The growth of municipal broadband networks

Owen DeLong owen at
Sun Mar 27 01:05:25 CDT 2011

On Mar 25, 2011, at 7:02 PM, Adrian Chadd wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 25, 2011, Leo Bicknell wrote:
>> 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.  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.  On that device they can create a
>> layer 2 VLAN/VPN/Tunnel from any of the copper ports to any provider
>> in the town CO.  You could buy video from one, voice from one, and
>> internet from another, on three different ports.  You could buy
>> everything from one provider.
> And the natural question is - how will this differ from the way the
> "government" services like water, power and transportation have
> been run, privatised-but-not-quite, etc?
> Adrian

Water and Electricity are held to relatively strict standards and basically
regardless of the source in the US, water is pretty much water and
electricity is 110v/single phase or 220v/2 hots + neutral 60hz. (yes
I'm aware of the variety of other 60Hz industrial power configurations,
but, we're talking residential here).

OTOH, the services offered by various L2 and L3 providers for internet
connectivity vary widely in a number of significant ways.

I personally would like to see LMIs (Last Mile Infrastructures)
owned by the smallest applicable government entity (utility district,
municipality, or county, for example) and administered either by
said government entity or under contract to that entity on a cost-
recovery basis where any service provider can connect to any
customer and the per-customer cost of each type of connection
(UTP, Co-Ax, or SMF) would be uniform to all providers making
such connections.

This would be a serious game-changer in the residential market
because it would mean:

	1.	No more service provider monopolies anywhere. It would no
		longer be cost-prohibitive for any given provider to reach
		subscribers in remote areas and it would eliminate the need
		for monopoly/duopoly situations by having the LMI costs
		for a single LMI shared across all providers.

	2.	All providers get relatively equal footing for access to all

	3.	The presence of real and meaningful competition would
		put the consumer much more in the driver's seat for the
		features and services that they want.

As such, I'm sure that such a move would be vocally opposed by
the current owners of the LMI who enjoy leveraging it to extort
monopolistic pricing from substandard services.

I believe Australia is starting to do something like this. So far, what
I'm hearing is that consumers are loving it and Telstra is pouting.


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