-Dingell Bill mean? According to the Bells and their proponents, the Tauzin-Dingell Bill is needed for the ILECs to compete with other types of broadband technologies. Telecom consultant Dr. Bo Denysyk, president and CEO of Global USA, Inc., spoke with us about his views and the views of those who are pro-Tauzin-Dingell.

According to Dr. Denysyk, the cable companies, satellite companies, and wireless broadband providers are all unregulated compared to the ILECs. These are the competition that ILECs are concerned about for broadband.

I know that the profit margin for DSL is low, having worked in the industry. If lowering their own costs by passing Tauzin-Dingell will enable them to reap more profits and give them incentive to move forward with broadband deployment, then they have a point. But they are after far more deregulation than the CLECs - and even the computing technology vendors - are willing to let them have without a fight.

The CLECs have the vendors with them, as well as those consumers who don't believe the broadband proliferation theory but rather that ILECs will further monopolize and drive up prices. The ILECs have their stockholders and those consumers who believe that broadband will spread like dandelions or mono (wildfire is too cliché) as a result of the bill, and that they will somehow benefit.

And the ILECs make a good argument. "To offer a fairly rapid expansion of broadband, which is necessary for the economy, you need competition. And the only real competition the cable folks will have is from the RBOCs (Regional Bell Operating Companies) that offer DSL," says Dr. Denysyk.

Though this argument sounds urgent, logical, and compelling, the Tauzin-Dingell Telecom Bill itself doesn't pan out to be much more than an effort by the Baby Bells (SBC, Verizon, BellSouth, and Qwest) to go back to their pre-1996 monopolistic reign. Perhaps they're trying to tell us that this is what they will need to compete with cable and thereby spur the economy.

You can't blame the Bells for trying. If I were a monopoly, I would jump at the chance to regain complete control. But I am not a Baby Bell; I'm a consumer. I'm a consumer who has seen the difference between pricing and service before and after the TRA. I want to keep the improved QoS and choice that I now have. The CLECs' existence has been helpful in maintaining the improvements the TRA brought about.

Because the choice is there, ILECs have to compete. Because they have to compete, we all get better service, lower cost, and more choice. It's like voting. You may not feel you're getting anywhere by voting, but give up the right to vote and see what happens! Passage of the Tauzin-Dingell Bill would be a vote against CLECs and a vote for higher prices and poorer service. CLECs should remain for the good they do us all, whether or not we are CLEC customers.

The Emperor's New Fatigues?
The bill finds itself dressed in some loosely draped, broadband camouflage. This includes the recognition of non-broadband services as being a part of broadband in order that those non-broadband services might be deregulated as well. For example, according to Tom Santaniello, public policies manager at CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), "[The Tauzin-Dingell Bill] defines...broadband...as [being] as low as 128Kbps, which is still under a typical DSL line [speed]. That's considered broadband [in this bill]." It would be one thing if true broadband were going to be poured over the entire U.S. market like gravy over mashed potatoes as a result of this bill. The bill doesn't guarantee that nor does it promise that prices will stay down.

Without saying they want twisted copper pair deregulated, the Bells' bill asks for deregulation of technologies that pass over twisted copper pair; this sets the stage for twisted copper pair deregulation.

"...A network that carries packet-switched technology is considered broadband [in this bill]. So when we're talking broadband this is another fundamental problem I have with the bill; their definition is almost analog copper wire. So they are using it to deregulate on a very broad, broad basis," says Santaniello.

The last time I checked with the phone company, they couldn't guarantee anyone a signal above 14.4Kbps over twisted copper pair wire, even using a 56Kbps modem. Why? Because those legacy telephone lines, those twisted copper pairs, were made for analog voice calls, which only require 14.4Kbps. So, if I get 56Kbps with my modem, that's great. But if you or I expect any service directed at achieving more than 14.4Kbps for any reason, forget it.

The only logical conclusion from all this would be that the Bells now want us to believe that 14.4Kbps constitutes broadband. The bill would then be without cause or purpose. Following this logic, since we already have 14.4Kbps, we would already have broadband. Why do we need the Tauzin-Dingell Bill to give us what we already have? I'm speaking tongue in cheek here but the point is that many of the bill's fundamental points don't stand up to logical reasoning, particularly those sections that define broadband.

Implications of Tauzin-Dingell
Tauzin-Dingell would remove the ILECs obligation to share their networks with CLECs. They would be no freer to expand than they are now; they would simply have the prospect of taking more profits. The bill may also put some CLECs out of business. "They [ILECs] won't have to make unbundled network elements for high-speed services available, which will make it difficult for folks like the old NorthPoints, Covads, and Rhythms to compete with them," says Mark Schneider, a former senior legal advisor at the FCC and now an attorney with Sidley Austin Brown & Wood.

How Will This Affect Consumers?
Schneider continues: "They [ILECs] used to charge $49 a month for the service [DSL]. Then their rates started to come down when Covad, Rhythms, and NorthPoint were providing competitive services through UNEs (unbundled network elements). And now that those companies are either bought or [have] gone under, the prices are going back up. So I think that's a reflection of the fact that without unbundled network elements, prices and competition aren't stimulated." Passage of the bill will hurt consumers by raising prices.

Once upon a technological time (1984), a long-distance call was about 60¢/minute. There wasn't any selection in call type or billing type. Customer service was held at a premium. You had to lease your phone. Things have improved much since those days; now we have 5¢ calls and better service, and long distance is sometimes even cheaper than a local call. These are the results of permitting and fostering competition.

"Any bill in this country that will give more strength to monopoly is going to harm the consumers and the businesspeople that use those services. So I think...it's [Tauzin-Dingell] going to be denied in the Senate and I think that will be positive for Americans," says Bill Capraro, Jr., CEO of CIMCO Communications, Inc.

The bill trashes agreements made by the Bells back in 1996 - for instance, the 14-point checklist that the Telecom Reform Act established in 1996 to let CLECs into the market while the Bells anticipated the long-distance market.

Vendor members of CompTIA don't favor the bill either. When they sell and implement services, they get a better deal on needed connectivity and bandwidth because there is choice in the marketplace. With the passage of the bill, choice and low prices would be gone for them as well. They are very adamant that this will be the result of this bill passing into law.

More Controversy
When I started writing this story the CLECs started calling like crazy. They were all clear on their position.

"I am 100% opposed to the Tauzin-Dingell Bill...because it's anticompetitive in nature and it supports monopolies [not having] to oblige by the telecommunications act of 1996 and FCC regulations, which require them to open up their networks to competition so that we have more choice for the consumers and the business customers out there," says Capraro.

This camp has several beefs about the bill. The gist conglomerately is that the Baby Bells are using this bill to not only get back the freedoms they had pre-Telecom Reform Act, 1996, but also to expand their networks for broadband (and otherwise) without having to share any of the new networking nor the old inherited monopoly infrastructure.

That notwithstanding, some CLECs don't believe it has anything to do with broadband, just the Bells reclaiming lordship over their current networks and shutting CLECs out. "I don't think it has anything to do with that [reigniting broadband deployment] actually," says Capraro, "I believe that the ILECs have found that this whole strategy of bringing massive bandwidth to the homes and so forth really hasn't been that acceptable."

If this theory is true it really robs the ILECs of their claim to such a motivation for the bill. What else could they do with the proposed deregulation? Capraro suspects that the Bells are looking to overhaul their networks and move voice from the legacy networks, which have used circuit switching to send voice signals along the pipe, over to the state-of-the-art technology, which is packet switching, specifically VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

Some voices surrounding this discussion say that although we may need better legislation concerning the CLECs and broadband, it's definitely not this legislation. According to Richard Nespola, president and CEO of TMNG, "TRA '96, I wouldn't scrap it but I certainly would do major reviews of what we've learned since '96. And the CLECs are certainly not without justification for getting their voices heard, and that's survival. I think candidly, Tauzin-Dingell would probably be very, very negative and almost the death knell for many of the CLECs who still survive [and] are still doing some good things.... I don't think the FCC or Congress should give any CLEC a subsidy. But I do think they have to create a level playing field. And that's the challenge, finding that fulcrum where things are balanced."

Everything has boundaries, even the open market. Want to hear an open market boundary? "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton Richard

There are others. Even if monopolies had no other competitor to keep them from absolute power, they would have their consumers, they would have what the market will bear, and they would have antitrust laws to contend with. In this case the Bells have competitors and consumers who know a good thing when they see one. Here's another saying: "Might makes right." And another: "130 million plus registered voters and their elected Senators can't be wrong." And I wonder what they'll say?

Special WBT Update
Tauzin and Hollings Can't Play House; Possible Sneak Play - Hand off to the House or Lateral to the FCC

Hollings welcomed Tauzin into the bosom of his Senate hearing on the telecom bill only to find out that outnumbering someone isn't the same as seeing eye to eye. Senator Hollings anticipates his rendition of the Tauzin-Dingell Telecom Bill, to which the Bells are expected to respond "tastes bad, less billing." In the meantime, a new recipe for Tauzin-Dingell may be in the works in the House. Just take 10 parts pork barrel and hide two parts Baby Bell deep in the middle and hope no one notices. Maybe they'll call it Piggyback Baby. And bringing to climax a rumor heard from the inception of this story, the FCC is circulating a rule, which, if passed, will accomplish most of what Tauzin-Dingell was meant to do in the first place.

I fear that the winds of affordable Internet and telecom, they may be a changin'. Do we get to vote on any of this? If I see any politician so much as give a favorable wink or nod to the proposed FCC rule, I'm gonna tell 'em straight how I feel.

More Stories By David Geer

David Geer is a contributing writer to WBT, a journalist, and a computer technician. He graduated from Lake Erie College in 1993 with a BA in psychology and has worked in the computer industry and in the media since 1998.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...