Fred Goldstein is now a Principal of the Interisle Consulting Group. Here are some resources reflecting his activities since founding Ionary Consulting.

A checklist for the new Competitive Local Exchange Carrier

Telecommunications competition is not dead yet!  The 2001-2008 FCC was certainly discouraging to competitive startups, and its replacement was not a whole lot better, but selective opportunities still exist. One of the "classic" approaches to competition is to use Unbundled Network Elements, and in particular the local loop (UNE-L).  This can support voice and data services (DSL), and potentially some switched digital video.  This isn't the same as UNE Platform, in which the entire local phone line was resold under UNE rates. That was phased out starting in 2004 and what's left are only limited opportunities to enter into "commercial agreements" with incumbent carriers.

ionary Consulting and BackUP Telecom Consulting have jointly created a checklist to assist Competitive Local Exchange Carrier clients in getting their facilities-based UNE-L networks up and running quickly.  This is especially useful for startups, for DSL providers seeking to add voice service, and for UNE Platform carriers seeking to migrate to UNE Loop operation.

This timeline shows a "best case" scenario of the tasks that need to be accomplished before bring up a new switch and initial UNE-L collocation, noting the various dependencies that need to be met along the way.  Given the FCC's assault upon both UNE Platform and pure DSL providers, many CLECs have moved in this direction.  Ionary and BackUP together provide many of the required services, as noted in the checklist.

Some other examples of how Ionary can support clients:
  • ionary has a large spreadsheet model illustrating the financial requirements of a startup CLEC.  It focuses on the "s`mart build" UNE-Loop  model, in which the CLEC owns its own switching but depends on leased loops and collocation in order to reach its subscribers.  This is our favorite entry method, especially for ISPs seeking to build a complementary CLEC business.  We can work with a potential CLEC to evaluate its options and see what it can afford, using over 200 variables to acommodate local conditions as well as the CLEC's business model.
  • CLECs who enter the Digital Subscriber Line market have to face the fact that standard ADSL technology has a limited range, and can therefore only be used by subscribers who are relatively close to the central office.  Using Geographic Information System tools and a growing collection of data bases, Fred Goldstein has produced maps and statistics that estimate what share of subscribers in a given area are probably loop-qualified for DSL.  Here's an illustrative map of  population and central offices west of Boston.  
  • While FCC rule changes have limited ISPs' opportunities to lease carrier facilities, the Wireless ISP business is growing rapidly. The single-frequency "mesh" networks of the 2000s have mostly failed, but much more elaborate designs, using separate backhaul and access, are doing well, even in some urban areas. Their success is dependent on terrain and other factors.  Using a terrain-based modeling tool such as RadioMobile, we can help estimate how a wireless network will behave in a given area.  Here is an example of how coverage might be in a wooded rural area with an 11-tower network. 
Links to some interesting web sites:

Telecom Digest, one of the Internet's oldest moderated mailing lists, with archives and related information on its web site.

Local calling guide, by Ray Chow, shows local calling areas for the USA and Canada. This volunteer effort is more accurate than some costly commercial data bases.

Cybertelecom is Bob Cannon's collection of telecom and Internet policy and law resources.  I also recommend the associated mailing list, especially if you're a policy wonk.

Some other consultants Ionary's Fred Goldstein has worked with:

BackUP Telecom Consulting, Mary Lou Carey's consultancy providing a range of services including AOCN, ASR provisioning, bill auditing.

PDS Consulting, Peter Shapiro's telecom-industry consultancy.

Barlow Keener is both a telecom attorney and consultant and a former CLEC owner.