The growth of municipal broadband networks
joly at punkcast.com
Sat Mar 26 16:07:11 CDT 2011
Again excellent points. And I agree, in the current UK model there appears
very little opportunity for independent ISPs to offer any significantly
improved service over the incumbent's own, and thereby grab market share.
It's all a matter of what else one can package with it - effectively the
separation principle anyway.
> Creating the conditions for network competition is a hard problem with no
Where there's a will there's a way. The big question, to some extent is, is
there the will?
One doesn't miss one's water etc. I was cheered to see in the recent
Canadian usage pricing fracas, Marc Garneau handing out buttons saying "My
Internet Shouldn't Suck", and also to see Susan Crawford urging students
to take to the streets over the issue  before it's too late. But it's
going to take the equivalent of 10 Tahrir Squares to overcome the incumbent
clout and establishment inertia.
Meanwhile we are seeing widening pre-emptive strikes like N. Carolina. the
incumbents ride roughshod over everyone stating words to the effect - if we
can't gouge we won't build..
There surely still have to be answers, however tough - and some kind of
separation would seem to be an inescapable component.
I am no techie, but alternatively I imagine what could be practically
discussed is how much new technologies like cheap plastic fiber driving
little wi-fi chips, mesh etc, could give those communities that haven't
already been legislated out of the game an opportunity to economically and
successfully build their own connectivity. 
 http://isoc-ny.org/p2/?p=1930 <http://isoc-ny.org/p2/?p=1930>
 I am in the process of organizing a panel to discuss same at the INET NY
on Jun 14, expressions of interest welcome
offlist<joly at punkcast.com?subject=INET-NY>
On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 4:28 PM, Richard Bennett <richard at bennett.com>wrote:
> I think the motive for the traditional separation actually was completely
> different from the one for new separation. Silos had the effect of limiting
> competition for specific services, while the avowed goal of functional
> separation mandates is to increase competition.
> Opportunities for service competition between the telegraph and telephone
> networks were limited by technology in the first instance - you couldn't
> carry phone calls over the telegraph network anyway because it was a low
> bandwidth, steel wire system with telegraph office - to telegraph office
> topology - but you could carry telegrams over the phone network, but only if
> permitted by law.
> In a sense, ARPANET was telegraph network 2.0, and even used the same
> terminals initially. Paper tape-to-tape transfers became ftp, the telegram
> became email, and kids running paper messages around the office became
> routers switching packets.
> The layer 0 model has some merit, but has issues. In areas nobody wants to
> provide ISP services, and there is still a tendency toward market
> consolidation due to economies of scale in the service space.
> Facilities-based competition remains the most viable model in most places,
> as we're seeing in the UK where market structure resembles the US more than
> most want to admit: Their two biggest ISPs are BT and Virgin, the owners of
> the wire, and they have less fiber than we have in the US.
> Creating the conditions for network competition is a hard problem with no
> easy answers.
> On 3/25/2011 11:48 PM, Joly MacFie wrote:
> I take your point, the separation was of a different order. But a
> separation, nonetheless. The motive is not so much different.
> I think we can all accept that "traditional telephone regulation" is
> rapidly losing its grip as the beast morphs. Now that applications outnumber
> networks new problems require new solutions.
> I've heard Allied Fiber's Hunter Newby argue convincingly that really
> it's about separating Level 0 - the real estate, the wires and the head end
> premises - from everything else, and facilitating sufficient open access to
> guarantee healthy competition in services.
> And yes, where there's a monopoly there will have to some price
> regulation. At least that's traditional.
> As we've seen in the UK, while it's not so much a stretch to impose even
> higher level unbundling on the telcos, when it comes to the cable industry
> it's going to be a very painful pulling of teeth.
> On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 2:01 AM, Richard Bennett <richard at bennett.com>wrote:
>> The principle that kept telegraph and telephone apart wasn't a functional
>> layering concept, it was a "technology silos" concept under which all
>> communication networks were assumed to be indistinguishable from their one
>> and only one application. If you read the Communications Act of 1934, you'll
>> see this idea embodied in the titles of the act, each of which describes
>> both a network and an application, as we understand the terms today. Wu
>> wants to make law out of the OSI model, a very different enterprise than
>> traditional telecom regulation.
>> On 3/25/2011 10:27 PM, Joly MacFie wrote:
>>> aka the "separation principle" ( Tim Wu - the Master Switch)
>>> What surprised me is that when I put his point to Richard R.John at the
>>> Columbia Big media event back in Nov
>>> <http://isoc-ny.org/p2/?p=1563> - John totally agreed with it, citing
>>> precedent of the telegraph companies being locked out of the telephone
>>> business back in the day.
>>> On Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 10:52 PM, George Bonser<gbonser at seven.com>
>>> It is only in very recent times that we have been able to overlay
>>>>> Internet on both cable and television, and to have television
>>>>> competition via satellite.
>>>> In "the old days" the phone company didn't provide "content". You
>>>> called someone and the people at each end provided the content or the
>>>> data going over the network. The phone company simply provided the
>>>> network. I still believe the biggest mistake we made was breaking up
>>>> the Bell System. We should have let them be, regulated the crap out of
>>>> them, and then said "no, you can't get into the business of providing
>>>> content". They system should have been left as a regulated public
>>>> To that end, I think the US would be much better off with fiber to the
>>>>> home on a single distribution infrastructure. That could be owned and
>>>>> operated by the municipality (like the water system) or owned and
>>>>> operated by a corporation granted an exclusive right to service an
>>>>> (think telephone, at least pre CLEC).
>>>> Yup, bring back "The Bell System".
>>>> Where you immediately run into a snag is the next layer up. Should
>>>>> government provide IP services, if the fiber is government owned?
>>>>> Should private companies be required to offer competitors access to
>>>>> provide IP services if the fiber is privately owned?
>>>> I would say they provide network access only, not content. They would
>>>> be kept out of providing content and kept in the business of reliably
>>>> connecting content to consumer. That would be their focus.
>>>> Having looked around the world I personally believe most communities
>>>>> would be best served if the government provided layer-1 distribution,
>>>>> possibly with some layer 2 switching, but then allowed any commercial
>>>>> entity to come in and offer layer 3 services.
>>>> I don't. What happens when the "government" then decides what content
>>>> is and is not allowed to go over their network? If one had a site that
>>>> provided a view that the government didn't like, would they cut it off?
>>>> I want the government very strictly limited in what they can and cannot
>>>> do and I want them to have to go to an outside entity for things like
>>>> lawful intercept because it is another check on their power. A private
>>>> entity might insist that there is a proper warrant or subpoena while the
>>>> government might simply decide to snoop first, get the paperwork later.
>>>> Keeping the network at arm's length from the government helps to make
>>>> sure there is another entity in the loop.
>>>> For simplicity of
>>>>> argument I like people to envision the local government fiber agency
>>>>> (like your water authority) dropping off a 1 port fiber 4 port copper
>>>>> switch in your basement.
>>>> Big difference. Water is not a good analogy. The "content" in that
>>>> case is from a central source and everyone gets the same thing. With
>>>> the network, you have people communicating back and forth and much of
>>>> that communications is private or expected to be private (say, a phone
>>>> call or a secure financial transaction). If a private entity screws up,
>>>> it is much easier to fine them or fire the person responsible than it is
>>>> to punish a government department or fire a government worker. Besides,
>>>> we really don't need yet more people on the government payroll.
>>>> Though I do agree that it is a natural monopoly. It should be managed
>>>> by a regulated utility that is explicitly prohibited from providing the
>>>> content, only provide access through the network.
>> Richard Bennett
> Joly MacFie 218 565 9365 Skype:punkcast
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> Richard Bennett
Joly MacFie 218 565 9365 Skype:punkcast
WWWhatsup NYC - http://wwwhatsup.com
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