CEOs Upbeat Despite Regulatory Picture

Participants in todays CEO Forum at CompTel/ASCENT generally are upbeat about the industry as a whole and their particular companies prospects for success. That will be a key focus of discussion during the panel. Also expect discussion on the impact of new regulatory decisions on the competitive telecom industry and these individual carriers, and the importance of VoIP.

Led by CompTel/ASCENT CEO H. Russell Frisby Jr., the sessions speakers include Rolla Huff, chairman and CEO of Mpower Communications; Ron Mudry, president and CEO of Progress Telecom LLC; and Jeff Storey, president and CEO at WilTel Communications Group Inc.

Mudry says because his company is a facilities-based wholesale provider of capacity, it wont be affected as much by recent regulatory actions as its customers will be. Those customers, he says, now have even more incentive to look beyond the Bells for network facilities. That means Progress Telecom is considering how to increase its facilities to help its customers reach their customers, says Mudry. Wireless last-mile technology both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint is among the options Progress Telecom is considering to enable that access, he adds.

Despite the disappointing events on the regulatory front, executives on todays panel are generally upbeat about the industry and their own prospects for growth.

From an industry perspective, its going to be better than last year, says Mudry. We do expect to see growth and stabilization. But there will be more consolidation, he adds.

From our own perspective Im even more bullish, Mudry continues. Since we focus on second- and third-tier cities and have deep metro reach, we see growth more in those areas than in the industry as a whole.

WilTels Storey says the outlook for his company also is very strong. We continue to operate well and deliver well to our customers, and theyre rewarding us by awarding us more business, he says.

Storey says VoIP is a very big deal, and its a very big deal for the whole industry. He says VoIP is radically transforming the industry, and he opines that five to 10 years from now the way people communicate will be entirely different.

At the show this week, WilTel will unveil an IP-enabled voice solution to meet the growing demands of its wholesale customers. WilTels suite of IP-based voice services provides IP interconnections to carriers, resellers and VoIP providers, alleviating the need for costly protocol conversion. The addition of an IP-enabled voice architecture to WilTels existing DMS-250 voice network allows it to provide both TDM and IP-based voice services.

Until recently, IP-based voice equipment and networks didnt meet WilTels stringent quality standards, says Storey. After extensive research, WilTel developed an IP voice model that enhances our customers offerings to the end users while also meeting their demands for reliability and quality.

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