Red Paint…Blue Paint

Ok, here's a joke that maybe only elementary aged children can appreciate.  "What is red, and smells like blue paint?" Spoiler alert…think for a minute then look to the end of the post for the answer.

Pretty lame! But there is a larger point to be made. 

Let's assume rural telecom is a Red Paintworld and all other businesses that have never operated under a rate of return regime live in a Blue Paint world.  Does rural telecom still believe in the Red Paint world?  With diminishing Red Paint rate of return opportunities resulting from the FCC's Broadband and ICC order, and with muscular Blue Paint competitors that have never operated in a Red Paint world, rural telecom providers will need to adapt to the emergingBlue Paint world, lest they wither or die. Blue Paint companies can only grow revenues and control or reduce costs to maintain or increase profits. I am not saying Red Paint companies are not interested in operating in the same manner, but the historical Red Paint financial incentives that relied on network investments to increase or maintain profits is under siege, both competitively and from a regulatory perspective. If this new operating environment is a permanent condition, then we're in a Blue Paint world.

As the joke suggests, while all paint is fundamentally the same, a tiny amount of pigment makes the difference.  Appearances matter and how we perceive our color determines how we behave in the world.  Rural telcos are migrating toward the Blue Paintworld. 

What is red, and smells like blue paint?  Red paint.

Written by Kevin Kutcher at 16:15

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