Muni Fiber and Politics

Ray Soucy rps at
Mon Jul 21 19:30:49 UTC 2014


I'd go a step further and say that Dark Fiber as a Public Utility
(which is regulated to provide open access at published rates and
forbidden from providing its own lit service directly) is the only way

That said, I don't think it's a good idea to see the municipality
provide the fiber and Internet access.  There needs to be some
separation to promote an equal playing field.  That isn't to say the
town couldn't provide their own service within the framework of being
a customer of the utility, which would be helpful as a price-check and
anchor provider.

Just need to make sure it's setup to promote competition not kill it.

For rural areas where the population density is too low to deliver an
acceptable ROI for companies like Verizon or Comcast, I think
municipal dark fiber to the home is the only hope.

Let the ISPs focus on the cost and investment of the optics and
routers to drive up bandwidth instead of trying to absorb the cost of
a 20 year fiber plant in 3 years.

On a side note, this model actually makes it possible for a smaller
ISP to actually be viable again, which might not be a bad thing.

On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM, Blake Dunlap <ikiris at> wrote:
> My power is pretty much always on, my water is pretty much always on
> and safe, my sewer system works, etc etc...
> Why is layer 1 internet magically different from every other utility?
> -Blake
> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 1:38 PM, William Herrin <bill at> wrote:
>> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM, Jay Ashworth <jra at> wrote:
>>> Over the last decade, 19 states have made it illegal for municipalities
>>> to own fiber networks
>> Hi Jay,
>> Everything government does, it does badly. Without exception. There
>> are many things government does better than any private organization
>> is likely to sustain, but even those things it does slowly and at an
>> exorbitant price.
>> Muni fiber is a competition killer. You can't beat city hall; once
>> built it's not practical to compete, even with better service, so
>> residents are stuck with only the overpriced (either directly or via
>> taxes), usually underpowered and always one-size-fits-all network
>> access which results. As an ISP I watched something similar happen in
>> Altoona PA a decade and a half ago. It was a travesty.
>> The only exception I see to this would be if localities were
>> constrained to providing point to point and point to multipoint
>> communications infrastructure within the locality on a reasonable and
>> non-discriminatory basis. The competition that would foster on the
>> services side might outweigh the damage on the infrastructure side.
>> Like public roads facilitate efficient transportation and freight
>> despite the cost and potholes, though that's an imperfect simile.
>> Regards,
>> Bill Herrin
>> --
>> William Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
>> Owner, Dirtside Systems ......... Web: <>
>> Can I solve your unusual networking challenges?

Ray Patrick Soucy
Network Engineer
University of Maine System

T: 207-561-3526
F: 207-561-3531

MaineREN, Maine's Research and Education Network

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