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

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Thu Jan 31 05:12:31 UTC 2013

On Jan 30, 2013, at 5:11 PM, Jay Ashworth <jra at baylink.com> wrote:

> [ One of a batch of replies to today's traffic; I was busy yanking a
> 750GB drive out of the grave all day. --jra ]
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Owen DeLong" <owen at delong.com>
> [ me: ]
>>> 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?
>> It doesn't actually matter. You don't necessarily need to be the only
>> wholesale
>> offering, you just need to be open to all service providers. This
>> means that
>> if Road Runner wants to pay for their own infrastructure instead of
>> using yours,
>> then that will increase their costs and likely make it harder for them
>> to compete
>> with ISPs (and other services) that choose to use your infrastructure.
> It does actually matter, Owen, for the specific build I'm looking at,
> since *Road Runner already has the city built*; they can do GHz CATV 
> with all the toys, and at least 25/5 cable modem, if not 50/15.
You don't think some small scrappy provider using muni fiber with good
customer service couldn't come in and start collecting customers from
Road Runner? I bet they could.

Having muni fiber with an open access policy makes it pretty easy to
stand up a local ISP without a lot of up-front investment. Having a
single incumbent doesn't strike me as being particularly dangerous to
the practicality of muni fiber.

> That's pretty competitive, and already includes triple play.

Competitive by today's pathetic american standards, sure. You wouldn't
be able to find a single taker in SE, KR, or many other parts of the
developed world.

> What sort of money a build needs to make is of course largely a question 
> of how good a sales job you did to your city commission, but I shouldn't
> think a small, largely residential, community is gonna make it on *just*
> businesses and geeks.

No, but most such communities, given a choice, the incumbent wouldn't
have too much difficulty losing customers to a competitor.


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