Stop Whining

First of all, let me say that I follow the telephone industry closely, but have never worked for a telephone operating company.

The article “The Forgotten Quo” from your May issue was interesting, and for the most part factually accurate. But a few things were omitted, and other things were distorted.

Congress, in its infinite wisdom, (they seldom get things straight) passed a law to “promote” competition. They never defined “promote,” and left that up to the FCC.The idea wasn’t to break up the power of the Baby Bells, it was just to allow others to participate - and if they were really good, they would succeed.

Next, it was realized that it is easier to get in the long distance business than in the local exchange business. Therefore, a rather difficult 14-point check list was applied to the Bells. Several of them had to take the test repeatedly in order to be allowed to get in that business. Somehow this was omitted from the article - and when something that important is omitted, the entire article becomes suspect.

I have heard repeatedly about the local exchange plant being the property of the subscriber. Nonsense. The subscribers do not own the local exchange plant any more than I own the building in which Wal-Mart is located. So, our lawmakers decided ILECS would have to lease the local exchange plant to the CLECs at very, very, cheap rates - below cost. And, any improvements the ILECs installed would have to be made available to the CLECs. So why bother putting in improvements?

Thousands of lines now are being provided by the CLECs, and some are high quality. Competition does in fact exist. Furthermore, the other means of connecting to the house - wireless and coax - always are available. Maybe it’s time the CLECs stopped whining.

-Bob Stoffels Bob Stoffels is a retired telecommunications consultant.
He can be reached at

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