Larissa Herda Calls For New Era

March 4th, 2009 by · 3 Comments

Keynoting COMPTEL yesterday, CEO Larissa Herda of TW Telecom (NASDAQ:TWTC, news, filings) used the pulpit to call for a National Business Broadband Policy. It’s no secret that competitive service providers of all stripes have high hopes for the Obama administration.  The last eight years were rather friendly to the incumbents, to put it lightly. 

The theme of the speech was that healthy competition is what drives innovation, you can’t achieve the latter without ensuring the former.  It’s a bit sad that we have reached the point where someone actually has to say that. Her three critical items to fight for are worth repeating:

  • Effective regulation of Special Access of all kinds
  • Interconnection for IP voice and data services
  • Reform or elimination of the forbearance process

All are in desperate need of attention.  Notice that net neutrality is not on the list, even though it gets top billing everywhere else it seems.  That’s really the choice the FCC faces, do they roll up their sleeves and fix what’s really broken or do they go for the photo op?  Obama officially nominated Julius Genachowski for FCC Chairman yesterday, to nobody’s surprise.  Let’s hope his sleeves get rolled up quickly.

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Categories: Government Regulations

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3 Comments So Far

  • Dave Rusin says:

    My view on things:

    Special access should not be regulated. If Special Access generates profits, new entrants will enter and invest to compete for those profits.

    We have had 13 years of “renting” since CA 1996 — now is not the time to get nostalgic. If things have not worked out in 13-years, check your business model.

    Innovation will not be driven by regulation. Innovation will result from market alternatives to the ILEC infrastructure. Non-ILECs that do not lease dark fiber to other carriers are just as culpable of a closed network platform as the ILECs. You can’t have it both ways.

    What has been missing since the telecom collapse, which contributed to it as well, is a clear consistent policy on protecting the consumer AND facilitating facilities-based competition. Policy is solely concerned with consumer protection, I believe both are linked. As long as regulatory remains opaque and inconsistant, there is zero incentive for private capital to re-enter the market.

    I advocate a sunset provision on all UNE-L’s within a few years. The provision would not do away with UNE-L’s, they would no longer be price regulated. This clear direction would attract capital for new infrastructure investment – especially the last mile – wire line or wireless.

    Forbearance is a good tool for the FCC to have and should be used to focus attention on forward momentum and alternative network investment. If you wait long enough, eventually the ILEC will get forbearance petitions granted …

    Historically what has driven innovation in America are non-leveled playing fields. I was a Board Director of a successful fixed wireless company which was created because of the market advantages the ILEC had … instead of running to the regulators, the pissed off entrepreneur created a new competitor.

    Don’t worry, I don’t expect to be appointed to the FCC any time soon …

  • Rob Powell says:

    Dave, somehow I thought you might chime in! I do agree that it is lack of a consistent policy that has hurt more than anything. I too would prefer there to be much less regulation, but I suspect that this is not the opportune moment to wipe it all away. I feel that clarity is the most basic step and the one the FCC needs to take first.

    But I suspect if you ever did get that appointment to the FCC you would be unlikely to take it!

  • Dave Rusin says:


    You are right … I don’t picture myself inside the Beltway. I would be too controversial (directness).

    I can’t speak for an hour or two and say nothing of value – I just don’t have the ability.

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