last mile capacity [was Re: QOS or more bandwidth]

Sean M. Doran smd at
Tue May 29 15:38:57 UTC 2001

Irwin Lazar <ILazar at> writes

| In our
| area, we're also seeing a lot of pushback against the continued tearing up
| of streets to lay additional fiber, so QoS may become the only option to
| meet required service levels.

The correct way of solving this was demonstrated in Stockholm
and duplicated in a handful of Canadian cities.   In the first case,
the City of Stockholm "nationalized" the laying down of dark fibre
in the city, and formed an agency ( which 
provides unlit/unrepeated/unamplified dark fibre between any pair
of addresses in Stockholm at cost as a public utility.

Thus, instead of a dozen or so CLEC-style companies ripping
up the same set of streets, Stokab does it approximately once,
and provides fibre pairs as necessary to these companies,
and any other buyers who come along (lots of corporate buyers
use Stokab instead of the traditional telcos or CLECs).

This approach has been an unqualified success for Stockholm,
which thanks in large part to Stokab's establishment in 1994,
has been *the* intersting place to do Internet stuff through most of
the years since then, despite the city's geographical remoteness
and small population.

The major drawback of existing dark fibre utility agencies is
their management's tendency to try to be innovative - Stokab for 
example sometimes appears (misguidedly!) to want to move up the 
value chain into services their buyers are offering, and into new 
experimental things involving media other than fibre (e.g. radio).  
If a single "nationalized" supplier of dark fibre slows down or
becomes more expensive as a result of this, it will cease
to be a market-enabling success, and start to look like the
sort of constraint on the last-mile market that former PTTs
are imposing on their captive market.  (And then yeah you're
back to digging up more streets or using QoS or whatever, sigh.)

So, a good idea is to press your local government into duplicating
Stokab (it really IS good for you), but stop your local equivalent
from ever hiring someone with a bell-shaped-head or technology fetish.


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