RE: Welcome back, Ma Bell

Going down to three companies controlling all of the last mile copper
doesn't change very much.

  Regardless of who owns it, there has always been only been one
company to get local loop/last mile from. SBC and BellSouth (or BS as I
like to call it) have never been in any direct competition. BS has
almost complete control over what they like to call the Nine-states
region (in terms of facilities). SBC, Verizon, and Quest also had hard
regions defined. Outside of BS there may have been some competition in
border regions, but everywhere I have dealt with has had little direct
land-line/last-mile competition.

  The best things I see coming out of the merger will be the drive
for improvement and innovation. BS is the only one of the RBOCs that I
am aware of that has actually been fighting the idea of deploying
FTTH/FTTP. BS's official policy still states that they can accomplish
all of the things a FTTH network can accomplish using high speed DSL
versions such as vDSL. ATT and SBC both have started building out their
fiber networks, most relevantly Project Lightspeed at SBC that aims to
bring FTTH and IPTV. I think (and hope...) that the merger will result
in that build-out EVENTUALLY (perhaps however a long way off still)
making it to the BS footprint. The new ATT will have to closely compete
and follow with what Verizon does. Besides wireless, the best product
Vzw has to offer to home and SOHO users is FIOS, and most of the RBOCs
have realized they will need to follow suit.

  As far as pricing and competition, the merger does not eliminate
CLECs. The larger CLECs continue to grow, and the previous RBOC related
mergers all included stipulations requiring access to CO's and local
copper loops. Perhaps this merger will bring more detail and regulation
regarding CLEC use of ILEC facilities. That would be another huge


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  The best things I see coming out of the merger will be the drive
for improvement and innovation.

having recently lived in a BS-service area I can say that there is no
improvement or innovation coming from them. the facilities in south florida
are rather old, and BS is in no rush to fix anything...if something breaks
beyond some chewing gum and bailing wire fixes, then they will grudgingly
replace it, but generally only with copper. there are few areas where they
have built out with fiber, but they appear to have laid used fiber in the
ground because the line quality is only marginally better than the old copper,
and they try to add additional fees since you are off 'new facilities'

I am now back in a Qwest area where they have 'innovated' exclusive contracts
with all the local apartment and housing developments (at least in my area)
to provide similar service to what BS did

so while it may not be the same level of control that was present with old Ma
Bell, her children are doing all they can

my $0.02
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