~ This is Part #2 of the Qwest Wars.
Yesterday we were using the figure of $20,000 per mile for fiber optic cable; the kind of “wire” that’s not wire to get you “wired” to the Internet. If Mr. Locke capitalizes the word I will too, he ought to know.
But let’s start with simple basics. An average lot in Albuquerque is 50 feet wide. There are 5,280 feet per mile. That means about 100 lots per mile less the width of the occasional street (Yes, Albuquerque, New Mexico really does have streets). There are two sides of almost every alley, so we multiply 100 lots by 2 and now come up with 200 houses that can be served for each and every mile.
So this looks like a cost of $100 dollars per house to have a fiber optic line right out back that any tech can connect ones service to. Now lets consider the income and the costs. My house is nearly seventy (70) years old. Many homes in downtown Albuquerque are even older. My house has had telephone service from the start – 70 years of service, bills every month, paying for telephone service every month for 70 long years. What’s that worth? In Qwest country the no extra basic line is about $25 dollars per month.
It has not always been $25, not seventy years ago. But, with all this talk about inflation, time, appreciation of stocks and what houses are sometimes worth and given what incomes are or were and all that other mumbo jumbo of economic theory let’s just assume that things stay about the same in real dollars. So $25 bucks now is like $25 dollars then and a bill is a bill and changing or adding a few zeros now and then just really does not make a real difference. So this house has paid over the 70 years about $21,000 dollars in today’s dollar equivalents for basic phone service to Mountain Bell and to Qwest Communications International, Inc. and all the telephone companies in-between that really are and have been “just Qwest”.
Maybe 50% of the money was costs (I doubt it); the other 50% of all these dollars has been profit (profits, plural). So we have the figure of $11,500 profits over 70 years under the theory that capitalism makes ones life better, and works, that Qwest can use how they wish to grow the company, lay new lines, and make more money still.
But, what does Qwest do with the money? You remember that the $11,000 bucks is the profit for almost every house; 200 houses per mile; $2.3 million dollars PROFIT for one mile of houses in “Old Albuquerque”. Qwest pays executive salaries of $12 million per year with this money, pays a few dividends, uses the rest for what – bonuses and payoffs and expansion to foreign lands like Afghanistan maybe, so that they can do the same shell game there; wire the houses and then let the infrastructure rot away to ruin as every year every Afghan pays and pays and pays like we do in New Mexico, in Albuquerque, where telephones came first.
What Qwest does NOT do is save the money and use profits for the building up of the community and the company. Qwest thinks they have banks for that; borrow money to build the future; don’t use profits for that. This is NOT capitalism, but Qwest calls it capitalism and everybody else calls it capitalism, so this is why “capitalism” DOES NOT work. If capitalism did work Qwest would realize that they had made $11,500 dollars from every older home in Albuquerque and as a result could invest (from profits earned) that $100 dollars needed to bring a fiber optic cable to each house, and my house too.
Is it asking too much to reinvest just 1% of pure profit in order to make America competitive, to make things modern, to keep the competition from Comcast and Verizon wireless at bay? Qwest apparently thinks so. They are not content with taking 99% of the money out of the community; they want 100%.
They want the banks to loan Qwest money. Qwest wants the fed (the federal government) to give them grants and money and “stimulus funds” to build their network, replace 50 year old (or more) copper lines frayed and falling apart at the joints and seams and connection points that make “connectivity” possible.
If the banks and feds won’t do it, Qwest won’t either. They stole the money in Albuquerque “fair and square”; they’ll steal it from anywhere they have the chance; nobody is looking, Wall Street investors help them by pumping up and buying up their stock while just ordinary people are sucked dry and are left paying too much for far too little. All we want is a little fiber optic connection to each house; good for Qwest, “good for Albuquerque”, good for New Mexico and the nation maybe. It would also be good for me (and you, so you could see the photographs you can’t see now).
Did Qwest wait too long? With overpriced static filled lines who needs a land-line anyway? Monopolies make corporations complacent; there’s no incentive when you can buy off and influence the regulatory commissions; when the commissions don’t do their jobs; when the Commissioners don’t do their jobs. My father Fred was in that place; “Commissioner” once. I know a little about the operations, lived it when I was young; saw it then and see the same things and worse even now.
People have been dropping the Qwest land line service like dead flies fall from pesticides. The smart flies flee and fly away, sign up for cellular, bad-rap Qwest every chance they get, tell stories of how terrible Qwest is and why it’s “a worthless company”, “a bad investment”, an Edsel, a loser among losers. You get my point.
But, my point is that just this house, this ONE HOUSE has given Qwest enough money to build a fiber optic link to 100 houses all down the block. My one house has paid enough money to reach almost to the hub at the Qwest central office in Albuquerque with fiber all the way; three (3) houses (me and just two neighbors) have paid enough to get fiber all the way there and back; but we can’t. Qwest has the franchise, has the MONOPOLY (the telephone monopoly); Qwest will lead us all to ruin. My opinion, but you just wait and see.
I think I’ve made my point about why capitalism really sucks. Capitalism does not work. Harvard business school may teach you differently, but Qwest will teach you by experience what works; what doesn’t. Qwest does not work. Don’t be fooled by the ads; don’t support the predatory practices of Qwest because they’ve used old Albuquerque money to build your hot line fiber optic cable in neighborhoods where developers know how the game is played (with Qwest).
My house has less of a resale value because of Qwest. Who would buy “old” when old means neglected infrastructure, old poles and wires, old money wasted on parties in Denver for the CEO’s and top brass and big wigs of Qwest Communications INTERNATIONAL, Incorporated.
I hope they see this message, my message, my message to Qwest before it is too late. I hope they think about it, invest some easy money, make things a bit more right. I will fight. I will fight for freedom. I will fight for truth and goodness and a better America, for a better New Mexico, for a better Albuquerque.
“For those who fought for it freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know.” Warriors are not just military men and women. Warriors are those that fight for things, good things; freedom to surf the
Web, freedom to compete, freedom to cooperate, freedom to build what’s better and what’s right, freedom to have a phone service not marked by tyranny and greed. These are better things to fight for than fighting for a beer on Friday, fighting FOR the corporations, fighting for Qwest’s right to exploit Afghanistan. Qwest is coming, like Genghis Khan; someone has to stop the hoard; stop the madness. Every sincere person can help.
I don’t know if Qwest Communications can change. I hope they can, for what hope may be worth. We’ll see. But this I know, history grinds down the wicked into nothing, into dust, into the ruins like at Qala Bist, like at Fort Churchill after 150 years, like the soldiers that served there – just a forgotten memory, no monument or memorial in Washington or Carson City. There will be no memorial to Qwest in Albuquerque, mark my words, not ever.
Tomorrow we will continue with the Series. We will look at the history and the catalyst and the efforts at solutions. In time we will understand and listen to each Qwest response. We will ask for and if necessary petition for redress. We will speak our piece, make our case, appeal to the courtroom of the common man, the better woman, the warriors and would be warriors of America. This is the corporate war, bring the war home NOW, it‘s not just about Afghanistan, it’s about HERE and now (the HERE, the NOW).
The pictures, they will shock you. The Qwest “Q” will cause Qwest questions. How can a company expand overseas when they don’t have their own house in order? Progress is “back to basics”, small businesses, big and better people – not “big shots” consumed with incompetence and greed. You decide the levels of stupidity and greed, my job is just the presentation of the facts. Some context perhaps, some opinion, some views and viewpoints – but otherwise just the facts.
[Originally written: 2010.03.27 / Tuesday – Why capitalism just doesn’t work.]