Telecommunications lawyer hits big telcos on transport layer fees

Imagine this scenario. A panel with: two top voice services execs, one from Verizon and the other from AT&T, and a telecommunciations lawyer who isn't all that trusting of either service provider.

Imagine this scenario. A panel with: two top voice services execs, one from Verizon and the other from AT&T, and a telecommunciations lawyer who isn't all that trusting of either service provider.

For the record,Shawn Conroy, VP of Voice Networking, AT&T and James Tyrrell, Vice President, Business Voice Products, Verizon Business. Also on the panel: a telecommunications lawyer and enterprise IT policy and contracts consultant virtually accusing those companies of greed.

"Immediately after the megamergers, (Verizon acquiring MCI and SBC purchasing "the old" AT&T) our firm was very concerned with, what we might wind up with duopoly behavior, duopoly parallel pricing," said Jim Blaszak, Partner, in Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby. "We haven't seen it, but the reason is a little more complicated than 'we wan to take market share from each other.' "We need to think of the transport layer as where (the incumbent phone companies) are exercising market power and market pricing. When you see earnings at the access point of 120%, 100%, that means that for competing applications for the transport layer, they (the phone companies) can create real squeezes if you are an application provider (competing with) them."

Blaszak predicted that the FCC could rule on transport layer pricing as soon as next month, but that the type of solution they might impose is not clear at this point.

Neither telecommunications exec on the panel would hazard a guess on that subject.

With this pricing still in flux but multiple enterprise telecommunications choices available, Blaszak wasn't willing to cast the lot of corporate IT as that of a victim awaiting rescue. He said that bad telecommunication service provider choices made by enterprises aren't reflective of "a problemwith the market. It is a problem with you."