While lunching yesterday in Fairfax, VA, this FiOS truck (below) rolled into the parking lot. The technician got out and came into the same place we were eating to grab a bite, too. Before the Internet exploded and communications companies were protected utilities, this would have seemed unusual. I mean, it was a Sunday on a holiday weekend. “Average utilities” don’t work on Sundays on holiday weekends.
But that was when competition was bottled up and companies didn’t have to compete. In the Internet space – where competition between wired telco / cable, wireless and satellite providers has gone through the roof – “average utilities” no longer exist.
I spoke to the Verizon technician as he was finishing up his brief lunch.
“Working on a Sunday?” I politely inquired.
“Yep. And I’ll be working tomorrow on Labor Day, too.”
“Really? That’s got to be unusual, right?”
“Nope,” said the tech. “We’re so busy hooking up broadband, we’ve got crews working Thanksgiving and Christmas to give customers the Internet they want and need. This is 24/7/365 work. If we don’t, our competitors [in this case, Cox Cable and numerous other wireless providers] will eat our lunch.”
Today, government statistics show that nearly the entire nation has access to broadband. Importantly, instead of just saying “mission accomplished,” the dynamic market continues to compete, evolve and, well, astound. Some say this isn’t happening – that, in particular, companies like Verizon have stopped competing and have ceded the broadband market to their cable rivals.
Working on a holiday is a funny way of not competing.
Keep it up, guys!