Trump, the rest of the election, and optical communications

Here are a few initial thoughts regarding how this week’s election results might affect optical communications, and communications in general. Usual caveats apply (i.e., what politicians say they will do while campaigning, what they actually try to do once elected, and what they succeed in doing are usually three different things).

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Here are a few initial thoughts regarding how this week's election results might affect optical communications, and communications in general. Usual caveats apply (i.e., what politicians say they will do while campaigning, what they actually try to do once elected, and what they succeed in doing are usually three different things).
  • While the focus has been on predicting what Donald Trump will do, it should be remembered that, beginning next year, the Republican Party will control both Congress and the White House. So the occupants of both buildings need to be watched when it comes to communications-related initiatives.
  • Meanwhile, it's not like the President-elect and the Republican Party leadership were on the same page at all times during the campaign.
  • That said, I think we can count on both branches of government seeking to roll back regulations generally. That will mean a less aggressive Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • And therefore the current FCC's pet projects will come under attack. Net Neutrality in particular will become a target for reversal.
  • Support for municipal broadband efforts won't be as strong, either. Count on renewed efforts at the state level (at least) to put additional limitations in place.
  • Because Trump made international trade agreements such a point of concern during the campaign, we'll have to watch the flow of communications technology between the U.S. and China closely. For example, ZTE better get its issues with the Department of Commerce straightened out quickly.
  • Meanwhile, Huawei and ZTE will continue to receive frosty treatment.
  • The continued offshoring of optical communications systems manufacturing will be an interesting topic to watch. If you believe his campaign rhetoric, Trump would discourage growth in such practices. The Republican Congress likely won't share his concerns to the same degree, if at all.
  • Trump said he planned to fight the AT&T/Time Warner merger and perhaps attempt to break up the Comcast/NBC Universal acquisition. I think the latter will remain in place. But the former is in for a rocky time, which likely will discourage similar transactions – at least until the fate of the proposed AT&T/Time Warner tie up is determined.
  • Big business generally likes Republican administrations. However, firms will be cautious about increasing the size or accelerating the timing of major capital investments (such as those required for network rollouts or upgrades) until they get a read on what President Trump's policies will be.
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