Muni Fiber and Politics

John Osmon josmon at
Tue Jul 22 04:39:53 UTC 2014

On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 05:36:13PM -0400, Jay Ashworth wrote:
> As I noted in a long thread last year, I think that providing noncompetitive
> L2 aggregation as well -- on the same type of terms -- is productive in
> reducing barriers to entry.

Qwest had a great DSL product that did just this.  They weren't entirely
noncompetitive about it, but there were lots of ISPs in rural parts of
the West that sold L3 access over it.  (One smart ISP upstart in Wyoming
even started tying together inter-LATA regions of DSL and built up a
hefty business that has always impressed me.)

When the second largest ILEC in New Mexico was contemplating rolling out
DSL, they would hold town meetings and let residents know that they'd
put in DSLAMS if they could get a minimum of 75 orders.  The owner of
the ISP I worked for went to each meeting and offered to pay for the 75
ports until the ILEC had enough orders.

We never had to pay.  Their L2 with our L3 was a winner.  And we weren't
the only ISP that benefited from the services.

The nail in the coffin for most of the rural ISPs I worked with was when
the ILECs decided they weren't content with the revenues from the L2
network.  They started charging less for L2+L3 services than L2 services
at wholesale rates.  You can't compete with that.

Dial-up sucked from a bandwidth perspective, but it sure was cool that
you could change your L3 provider by putting a new phone number into the
modem config.  Where the barriers to entry are low, it's a lot easier to
vote with your pocketbook.

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