New President of SBC Oklahoma Believes Over-Regulation in Telecom Industry Hinders Economy

Article excerpt

The telecommunications industry has outgrown federal regulations imposed upon it during the last century, says the new president of SBC Oklahoma. Donald Cain took over as president of SBC Oklahoma on Oct. 20. Upon his appointment, Cain said one of his main goals is to provide Oklahomans with the most advanced technology and to help make the state an economic draw for high-tech companies.

A native of the Texas Panhandle city of Pampa, Cain earned a bachelor's degree from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, in 1976, and taught history and psychology at Pampa High School and the Dallas Academy before joining SBC.

Cain has been with SBC for 24 years, beginning in 1979 in the company's customer-focused network services organization and moving on to several positions dealing with customer service, regulatory and external affairs. Cain headed the legislative and regulatory team in South Africa, representing SBC's interest in Telkom South Africa, from 1997 to 2000.

Prior to his present position as president of SBC Oklahoma, Cain served more than three years as SBC's managing director of federal regulatory policy in Washington, D.C.

According to Cain, many of the regulations that were originally designed to help the consumer now do the consumer more harm than good. Over-regulation discourages investment in research and development, which in turn cripples the entire economy, he said.

Many of the rules that currently govern the telecommunications industry went into effect in the early 1980s, noted Cain. (SBC controlled) 83 percent of the access lines in the state, he said. Today, with the advent of cellular phones, e-mail and other communications options, SBC possesses less than 40 percent of the market.

Regulation is supposed to substitute for competition in a monopoly market, said Cain. Well, the competition is here. It's time to let the market work.

Fears that deregulation would cause prices to skyrocket have been proved unfounded in the past, noted Cain. For instance, the cost of high-speed DSL Internet access has become less expensive since broadband services have been deregulated.

But SBC is still saddled with a number of outdated regulations, Cain said. As the incumbent carrier, we continue to get regulated as if it's still the 1980s, said Cain. We need the ability to have the same freedom our competitors do.

Cain pointed to the railroad industry as an example. …