Thursday, February 10, 2005

Incumbents Have No Friend in Philly CIO

Philadelphia Chief Information Officer (CIO) Dianah Neff apparently has no plans of seeking future employment with Verizon or any other Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC).

In this News.com opinion piece, Ms. Neff shreds the arguments ILECs have made against Philadelphia's attempt to deliver Wi-Fi to residents throughout the city.

Here are a couple of paragraphs that ring particularly relevant to the arguments raised against the LUS project by ILEC BellSouth, cable provider COX, and, of course, D.U.L.L.:

Tell me who among incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs)--have deployed ubiquitous, high-speed wireless networks that support roaming/mobile capabilities. No ILEC. Who provides high-speed, broadband, ubiquitous services at dial-up rates for the underserved populations? No ILEC. Who is working to get equipment and training into the homes of low-income and disadvantaged portions of our community? Again, no ILEC.

No, they'd rather charge the city governments with having an unfair competitive advantage because of the governments' access to tax-exempt financing. But who says we are financing Wireless Philadelphia with tax-exempt funding? What about all the incentives the ILECs have received the past two decades? When was the last time they were elected to determine what is best for our communities? If they're really concerned about what is important to all members of the community, why haven't they built this type of network that meets community needs or approached a city to use their assets to build a high-speed, low-cost, ubiquitous network?

For all the money they've spent lobbying against municipal participation, they could have built the network themselves. The truth, of course, is that the incumbent local exchange carriers want unregulated monopolies over all telecommunications.

The piece isn't that long. You should read it.

Word for word, it's one of the most scathing indictments of ILEC behavior to come out recently. And, well deserved, at that.

But, paraphrasing the late President Kennedy, to see ILECs and cable companies at their most duplicitous, "Let them come to Lafayette."

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