The lesson that all Telco's must learn from the implosion of 2001 is that fiber is simply a commodity. The differentiator between those that survive and those that become extinct will be the ability to understand the client's vertical business. That does not mean getting into that business as Qwest did. It simply means understanding the client's business; bringing partners together that compliment your services, and then assist in managing those applications across the Telco's network. That brings value to your customer.
Imagine a Telco that can assist a customer in selecting applications that will run on the network while improving the customers business. Is this any different than what Delta does in providing vacation packages with hotels and car rentals? Would Delta in the mid-90's have been successful if it simply marketed itself as having a really fast 767? Nope? So does American Airlines and everyone else.
Broadwing has a very nice network but, it needs to understand vertical markets and the customer's pain. That does not cost money. It simply requires education, and the ability to forge the proper partnerships.
Learn, partner, manage.... and watch your bandwidth usage grow. (Along with Wall Street's respect.)
I think everyone knows I'm a bear on Qwest and Broadwing but I've always had a soft spot for them as well. Despite the blundering management of Nacchio at Qwest and Ellenberger at Broadwing, both had the forsight to realize that the broadband portions would need a stabel cash cow ILEC to survive. As it is, the networks can be leveraged to improve the local network calls and of course for data transmission acrosss the country. That being said, I still have doubt as to how they will make it with so much debt and so little cash. I would like to think that an RBOC would take out Broadwing but what about regulations and Sherman Anti-Trust junk? Verizon would be ruled out but Bell South could probably squeak by. BUT will they make a move or will they wait till Broadwing becomes cash flow positive and things pick up a bit. Who knows, maybe Qwest and Broadwing will merge and form a super network and have two ILEC's(Cincinatti Bell and US West). Not very likely but they might be able to squeeze out some synergies from a combination. A much more likely scenario is Alltel buying CBT. The younger Ford is apparently very aggressive, going after Centurytel and now settling for Centurytel wireless operations and of course buying lots of access lines earlier from Verizon.