The telecom industry has gotten riled up recently. If you have been paying attention to the news, you know that the biggest telcos are asking the FCC to make a policy change that would have huge impacts on both residential and business customers. At the end of the day, Windstream Enterprise stands for our current customers and those of you who will become our customers in the future. Our loyalties lie with you, not the big telcos.
Given current government leadership’s fervor for rolling back regulations, it’s important to remember that marketplace oversight often elevates public interests above the profit motives of monopolies and near-monopolies.
That’s certainly true of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which sparked a wave of competition that brought more choices and in many cases lower prices to businesses and consumers. Big Telco is working hard to reverse that dynamic, pushing the FCC to repeal a key element of the Act. If they succeed, it will hit corporate America’s pocket book. And it will hit hard.
The element under attack: Among its many provisions, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) to offer UNEs (unbundled network elements) to competitive providers, at prices that include a reasonable profit. This has enabled a new class of providers (like ourselves) to deliver innovative services without having to duplicate ILEC infrastructure – which, after all, was paid for in full by ILEC customers. In addition to greatly increasing service options, UNEs helped to keep costs under control by fostering competition among a larger number of service providers. In other words, we help you manage your costs while enabling you to run your business your way and better serve your customers.
Big Telco would like to increase its profits by giving consumers and enterprises fewer options at higher prices. Through the USTelecom lobby group, the ILECs are pushing the FCC to end their obligation to make UNEs available. If they succeed, the largest U.S. telephone companies will hit enterprises with a serious double-whammy:
For these reasons, Windstream Enterprise strongly opposes the USTelecom request. Although we are an ILEC serving communities in 18 states and a USTelecom member ourselves, we’re also a competitive service provider in markets where we’re not the ILEC. We know how much enterprises have benefitted from UNEs. We also know the financial impact of an immediate 15% increase in telecommunications costs for these enterprises. And we are extremely concerned about the business disruption they’ll incur with forced migration to next-generation service within a brief window.
Simply put, this proposal is a roadmap for inflicting pain on enterprise customers for the benefit of Big Telco.
That’s why we have joined forces with other competitive service providers and champions of a competitive telecommunications marketplace to persuade the FCC to reject Big Telco’s proposal. Together, we have persuaded the FCC to extend the comment deadlines, giving all interested parties more time to review and respond to USTelecom’s proposal.
We hope to help shut down that proposal completely. If that can’t be done, we’ll press hard for a more reasonable transition period that eases the disruption ILECs are so eager to force on enterprise customers. You can also read more about our official positioning here.
At the end of the day, our job is to help you transform your business by providing innovative network solutions and elevating your experience with us so you can do the same for your customers. That’s why we don’t have boxed solutions and refuse to get “boxed in’ by competitors” proposals that stand in the way of us putting you first. We’ll continue to advocate for you in these deliberations and will keep you posted on the progress as it unfolds.
Layne Levine is president of Windstream Enterprise & Wholesale. He is responsible for overseeing sales, financial performance, marketing, field technicians, service delivery and customer care and repair for the company’s enterprise, mid-market/commercial markets and wholesale segments. He also oversees the company’s channel program, including Value-Added Resellers (VARs), agents, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and system integrators.
Levine has worked in the telecom industry for more than 25 years, most recently as chief revenue officer at GTT, which provides cloud networking services to multinational customers. In that role, Levine led the company’s revenue growth initiatives worldwide, targeting global carriers and multinational enterprises and developing its emerging channel strategy. Previously he was the executive vice president for GTT’s Americas division, managing the sales and customer operations efforts for North and South America.
Prior to joining GTT, Levine was senior vice president of sales at Alpheus Communications. Before that he was senior vice president of retail sales for Deltacom/EarthLink. Levine also has held leadership positions at Airband Communications, Level 3 Communications and Broadwing Communications.
Levine has a Bachelor of Arts from Texas Tech University.
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