Qwest Says Fiber Isn't Happening

CNet has an interview with Edward Mueller, the CEO of Qwest, that reveals their direction on fiber optic networks:

CNet: Let's shift gears here for a minute to broadband. You talked about Qwest's commitment to upgrading its network by taking fiber to the node or fiber to the neighborhood. Why doesn't Qwest follow Verizon's lead and just take fiber to the home?

Mueller: It's too expensive. We don't see the return.

CNet: But Wall Street seems to have looked favorably on Verizon's strategy, and it's starting to pay off. They seem to have a long-term vision.

Mueller: We don't have the resources.

Funny, I would have thought that decades of price-gouging and anti-competitive behavior combined with a $200B federal handout would be resources enough. In the interview, it becomes clear that Verizon and AT&T are using wireless revenues to cross-subsidize their FIOS and U-Verse rollouts, respectively, whereas Qwest can only cook up lame "partnerships" for cellular access. (And picking Sprint? That was dumb.) They're also expressing little interest in either the 700MHz auction or WiMax.

The short version is that we can't expect Qwest to deliver next-generation networks under the current leadership, especially after the last five years where the company spent more time courting a buyer than being a phone company. Without that competitive pressure, do you really think Comcast is going to roll out DOCSIS 3.0 in Utah anytime soon? My magic 8 ball is saying "don't count on it".

h/t: Warren Woodward of XMission for pointing out this article.

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