Muni Fiber and Politics

Owen DeLong owen at
Sat Aug 2 17:24:02 UTC 2014

> 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.

Sure, a muni could offer that and be likely OK. As long as L1 services were kept a hard requirement. 

> 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)
> cost.

If the L1 provider has to have dark fiber to every prem, the cost model of PON is strictly within the SWC and not the outside plant. As such, those savings could be done by the competing access providers without requiring differentiation by the L1 provider.

> 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.

This would be served out if multiple SWCs anyway, so there would be some provider able to offer that most likely.  

> 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…

The problem I've seen with this is that the savings achieved by PON primarily come from aggregating fiber pairs at the edge. In order to have competition enabled L1, the fiber must go from prem all the way to SWC. 

So while I can't see a problem with allowing an L1 provider to also offer L2, usually when that happens, they don't offer L1. 

If both are offered, the majority of the L2 benefits disappear. 


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