Muni Fiber and Politics

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at
Tue Jul 22 01:48:20 UTC 2014

Andrew Gallo wrote:
> On 7/21/2014 2:58 PM, Mikael Abrahamsson 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 
>>> simile.
>> 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.
> Agree 100%.  Layer-1 infrastructure is a high-cost, long term 
> investment with little 'value-add'  You don't see too many companies 
> clamoring to put in new water or sewer pipes.  Treat fiber the same way.
> The money is in content, which is why we're seeing ISP and media 
> consolidation.

One could argue that conduit is probably enough - it's digging up the 
streets that's the real expense (different story if everything is on 
poles, of course).

Personally, I generally argue that there are tremendous efficiencies if 
you provision at layer-2 -- how many college campuses or business parks 
that run redundant wires through the walls?

My favorite model is Grant County, WA - where the public utility 
district strung fiber everywhere.  They light the fiber at layer 2, but 
they only sell wholesale virtual nets.  They've got lots of competitive 
telephone, internet, and video providers riding the net.  Seems to work 
for them.  I believe they provisioned GigE 10 years ago.  (Note that 
these guys are serious players - they were running a network of 
hyrdo-electric dams, and power distribution, long before they got into 
telecom.  Now that's REAL operations. :-)

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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