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Letters To The Editor
July 2001

In This Month's Mailbag

In response to Marc Robins' Column "The Year of the Customer" in Internet Telephony Magazine, May 2001.

Thank you for your article entitled "The Year of the Customer" in the May 2001 issue of Internet Telephony. Your thoughts convey a simple but important message. In fact, it is that very message which led to the creation of the company for which I work. The company is called The Customer Group and it was founded approximately two years ago in Chicago by Chad McClennan.

Our focus is on the customer and how companies and organizations can maximize their relationship with each customer and their entire customer base. We stress to our clients that before buying the latest software offering pitched as the "latest and greatest," companies need to take a step back and formulate a customer care strategy. This strategy may reveal more questions than answers, but in helping companies expressly articulate this information, they are able to move forward with their customer care strategy established as a part of their entire corporate strategy.

The feedback we have received from our clients has been extremely positive and we continue to try and grow our company with highly experienced professionals who have spent numerous years in this area, rather than the fresh faced post-grad with no real practical experience to leverage.

On a lighter note, I did find it interesting that you state in your article "All of this is a roundabout way of saying that while applications are nice, and even essential, it's really the customer that ultimately counts ..."

Thanks for the article and I look forward to January when I hope you designate 2002 as "The Year of the Customer" once again.

Andrew Bing
The Customer Group

In response to Mike von Wahlde's column on TMCnet.com, "Ain't Nothin' But A 3G Thing" (4/12/01):

Interesting article. I am trying to research the whole 3G thing and there are several questions I have. I hope that you can help me answer these questions, or point me in the appropriate direction.

Is it a service or an architecture? I think it is a service, and even if it is, where can I get information about the architecture and service features? Which standards body (if any) is driving this?

Some other questions I have are: Who are the major players driving 3G? Are there newer emerging architectures? Who are driving those?

I also hear of the SIP protocol. Are they related in any way?

(via e-mail)

Mike von Wahlde Responds:

Thanks for the response and the patience to read my columns. 3G is the shortened term for third generation wireless, the "coming" generation of wireless technology brewing in labs, and funded by venture capital firms, across the world. It promises to increase bandwidth, offer enhanced multimedia such as video and voice, and be usable by all mobile users across platforms. The key facet of 3G wireless is mobility -- a single system of communication over myriad devices and platforms. Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS), which is based on the European GSM standards, and EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution), which is based on the Western Hemisphere's TDMA protocol (but is said to unify GSM and TDMA), are considered and planned to be the standard for mobile users in the coming 3G years. Both are packet-based network, which allows for easy implementation of add-on services for both consumer and carrier with far less cost and hassle.

There are too many players in the 3G world to list, but many look to NTT DoCoMo (www.nttdocomo.com), Ericsson (www.ericsson.com), and Nokia (www.nokia.com) to lead the charge in the 3G mainstream, with smaller ASPs and service providers supporting and/or following up the charge.

SIP and 3G are considered to be bed-partners if the technologies evolve quick enough. The 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) is producing globally applicable technical specifications and technical reports for a 3G mobile system. The group is using IP technology end-to-end to deliver multimedia content to mobile handsets. The call control and signaling function will be fulfilled by SIP.

The partners of 3GPP have agreed to co-operate in the production of globally applicable technical specifications and technical reports for a third generation mobile system based on evolved GSM core networks and the radio access technologies that they support (universal terrestrial radio access (UTRA) both frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD) modes).
I hope that this response helps. For more information please visit www.sipcenter.com, www.3gpp.org, and www.uwcc.com.

We received the following letters in response to Laura Guevin's 5/18 Points of Presence column, which ran on TMCnet.com:

Dear Laura--
Thanks for a well-written article on "VoIP: The Great Legislative Afterthought" in the May 18 issue of TMCnet.com. The true intent and impact of H.R. 1542 (i.e., making VoIP illegal) is not immediately obvious. Thanks for clarifying the issues and this bill's consequences if it becomes law. We're working with our congressmen and our contacts in the IP Telephony industry to help put a stop to H.R. 1542. We appreciate your contribution to the cause.

Patrick Bosold
Corporate Communications Coordinator


In a national climate of promoting advanced broadband high-speed networks, a quick impulse and unplanned change to a very important Telecommunications Act of 1996 that will dramatically affect the future of the citizens of the USA for reliable phone services, high-speed Internet access, and future technological capabilities. It will be damaging especially to remote and rural communities, farms, and small businesses, where choices of communications and telecommunications providers are limited. Their technological futures rely on local leadership, and state and federal regulations and laws. I certainly hope legislators give a great amount of thought, research, and time when changing this law, taking into consideration the many states, geography, regions, sizes of cities, different technology needs, family business farms, etc., because each community has different needs, possibilities, restrictions and barriers, various levels of technology education, etc, but they all have one area in common -- they all need high-speed Internet access and reliable and reasonable telephony prices for economic viability and limiting the effects of the Digital Divide. An incorrect change to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 could cause a large Digital Divide or Technological Barrier for Americans.

Patty Anderson


Dear Laura--
The 1996 Telecommunications Act was the most important legislation in the industry since the U.S. telephone monopoly was broken up in 1984. The hope for an end to telephone monopolies and the promise of competition was supposed to result in an astonishing period of vastly improved phone service, lowered costs, and enhanced technologies. The problem is that the 1996 Act will never live up to its potential if it is not enforced. Worse, Congress itself could directly undermine the Act with a bill that coddles the existing monopolies and penalizes the companies trying to modernize the industry. This damaging bill, The Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001 (HR 1542), was introduced this week by Representative Billy Tauzin.

The 1996 Act was directed at opening the local telecom markets controlled by the "Baby Bell" monopolies. The act used a carrot and stick approach: the Bells would be allowed to compete in the long-distance market, but only after they ended their own monopolies, as determined by the FCC and the state Public Utility Commissions.

Congressman Tauzin's bill completely undermines the 1996 Act by encouraging the Bells to keep their monopolies while at the same time also allowing them to enter the already competitive long-distance market. Congressman Tauzin's legislation would make a distinction between "voice" long distance and "data" long distance -- a small comfort for consumers and one that is technologically insignificant. In reality, the Bells already control 70 percent of the high-speed data market and still have a monopoly on 95 percent of local phone service.

Not surprisingly, the result is less competition for the Baby Bells, while consumers get higher prices, less innovation, slower service and less choice.

If the 1996 Act is ever fully implemented and enforced, its potential will be breathtaking: There are already hundreds of competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) poised to offer consumers voice and broadband services. In a truly competitive environment consumers will benefit from the better, faster services and lower prices that can only come about when companies are forced to compete against each other for business. As it stands now there is only one game in town for most consumers, and it remains the Bell monopolies.

When we started KMC Telecom in 1995, we saw a great deal of potential in the telecommunications market. We knew what sort of improvements and innovations came as a result of the end of the 1984 monopoly in long distance, but we expected an uphill battle. Nevertheless, we looked forward to competing against the bigger Baby Bells. Lacking any alternatives other than the Bells, the public had become used to mediocre service and a reluctance by the Bells to introduce new ideas and technologies. They didn't have to because there were no competitors trying to offer what consumers really wanted.

The 1996 Act established reasonable ground rules for allowing all companies to compete fairly. What companies like mine did not expect was the incredible amount of foot dragging and legal obstructions thrown up by the Baby Bells in the five years since the Act was passed.

The potential telecom revolution introduced by the 1996 Telecommunications Act is on the verge of realization. CLECs are proud to be at the forefront of this revolution that will vastly improve the way Americans live and work. We only ask that Congress not protect the Baby Bell monopolies from fair competition, and that they simply enforce the rules of the 1996 Act. America will thank them for it.

Roscoe C. Young II
President and Chief Operating Officer of KMC Telecom

[ Return To The July 2001 Table Of Contents ]

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