Muni Fiber and Politics

Hugo Slabbert hugo at
Mon Jul 21 19:45:43 UTC 2014


A municipality nearby adopted this, and I personally like the model.

They built out their own fiber, largely for their own purposes to connect 
municipal buildings and (I would assume) consolidate their internet access as 
well as opposed to a bunch of discrete retail-type connections.  Since their 
laying conduit and fiber anyway, they just lay down a bigger bundle while 
they're down there; bonus points for piggy-backing on existing infrastructure 
projects that already dig up the road anyway.  The fiber is terminated in one 
of two city-run DCs based on geography, and any provider can get space there 
and pick up a pair or more to an on-net building.  Pricing is very reasonable 
($400/month per pair) and the colo and power are actually free provided you're 
actually paying for a pair.  There's a ring between the two facilities, so you 
basically just have to work out your transport to one or both facilities, drop 
in a switch or two and you're off.

New multi-tenant construction gets built out by default.  If a building is not 
yet on-net, submit it to the department running the dark net; if it's a 
feasible build, the city actually foots the bill for the build-out and you 
still just pay your $400/month/pair.

They intentionally structured it to only do L1; they don't want to get into the 
business of running L2 or L3 services and explicitly do not want to compete 
with private providers.  Infrastructure and utilities are their game, and the 
city is doing it as a play to encourage competition and draw in more 
connectivity options for residents and businesses.  The figures I heard was 
their their break-even is/was at the 3-year mark.  Even if they don't bring in 
massive revenue from providers participating, their still saving money compared 
to their previous connectivity solutions.

- level playing field & greater competition: L1 is available to anyone at a 
  reasonable cost, so small players can participate and differentiate on 
anything > L1
- providers are welcome to participate or not: you want to run your own fiber?  
  Sure, no problem: business as usual in that department
- city doesn't compete with private business

From what I gather it's targeted more at active Ethernet to multi-tenant 
residential or business locations rather than being a "pass every house to 
enable PON" setup, but what's not to love about this?


On Mon 2014-Jul-21 20:58:48 +0200, Mikael Abrahamsson <swmike at> wrote:
>On Mon, 21 Jul 2014, William Herrin wrote:
>>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 
>While I might not agree with the parts of your email you cut out, I 
>would definitely like to chime in on this part. Muni fiber should be 
>exactly that, muni *fiber*. Point to point fiber optic single mode 
>fiber cabling, aggregating thousands of households per location, 
>preferrably tens of thousands.
>It's hard to go wrong in this area, it either works or it doesn't, and 
>in these aggregation nodes people can compete with several different 
>technologies, they can use PON, they can use active ethernet, they can 
>provide corporate 10GE connections if they need to, they can run 
>hybrid/fiber coax, they can run point-to-point 1GE for residential. 
>Anything is possible and the infrastructure is likely to be as viable 
>in 30 years as it is day 1 after installation.
>Mikael Abrahamsson    email: swmike at
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