Muni Fiber and Politics

Leo Bicknell bicknell at
Fri Aug 1 20:25:27 UTC 2014

On Aug 1, 2014, at 9:44 AM, Owen DeLong <owen at> wrote:

> 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
> circuits.


> 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 has some really good points here, but may be overstating his case
a smidge.

If a private company is the Layer 1 (“lines provider”) entity, there will
always be a temptation into moving up the stack, and up the value chain.
The issue in his first example is that the companies involved compete
for higher layer services.

Municipalities can be different.  It’s possible to write into law that
they can offer L1 and L2 services, but never anything higher.  There’s
also a built in disincentive to risk tax dollars more speculative, but
possibly more profitable ventures.

So while I agree with Owen that a dark fiber model is preferred, and
should be offered, I don’t have a problem with a municipal network also
offering Layer 2.  In fact, I see some potential wins, imagine a network
where you could chose to buy dark fiber access, or a channel on a GPON
system?  If the customer wants GE/10GE, you get dark fiber, and if they
want 50Mbps, you get a GPON channel for less (yes, that’s an assumption)

I can also see how some longer-distance links, imagine a link from 
home to office across 30-40 miles, might be cheaper to deliver as 100M
VLAN than raw dark fiber and having to buy long reach optics.

I can never see a case where letting them play at Layer 3 or above helps.
That’s bad news, stay away.  But I think some well crafted L2 services
could actually _expand_ consumer choice.  I mean running a dark fiber
GigE to supply voice only makes no sense, but a 10M channel on a GPON
serving a VoIP box may…

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at

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