Will wholesale-only muni actually bring the boys to your yard?

Art Plato aplato at coldwater.org
Wed Jan 30 14:37:24 UTC 2013

I am the administrator of a Municipally held ISP that has been providing services to our constituents for 15 years in a competitive environment with Charter. We aren't here to eliminate them, only to offer an alternative. When the Internet craze began back in the late 1990's they made it clear that they would never upgrade the plant to support Internet data in a town this size, until we started the discussion of Bonds. We provide a service that is reasonably priced with local support that is exceptional. We don't play big brother. Both myself and my Director honor peoples privacy. No information without a properly executed search warrant. Having said all that. We are pursuing the feasibility of the model you are discussing. My director believes that we would better serve our community by being the layer 1 or 2 provider rather than the service provider. While I agree in principle. The reality is, from my perspective is that the entities providing the services will fall back to the original position that prompted us to build in the first place. Provide a minimal service for the maximum price. There is currently no other provider in position in our area to provide a competitive service to Charter. Loosely translated, our constituents would lose. IMHO.

----- Original Message -----
From: "William Herrin" <bill at herrin.us>
To: "Jay Ashworth" <jra at baylink.com>
Cc: "NANOG" <nanog at nanog.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:24:04 AM
Subject: Re: Will wholesale-only muni actually bring the boys to your yard?

On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 7:39 PM, Jay Ashworth <jra at baylink.com> wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Jean-Francois Mezei" <jfmezei_nanog at vaxination.ca>
>> It is in fact important for a government (municipal, state/privince or
>> federal) to stay at a last mile layer 2 service with no retail
>> offering. Wholesale only.
>> Not only is the last mile competitively neutral because it is not
>> involved in retail, but it them invites competition by allowing many
>> service providers to provide retail services over the last mile
>> network.

As long as they support open peering they can probably operate at
layer 3 without harm. Tough to pitch a muni on spending tax revenue
for something that's not a complete product usable directly by the

> It rings true to me, in general, and I would go that way... but there is
> a sting in that tail: Can I reasonably expect that Road Runner will in fact
> be technically equipped and inclined to meet me to get my residents as
> subscribers?  Especially if they're already built HFC in much to all of
> my municipality?

Not Road Runner, no. What you've done, if you've done it right, is
returned being an ISP to an ease-of-entry business like it was back in
the dialup days. That's where *small* business plays, offering
customized services where small amounts of high-margin money can be
had meeting needs that a high-volume commodity player can't handle.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com  bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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