OPASTCO chairman just dogs it

Roger Nishi, the new chairman of the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies, made a memorable entrance during the trade group's annual conference in Anchorage, AK, this week--dressed as an Inuit and riding on a sled pulled by two sled dogs.

But, Nishi, who also is vice president of industry relations for Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom in Vermont, quickly did away with any notions that he'll only be doggin' it as OPASTCO's new leader. He suggested in his opening address that the group needs to be more active on behalf of its rural telco constituents, and will continue to fight against proposed Universal Service Fund changes now before the Federal Communications Commission.

Still the fight against USF reform may be a futile one. Many small telcos and wireless service providers do need USF money in order to keep from passing significant costs to their customers, but it doesn't help that the process of gaining USF credentials and receiving money is broadly viewed as lacking stringency. Like a presidential election in which the popular vote doesn't necessarily decide the winner, small telcos may vastly out-number larger ones, but the big boys and their lobbyists still have the clout and the FCC's ear on this one.

For more about Nishi's OPASTCO appearance:
- read this story from Telephony

Also: Here's a Q&A with Nishi in Telephony's supplement The Independent