last mile, regulatory incentives, etc (was: att fiber, et al)

'Luke S. Crawford' lsc at
Sat Mar 24 20:46:58 CDT 2012

On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 02:42:36PM -0500, Frank Bulk wrote:
> I've been many times where you were, frustrated that I didn't know the dark
> fiber options for a potential opportunity, but you have to remind yourself
> don't have a *right* to know where *private* fiber is.  It's not just the
> physical property, the lack of documentation is a competitive advantage.

Considering that nearly all of this fiber runs over public right of 
ways granted by the government (and sometimes through the use of 
force by the government) it's not really private in the sense 
that it would be if you bury fiber on land you own, or on land owned 
by private individuals that have given you the right to run fiber 
over or through the land through some voluntary exchange of value.  
The public right of ways are created by the government as a public 
good, and as such, I think the people have a right to know what 
goes on in them.

(Actually, I was talking to a far more experienced friend the other day, 
and he says that I should be able to contact the PUC and get exactly 
this data, though often this, too, is somewhat difficult, so when 
I re-start this project in a few months, that's the direction I 
am going to attack first.) 

Legal issues aside, treating a lack of documentation as a competitive
advantage makes any transaction vastly less efficient when you consider
both parties.  I don't do business that way, and when I have a choice? 
I don't do business with companies that do.  Yes, it is legal, and 
I am not suggesting that should change.  But it's still an asshole move 
that (from a perspective that considers both parties) destroys value.

I talked to the silicon valley power people (the operators of the Santa 
Clara municipal fiber network) and they gave me a cost per mile
and a very detailed map (down to what side of the street the fiber
is on) - they wouldn't let me have a copy of the map that actually
documented the 'pull boxes', but still, it was enough information
that I could look at a building and tell pretty quickly if I was
wasting their time or not by getting a quote.  

Talking to anyone else?  no maps (or ridiculously vague maps) 
and no cost per mile.  I have to pick two endpoints and ask how much.

In my case, the endpoints depend almost entirely on how much it costs,
this means I waste a whole lot of salesperson time, and my own time.
It's a vastly less efficient way to do business.   

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