It’s the time of the year where people make lists of the things they are thankful for. Following is my list of things that I am grateful for in the telephone industry this year.
The Large Incumbents. As a telecom consultant I am grateful for the large incumbent providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner. It is the behavior of these large companies that gets me a lot of my work. These companies continue to do things that annoy their residential customers, overcharge their larger customers and antagonize smaller carriers. So I get a lot of work helping people work around the big carriers.
The large telephone companies saw millions of subscribers leave their voice and DSL service and yet never fixed their customer service enough to keep customers happy. And now the large cable companies are seeing the same drop-off of customers and, if anything, they are annoying their customers even more than the telcos did.
The Regulators. Every year there seems to be more things that are deregulated and yet there seems to be a bigger regulatory burden each year. There are at least a half dozen major new regulatory burdens placed on the industry just in the past five years. Just like the large incumbents, the regulators make work for me. While I grateful for this, I also wish that this was not so.
The Growing Clamor for Broadband. More and more I see whole communities demanding that they get better broadband. Sometimes they are able to talk some provider into bringing better service, but more and more they are deciding to get it done themselves. I am a big believer that broadband is basic infrastructure, so it is nice to see this validated across the country in places large and small.
Over-the-Top Programming. I never liked the big cable packages. I finally feel empowered to not have cable in my house and to just seek out and watch the content I want to watch. I am thankful for the companies who have gathered the large libraries of OTT content and for the myriad devices that we can use to watch it.
The Push for Gigabit Bandwidth. I love the nationwide push for gigabit bandwidth. This is being led by Google but is now coming from many other places. I know today that supplying a gigabit is overkill, but we are quickly approaching a time when there will be billions of new networked devices and many new bandwidth-hungry apps that will use the bandwidth. I think the gigabit initiative is going to push us into areas that will benefit mankind as a whole.
The New Toys. I have been looking at making my new home into a smart home and I love all of the new toys that are available to that end. I am pretty sure that I don’t want a fridge that counts the eggs, but I love the fire alarm that talks to me. I know that at this point that a lot the Internet of Things are toys, but some of it, like being able to control my temperature, irrigation and other systems as well as enhanced security monitoring are not toys. And I know these are the precursor towards having a truly smart house, medical monitoring and yet undreamed of services that will make our lives better.
My Smart Phone. I thought I would never say that, but I now love and need my smart phone. I am able to keep up with emails and appointments at ease. I read a lot more news than I ever did with a computer. And I can keep up with friends through games and Facebook and other apps.