Muni Fiber and Politics

Owen DeLong owen at
Fri Aug 1 15:30:08 UTC 2014

As I said, for an example of just how well such an environment works, one need look no further than what happened when MCI attempted to use Pacific Bell/SBC/AT&T unbundled copper pairs to provide local telephone service.

In reality, this turns out to be horrible for the customer, unpleasant at best for the competitive service provider, and one of the few areas where I’ve ever seen a traditional telco be truly innovative. Pacific Bell/SBC/AT&T found the most innovative ways to stall/finger-point/avoid responsibility that I have ever seen. Watching the tap-dance they did in front of the PUC at subsequent hearings where nobody seemed to have the sbupoena’d data among the 20+ witnesses that they presented was quite amusing to me. The ALJ was not so amused, but the fine imposed was barely a slap on the wrist and easily less than the revenue impact to the competitive access providers.

Believe me when I say that such a law is almost entirely unenforceable and not really worth the paper it is written on if the layer 1 provider is truly motivated to stifle competition which is dependent on their unbundled elements.

Canada is struggling with some similar pains under their competitive access cable markets.


On Aug 1, 2014, at 8:04 AM, Corey Touchet <corey.touchet at> wrote:

> Not really, the law can say  must provide standards compliant access for
> interconnections with a agreed upon base set of features it must support.
> Any provider that wants something extra can negotiate the reasonable costs
> of implementation.
> On 8/1/14, 8:44 AM, "Owen DeLong" <owen at> wrote:
>> 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
>> turn-up.
>>>> - 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 you¹ve 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 MCI¹s
>> attempt to offer local phone service over Pacific Bell/SBC/AT&T
>> circuits.
>>>> 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 don¹t 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.
>> Owen

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