Looking at recent events, it appears that we are at the tipping point of a substantial demographic shift in power. In this entry, I highlight my thinking as to why I believe we’re there and some of the potential impacts.
Some people will say that the black-out was no big deal and for most, it wasn’t but it belied a number of critical issues. Today, less than 24 hours after our electricity was restored (for the record, 28th street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue got its electricity back on Friday at 9:45pm), I am thinking about some of the scenes I witnessed in this historical event. First of all, I was impressed by how cool and collected everyone was. While there are many recollections of the black-out here’s mine. (granted, I’m posting this late but I just finished making sure that everyone was OK on this end and replugging and generally digging under from the madness of the past few days). Thursday was a regular day at the office… until about 4pm. At a few minutes ’til 4pm, something happened to the lights in our building. I was looking at my computer screen and noticed a slight dim. As I was wondering whether this was due to lack of coffee or a sugar low, or just general dizziness due to too many hours staring at the screen, the lights went out for a few seconds, and every computers went dead.…Read More
There’s been much discussion over the past year related to the viability of new wireless operators trying to implement national networks for Wi-Fi. The issue is one of cost and return on investment. As we learned during the dotcom boom, it is easy to build new infrastructures but it is much harder to build new infrastructures that are not only scalable but also profitable. With the introduction of free Wi-Fi to existing broadband customers, Verizon is changing the model again. On one side, you have smaller operators like Boingo that are trying to make a go of it without anything else. My bet is that the future of such operators lies in being acquired, either by a telephone company (in that particular case, I would bet on Sprint acquiring them since Boingo already has a relationship with their PCS division). On another side are existing large mobile operators like T-mobile who are trying to create a bundle that includes mobile phone service and data service all in one package. Those will probably continue to move successfully but will be forced to lower prices as time goes on. Now, with the Verizon offer, I expect to see not only DSL operators…Read More
Imagine an industry where customers are leaving more quickly than they are joining. If you were part of that industry, would you: try to increase your level of customer satisfaction ? or fight any provision that would increase competition in your industry? If you are the wireless phone industry, you will go for the latter. The issue at hand is number portability. What is number portability? Well, put quite simply, it is a way to be able to use the same phone number regardless of which service provider you are using. It is essentially what now allows us to change long distance service or local service carriers from our incumbent bell operating company (for example, Verizon in New York) to another service provider (following the same example, one could now go to AT&T or RCN for phone service). Technically, and from the consumer standpoint, it’s a really great idea that fosters choice and increases competition. To the existing phone monopolies, it’s a nightmare because it means that they now must be offering better service or face losing their customers to the competition. The history In 1996, under section 251(b)(2) of the Telecommunications Reform Act, the US government specified that all…Read More