Indatel: No plans to compete with nationwide carriers
Despite reports to the contrary, there are no plans for a new nationwide independent carrier to emerge this year through the interconnection of smaller networks, said Max Huffman, president of Indatel, an organization of 23 statewide Independent telco networks.
Huffman spoke to Telephony today to clarify the organization’s plans for interconnecting member networks in response to a report this week that Indatel could announce plans this summer to create a nationwide fiber network to compete with companies such as AT&T and Level 3 Communications.
“We’re still a not-for-profit trade association,” Huffman said. “We will continue to evaluate how we can best serve our telco owners but we have no plan to compete with companies like Level 3.”
Indatel members operate statewide networks which, combined, comprise 40,000 route miles covering largely rural areas of 21 states. Indatel members already have begun to co-market their networks on a wholesale basis to fill coverage holes in major telco networks. And some members already have interconnected (http://telephonyonline.com/independent/news/small_business_bands_together_090201/ with one another. Interconnecting all 23 member networks would require an additional investment to lay or lease fiber, and Indatel does not currently have a budget or business plan to support that move, Huffman said.
“We’re trying to determine the readiness of rural ILECs for a broader level of interconnection,” Huffman told Telephony today. He cautioned, however, that, “It could be all about cost containment versus revenue generation.”
In a recent interview with Telephony, Indatel executive director Scott Hoffman said the organization also was working to expand its membership to include other Independent statewide networks and to help organize Independent telcos to create statewide networks in states that do not already have them.
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