Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Telecom trouble: Whose Problem is it?
SMART Letter #90 -- October 15, 2003*snip*
Copyright 2003 by David S. Isenberg
isen.com - "getting the good news back home"
> Quote of Note: "The Node" on Neil Postman's Questions
> The Telecom Downturn -- Whose Problem is it?
> Quote of Note: Dana Frix on 2003 FCC Triennial Order
> If it's Funny it must be True, by Scatt Oddams
> Conferences on my Calendar
> Copyright Notice, Administrivia
Quote of Note: "The Node" on Neil Postman's Questions
"The questions that Postman proposes we ask of
technologies are intended to help us filter out the
jargon of progress, efficiency, and whizbangery and to
perceive the crucial, central and oft-overlooked whys,
hows, and implications of technology. What is the
problem to which this technology is a solution? Whose
problem is it? Is it actually a problem at all? Who will
pay for it? Who will benefit from it, and who stands to
suffer from it? What new problems might arise from
solving this one?"
>From "The Node," January 2000, http://tinyurl.com/r0ct
in memoriam, Neil Postman, 1931-2003.
The Telecom Downturn -- Whose Problem is it?
by David S. Isenberg
Neil Postman, who died on Sunday, October 5, was known for
asking provocative questions. One of his best was, "Whose
problem is it?"
So let's ask. The telecom "downturn" -- whose problem is
it? With the Internet still growing at 100% per year, with
always-on services in 20 million U.S. homes and a 40% annual
growth rate, with Skype and SIPphone and Vonage and Addaline
and Packet8 and CallWave, who is concerned about a downturn?
With Wi-Fi access points for $39.00 at Staples that provide
network speeds ten times faster than telephone or cable
company will give me for $39.00 *a*month*, is it a downturn
or a horrendously inefficient market? Who, exactly, is
concerned? Whose problem, exactly, is this so-called
In the circles I've been traveling in lately, the dominant
metaphor is medical. Telecom is a *sick*patient*. I
went to a conference on, "*Remedies* for Telecom *Recovery*"
The Wall Street Journal says, "Telecom-Industry *Recovery*
May Be Far Off" http://tinyurl.com/r067 . And an industry
press release declares, "TIA Releases Five-Point Strategy
for Sustained Telecom *Recovery*" http://tinyurl.com/r06x .
The talk of today's telecom turmoil as a disease leads us
to think that the telecom industry's pundits, professors,
bankers and regulators will act like do-no-harm doctors,
trained to make an accurate diagnosis and apply the right
remedy -- one that's both effective and safe -- so the
patient will return to health.
Who's the patient? What are the symptoms? Where is the
Read the rest of SMART Letter #90.
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