Muni Fiber and Politics

William Herrin bill at
Tue Aug 5 18:26:41 UTC 2014

On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 1:56 PM, Eugeniu Patrascu <eugen at> wrote:
> So how is blowing microfibre in some tubes more expensive? You pay a one
> off installation fee and then a small monthly rate for the circuit (payable
> yearly).
> The really nice and geeky part is that you can actually choose how your
> fiber will run, so if you want diverse paths to a location you can achieve
> that with certainty.

Hi Eugeniu,

The word you're searching for is "microduct."

I'm a big fan of Microduct. There's even some wicked cool equipment
which will force the core out of in-place coax plant, converting it to
microduct suitable for a fiber installation. But here are some of the
places you may run in to trouble using it for a municipal fiber

1. 10 miles of fiber optic cable is expensive (from a consumer
perspective) even when you're able to float it through a series of
ducts instead of having to trench. Who covers the cost? If the service
provider amortizes it for the consumer (instead of the municipal
infrastructure provider) then you're right back to the consumer
lock-in that damages competition.

2. While microduct supports 12 or 24 fibers in a single duct, it does
not support adding or removing fibers from a duct. To install a
different quantity, you have to remove all the existing fiber and then
blow a completely new set of fibers. Obviously service provider A is
not motivated to install extra fibers that service provider B can
subsequently sell you service on. Only a bare infrastructure provider
would have that motivation.

3. Structure is good. It facilitates reuse. If you permit the fiber to
be run between arbitrary points you end up with the same cruft as an
office without structured cabling. Even if you use microduct,
future-proofing requires central cross-connect points where folks

4. I'm not sure how far you can float fiber down a microduct but I'm
pretty sure you don't do it miles at a stretch. So, if you build your
system with microduct and fiber-blown-later, you'll have a *lot* of
points where the ducts have to be joined.

Bill Herrin

William Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
Owner, Dirtside Systems ......... Web: <>
Can I solve your unusual networking challenges?

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