Fiber or bust

Om reports a reader’s post that Verizon is literally removing the copper wires from homes that subscribe to its FIOS fiber optic services, making it impossibel for users to switch back to DSL. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is true — why should Verizon run the risk of cannibalizing itself?

I’m reminded of what United supposedly did when they opened the new Denver airport. Several years before, Southwest had ambushed American Airlines by flying into Love Field, the old Dallas airport that was largely abandoned in favor of Dallas-Ft. Worth. American controlled most of the gates at DFW, which they used to keep out low-cost competitors. They didn’t count on Southwest routing around them. United wasn’t about to have the same thing happen in Denver. So it had the highway bridge leading to the old Denver airport blown up. The airport facility is still there, but the city would have to build an expensive new ramp to reach it. Pretty slick, huh?

Verizon’s move, if true, is another piece of data suggesting that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s gambit on network unbundling — removing all sharing obligations for fiber networks — will cut against competition. Then again, now that those sharing obligations are essentially gone even for traditional DSL, it may not matter.