Muni network ownership and the Fourth

Owen DeLong owen at
Wed Jan 30 21:03:29 UTC 2013

On Jan 30, 2013, at 7:29 AM, Leo Bicknell <bicknell at> wrote:

> In a message written on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 08:33:35AM -0600, Jason Baugher wrote:
>> There is much talk of how many fibers can fit in a duct, can be brought
>> into a colo space, etc... I haven't seen much mention of how much space the
>> termination in the colo would take, such as splice trays, bulkheads, etc...
>> Someone earlier mentioned being able to have millions of fibers coming
>> through a vault, which is true assuming they are just passing through the
>> vault. When you need to break into one of those 864-fiber cables, the room
>> for splice cases suddenly becomes a problem.
> Corning makes a pre-terminated breakout bay for the 864 cable
> nicknamed the "mamu".  It is in essence a 7' rack, which is about
> 90% SC patch panels and 10% splice trays.  The cable comes in and
> is fusion spliced to tails already pre-terminated in the rack.  I
> don't know if they now have an LC option, which should be more
> dense.  They are perhaps 1' deep as well, being just patch panels
> in a 2-post rack, so they take up much less space than a cabinet.

> To run some rough numbers, I live in a town with a population of
> 44,000 people, grouped into 10,368 "households".  It is the size
> that if the MMR were pretty much perfectly centered 10km optics
> should reach all corners of the town, but were it not centered more
> than one MMR would be needed.
> To put that in patch panel racks, 10,368 households * 6 fibers per
> house (3 pair) / 864 per rack = 72 racks of patch panels.  Using a
> relatively generous for 2-post patch panels 20sq feet per rack it
> would be 1,440 sq feet of colo space to house all of the patch
> panels to homes.
> Now, providers coming in would need a similar amount of fiber, so
> basically double that amount.  There would also need to be some
> room for growth.  Were I sizing a physical colo for this town I
> would build a 5,000 square foot space designed to take ~250 fiber
> racks.  That would handle today's needs (< 150 racks) and provide
> years of growth.

I think you underestimate the service provider side of this equation.

Let's say you get 10 competing ISPs in that town. Each of them is
probably going to want to bring in enough fiber to support ~60% of
the town population because, as has been previously pointed out, pulling
and terminating is expensive, fiber is cheap, so, you want to install
once and have enough to last "forever".

10*60% = 600% = an additional 8,640 square feet.

OTOH, if each provider brings in a router and has cross-connects pulled
in on demand to the MMR, instead of 44 racks per provider, you're looking
at a variable number of racks per provider reflecting their number of
customers in patch panels + a router or 2 (probably ≤1 rack)

> Note also that the room is 100% patch panels and fiber, no electronics.
> There would be no need for chillers and generators and similar
> equipment.  No need for raised floor, or a DC power plant.  The sole
> difficult part would be fiber patch management, a rather elaborate
> overhead tray system would be required.

Sure, but you're going to need a room (or several) with all of that stuff
within 1km of each of the MMRs under your proposed scenario, so…

>> The other thing I find interesting about this entire thread is the
>> assumption by most that a government entity would do a good job as a
>> layer-1 or -2 provider and would be more efficient than a private company.
>> Governments, including municipalities, are notorious for corruption, fraud,
>> waste - you name it. Even when government bids out projects to the private
>> sector these problems are seen.
> There is almost nothing to bid out here in my model.  Today when a
> new subdivision is built the builder contracts out all of the work
> to the telco/cable-co specifications.   That would continue to be
> the case with fiber.  The muni would contract out running the main
> trunk lines to each neighborhood, and the initial building of the
> MMR space.  Once that is done the ongoing effort is a man or two
> that can do patching and testing in the MMR, and occasionally
> contracting out repair work when fiber is cut.

Plus janitorial and mechanical maintenance of the MMR, etc.


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