Muni Fiber and Politics

Owen DeLong owen at
Fri Aug 1 14:44:29 UTC 2014

On Aug 1, 2014, at 12:08 AM, Mark Tinka <mark.tinka at> wrote:

> On Friday, August 01, 2014 08:54:07 AM mcfbbqroast . wrote:
>> This would be my humble suggestion:
>> - lines provider runs fibre pair from each home to co. By
>> default the lines provider installs a simple consumer
>> terminal, with gigabit Ethernet outputs and POTS.

The problem with this is it allows the lines provider to dictate
the technology to be used by all higher-layer service providers.

IMHO, this is undesirable, because it blocks innovation and
service differentiation on this basis.

Ideally, the lines provider is simply a lines provider and provides
a number of dark fiber pairs between the serving wire center (what
you called a CO) and each premise served by the SWC.

Termination at the customer end should be a box in which a customer
terminal can be installed and the fibers should all be terminated on
some standard form of patch panel (ST or LC probably preferred,
but others may be acceptable).

It would then be up to the service provider(s) to provide the terminals
and decide between customer self-install and truck-rolls for service

>> - lines provider provides a reasonably oversubscribed
>> service to soft hand over to ISPs (think 96 Gbps lines
>> to 2 10gbps ports). Perhaps upgrading so such a ratio
>> never becomes congested could be a requirement?

Putting the lines provider into this part of the equation preserves
many of the problems with the existing model.

>> -  lines provider also rents individual lines to ISPs
>> which they can use directly. Rent should be lower than
>> soft handover.

Now you’ve got competition operating at a disadvantage to the
incumbent lines provider, preserving this aspect of the problems
with the current system. IMHO, this should be the only service
the lines provider is allowed to sell. In that way, the lines provider
is not in competition with its wholesale customers.

If you want examples of how well the model you propose tends to
work, look no further than the incredible problematic nature of MCI’s
attempt to offer local phone service over Pacific Bell/SBC/AT&T

>> This way ISPs can easily offer services. POTS over VoIP
>> can be setup on installation of the terminal (so
>> handover to the ISP is seamless). Finally business and
>> residential services can also be provided over the fibre
>> directly (this will be attractive to ISPs with many
>> ports, to reduce costs, and premium/business ISPs to add
>> control).

This is also true of dark fiber pairs, with the added advantage
that the service providers can differentiate themselves on
chosen technology, can offer innovative services and can
leverage existing infrastructure to deploy newer technologies as
they develop.

>> - ideally the lines provider would aid in providing cheap
>> backhaul from the co (while still allowing 3rd party
>> users to bring fibre in).

I don’t think this is so ideal. Again, it creates an opportunity for
the lines provider to leverage their infrastructure in a way that it
can become a barrier to competition. This is, IMHO, the opposite
of good.

> Wholesale mode. Doable.
> Works best if the lines provider is not a service provider; 
> or regulation in your market ensures a service provider who 
> is also a lines provider is mandated to unbundle at 
> reasonable cost.

Even when mandated to unbundle at a reasonable cost, often
other games are played (trouble ticket for service billed by
lines provider resolved in a day, trouble ticket for service on
unbundled element resolved in 14 days, etc.).

IMHO, experience has taught us that the lines provider (or as I
prefer to call them, the Layer 1 infrastructure provider) must be
prohibited from playing at the higher layers.


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