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6991: Response to Wall Street Journal Teleco article (fwd)

From: felix Augustin <felix_augustin@hotmail.com>

In response to the Wall Street article dated January 26, 2001, I like to 
share some comments regarding the fact that Fusion is operating in
Haiti and might have some commercial agreement with Teleco d'Haiti. The 
objective of this note is not to get involved in the politics of Haiti nor 
the US but to try to represent an objective view of the Telecommunication 
industry.  This is in no way supportive of one faction or the other neither 
in Haiti or here in the USA.

First, a reminder that a brief synopsis of Fusion Telecommunications
International is available and published on their Web site at 
www.fusiontel.com where a description of their global activities and network 
is available. Fusion is nothing else that a CLEC providing International 
service for both voice data, Private Lines and Internet. Their operation is 
global and they have facilities in various developing countries of Asia and 
Latin America. Their board of director, listed on the web site is indeed of 
some diversity and is composed of people with big political clout.

Let's not be blinded by the fact that Joe Kennedy, Marvin Rosen are part of 
the Board of Director of Fusion, as stated in the article of the WSJ, but 
let's also notice the fact that Thomas Mc Larty was appointed by President 
Bush to the National Petroleum Council and the National Council on 
Environmental Quality and that John Sununu (who served former President 
Bush) is the chairman of the advisory board at Fusion Telecom International. 
I would refer to that as a good mix of democrats and republicans. 
(Capitalism at its best).

For these of you that are not aware of some development in Telecommunication 
here in the USA, please be aware that the new chairman of the FCC, the 
decision maker on Telecom matters in the USA, is nothing else but the son of 
Collin Powell the new secretary of state of the new Bush administration. As 
one can see, the power stays with the power. (What else is new?)

The other aspect to take into consideration is the fact Fusion as an 
International Carrier has the right to pursue any new venture with 
administrations and need not to divulge the term and agreement that they 
have with a particular correspondent. They also have the right to negotiate 
telephone rates that are beneficial to them, as today this is the name of 
the game and Fusion just like any other IXC's can enter into the reseller 
game and compete financially with any other carrier or reseller. 
Understanding the Telecom game today is part of strategy of any capitalistic 
venture and Fusion is nothing else than a player trying to chew part of the 
pie. As far as carrying traffic for Teleco at a low rate, well this is what 
the game is all about. In today's environment where the telephone calling 
card business represents millions of dollars, one can state that the price 
of calls is driven by the rate that is applied between let's say Teleco and 
other companies such as Fusion, ATT, MCI, Sprint etc. It is also important 
to understand what the trends are in the market place. With second level and 
third level of carrier and resellers emerging at the rate of dozens per 
month and with the infusion of VOip (Voice over the Internet) Competition 
today is at its paroxysm and players to stay competitive must cut all type 
of deals to survive the market place. I only hope that Teleco had understood 
that gave some 5 years ago or so as this would have increase their 
survivability factor. As far as releasing the content of any deals with 
Teleco, this has never been a practice, as deals have always existed in that 
industry and in the past there were deals with ATT, MCI etc. I also believe 
that the fact that Fusion is now a player on the Haitian theater brings some 
leverage as far as Comcel and Haitel are concerned. They could play a 
strategical role when and if Teleco is privatized and bring about balance on 
the Haitian market place. Let's not forget today that Haitel has its own 
earth stations, its own International switch, its own customer base and its 
own domestic network: a balance at the Fusion level can only be a positive 
note in Haiti when full understanding of the political scene and players is 
not obviously clear to everyone.

In conclusion, I see this article on Fusion as a rejection of President 
Clinton policy and a stab in the back for President Aristide. I strongly 
believe that the fact that the article was published on the WSJ gave it 
tremendous weight from a reader's audience stand point.  I also strongly 
believe that lots of facts are totally incorrect and the entire truth was 
not provided. It is clear that the average reader will be misled by the 
article but anyone who understand and knows the ABC of the Telecom industry 
will refute some of the arguments presented by the writer. If the objective 
is to discredit individual and heads of states, the writer was successful in 
doing so however if the article was supposed to shed light of what is going 
on in Haiti, it failed to do so.  Issue that should be addressed by the 
authority should be issues such as the operation of Comcel, Haitel in an 
environment that was never privatized neither deregulated, issues pertaining 
to the fact the Teleco's cabins have been " given " to elected officials 
should really be questions from both a legal and ethical standpoint, issues 
that the Haitian community here in the US is been ripped off by the 
Telephone Calling card companies that " steal " some 50-60% of the users' 
money. These are issues that I encourage people to address if indeed they 
have a fond interest in helping the Haitian people.

A strong reference manual for those who want to educate themselves on 
Telecommunications is to read the Acts of Telecom 1997, which touch on some 
of these points.

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