The Washington Post had an engaging interview with Verizon CEO Seidenberg on Tuesday. One item stood out in the extended excerpts made available by the Post. It sounds like symmetric access is on Seidenberg’s mind.
First of all, when you have 50 to 100 megabits, and you have symmetry of upstream and downstream speeds, now you are thinking in much different concepts.
Whoa. Did he say symmetric 50M to 100M access? A lot of people would find that newsworthy. The Passive Optical Network they are deploying could support these speeds, though an upgrade to G-PON would really be needed to support more than a few households on a shared net. Even then, it would be straightforward to modify the fiber splitting cabinets to offer some subscribers symmetric access.
Another interesting part of the interview focused on whether Verizon would bother to provide video service to small municipalities (FiOS TV) if they made the franchising process too difficult:
If the company does not get some relief, Seidenberg said, it will have to reconsider whether to serve small franchises and might instead focus on big ones.
“This is the only threatening comment I’ll make. . . . Remember, there are some franchises that are big. So let’s take the city of Philadelphia — it’s big,” he said. “Then you’ve got all these oodles of them in the state of New Jersey, or Virginia.
I’d like to see elected officials of small towns explain why they didn’t bring in a competitive video provider. He is pushing for federally mandated removal of franchising, which I think is a mistake. The local municipalities that stand in the way will eventually bend, like they did in Florida.
Some good quotes from the excerpts:
I am always interested in listening to investors who do 10-year discounted cash flows and then worry about [your] next quarter’s earnings.
True. How many long term investors out there obsess over an extra penny or two of earnings?
We know how to do that. It’s what we do. And so whether we do it in one year or three years, we are going to do this. We are going to do it well. I think . . . most of the people creating the noise around us are our competitors, who have frankly tried to convince the investors that the investments aren’t prudent. So why would anybody listen to the cable companies tell them what our costs are? I think a lot of investors, and some press, are getting spun by the cable companies by saying, well these guys can’t afford to do this. We can do it. We know how to do it. We know how to get the costs down.
On the lack of FiOS subscriber details:
I would be the first to suggest that while we are very pleased with the early results, they represent early results, and I think that we frankly we are doing far better than I thought we would but we need more consistent performance to make sure that this is sustainable and we’ll demonstrate that.
And it is clear he believes in my Industrial Accident model:
What can you do with these kinds of networks that people couldn’t even dream of thinking about five years ago? . . . I would prefer, at least on this, to admit I don’t know all the answers but I don’t want anybody capping the capability of what we are doing simply because we haven’t thought of all the things people will invent. This is an important point to me, because I think it’s an untapped understanding of what we’re about. Not to pick on the world but, even 20 years ago people never saw the full capability of wireless . . . but yet, there were people in the industry, some of us, guys like Craig McCaw, and others who believed that this was gong to change behavior and you know what, [we] were right . . . This is almost religious . . . religious with proper financial accounting.