COMPTEL Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The COMPTEL PLUS convention opened Monday with celebratory speeches and a cake sponsored by Progress Telecom marking COMPTEL’s 25th Anniversary.

COMPTEL Chairman Sherm Henderson applauded companies that have “stayed the course for 25 years.” He reflected on the past quarter of a century by looking at the value competitors have brought to consumers and businesses. “Look at the money we’ve saved the American consumer,” he said, recalling the 35-cent price of long-distance minutes compared to today’s 2-cent minutes. “So many innovations have come out of the entrepreneurial field.”

In an opening video montage, a letter from President George Bush congratulated the association on its milestone. And, Rep. Chip Pickering commended COMPTEL members’ commitments to entrepreneurship — a quality that has changed our country.

While kudos come from outside the industry, COMPTEL members featured in the video point to challenges ahead. Jim Geiger, CEO of Cbeyond spoke to net neutrality. “It should scare the heck out of companies like Google” or any other companies delivering applications over the Internet, he said.

Carl Grivner, CEO of XO Communications, remarked that the more things change, the more they remain the same. “Twenty-five years ago we were fighting AT&T [Inc.] Now we are doing it again because AT&T is coming back together,” he said. He challenged the competitors to win this fight — “not only for ourselves, but for consumers and businesses.”

Henderson echoed these sentiments: “Are we up for the fight? … I think we are.”

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