Muni Fiber

Ray Soucy rps at
Tue Mar 27 09:57:51 CDT 2012

"Politically and legally are another matter" being key ;-)

It was a long hard fight even in Maine to get a dark fiber utility (over a
year of going before the legislature).  The ILEC lobbyists are very
influential and want to maintain the status quo at all costs.

A lot of the examples you listed are pilot projects that providers do
mostly for PR purposes so they can say "we provide FTTH" with a "* in
select areas" footnote.  They rarely see any large scale adoption and are
usually operated at a loss.

I think the key problem is that building out fiber doesn't make business
sense if each provider in an area has to build out identical infrastructure
and doesn't have the safety of a monopoly.  As mentioned, providers are
also concerned with the time it will take to realize ROI.  The result is
that we need to subsidize this infrastructure if we want it, but we end up
with no competition and poor service if the service provider is the one
getting those subsidies.  Aside from very urban areas where the density can
support the investment, the only solution becomes to create an open access
public utility to maintain the fiber plant, cans, huts, etc. and prohibit
them from offering any lit services over that fiber.

As for rural areas not needing broadband; I think it's a matter of
national interest that everyone has access to broadband.  Just like power.
 When we make an effort to lift everyone up, we all do better.

The Internet, like the Interstate highway system, is a time machine.  It
shortens distances between people and makes us more productive.  Even
better, it allows businesses to locate anywhere.

On Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM, Miles Fidelman <mfidelman at
> wrote:

> Ray Soucy wrote:
>> If people got serious about FTTH, I think a _very_ optimistic timeline
>> would be something like:
> Not optimistic at all, technically or operationally.  Politically and
> legally are another matter:
>> 2015 - First communities coming online, 100M to the home (probably Gigabit
>> line rate, but throttled).
> There's been quite a lot of FTTH for quite a few years now.  In addition
> to the Verizon FIOS stuff - up to 135mbps down/ 35mbps up available where I
> am (though I've been quite happy with lower speeds).
> Municipal electric utilities have been deploying fiber right and left.
>  Probably 200 systems operational.  The two that come to mind immediately
> are:
> Chattanooga, TN - GigE FTTH Today - -
> Grant County PUD (public utility district), OR has had the fiber in for a
> few years, selling wholesale - not sure what specific retail services are
> available
> There'd probably be a lot more available if the big telcos and cable
> companies weren't doing everything they can to block municipal bids.
> --
> In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
> In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

Ray Soucy

Epic Communications Specialist

Phone: +1 (207) 561-3526

Networkmaine, a Unit of the University of Maine System

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