Lands of Opportunity
has graduated from hobby to profession in this country.
Our medicine is the most advanced in the world. Yet, it is the most expensive. Our
cinema is the most prolific. Yet, our thespians are grossly overpaid. Our TV programming
is the most varied. Yet, there are too many channels to choose from. Our cities are the
most modern. Yet, we have no roots.
For all that’s good, there is something equally bad–a tradeoff; another side of the
same coin. And so it goes with telecommunications resale. Even as resellers are embroiled
in the fight du jour (over access charges, dialing parity, unbundled network
elements [UNEs], margins–you name it), there are players in deregulating markets that are
looking to the U.S. experience as a success story.
In the past few weeks, I’ve received e-mail messages from readers in Brazil, China and
Korea–all wanting to understand and learn from the U.S. telecommunications resale
in-dustry. How did the industry evolve? What were its challenges? How were they resolved?
How to explain to them that the Tele-communications Act of 1996 was a decade in the
making, that incumbent carriers still loathe to do business with resellers and would not
if not forced to, that incumbent stall tactics and smear campaigns are all too prevalent?
In their eyes, the opportunity is all they see. They are like so many immigrants who,
had they known the pains of their journey across the pond to the New World all those years
ago, would have watched contentedly as the boat pulled out of the harbor.
We all could take a lesson from these foreign entrepreneurs for they can truly
appreciate the American dream–imperfections and all.