Muni Fiber and Politics

Ray Soucy rps at maine.edu
Tue Jul 22 21:07:46 UTC 2014


You're assuming that this would all be free for the ISP, I think.

The ISP would lease the fiber they use AND rack units for equipment
(with use justification to prevent squatting).  If someone wants to
tie up a rack unit for one connection that's their business, but there
would be a financial incentive to be efficient.  Since revenue is
generated for the location; if there is need for expanding capacity
then there would be a business interest in the utility responsible for
maintaining it to accommodate that.

If the power company needs a bigger substation, they don't stop
selling power.  It might take a few months, but the upgrade does
happen ... because there are both business and regulatory reasons to
do so.





On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 4:55 PM, Scott Helms <khelms at zcorum.com> wrote:
> Owen,
>
> This specific issue has nothing to do with splitters versus all the fiber in
> home runs.  If you buy a shelf that can support 16 ports of PON or 96 ports
> of Ethernet you will pay more per port than if you buy a shelf that supports
> 160 PON ports or 576 ports of Ethernet.  If every ISP has to buy their own
> layer 2 gear that's what happens.  If that gear has to all be hosted in a
> central meet point then that room will need much more power, space, and
> cooling.
>
> "Not really... You buy OLTs on a per N subscribers basis, not on a per N
> potential
> subscribers, so while you'd have possibly Y additional shelves per area
> served
> where Y = Number of ISPs competing for that area, I don't see that as a huge
> problem."
>
> There are scenarios where it doesn't matter, mainly where the number of ISPs
> is very low.  If we only have 4 service providers trying to offer services
> in city then the extra power and heat isn't that big of an issue and the
> wasted money in chassis and management cards is only in the 10s of thousands
> of dollars.  The problem is that you very quickly, as the city, run out of a
> location that has suitable space, cooling, and power.  Remember that each
> extra shelf has the same power supply and heat dissipation.
>
>
> "OTOH, if the municipality provides only L1 concentration (dragging L1
> facilities
> back to centralized locations where access providers can connect to large
> numbers of customers), then access providers have to compete to deliver
> what consumers actually want. They can't ignore the need for newer L2
> technologies because their competitor(s) will leap frog them and take away
> their customers. This is what we, as consumers, want, isn't it?"
>
> No, what we as consumers want is inexpensive and reliable bandwidth.  How
> that happens very few consumers actually care about.  What they do care
> about is the city saying we have to raise $300,000 extra dollars in bond
> money to build a new facility to house the ISPs who might want to collocate
> with us.
>
>
>
> Scott Helms
> Vice President of Technology
> ZCorum
> (678) 507-5000
> --------------------------------
> http://twitter.com/kscotthelms
> --------------------------------
>
>
> On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 4:05 PM, Owen DeLong <owen at delong.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>> On Jul 22, 2014, at 11:26 , Scott Helms <khelms at zcorum.com> wrote:
>>
>> > One of the main problems with trying to draw the line at layer 1 is that
>> > its extremely inefficient in terms of the gear.  Now, this is in large
>> > part
>>
>> It's not, actually.
>>
>> The same GPON gear can be centrally located and has the same loss
>> characteristics as it would if you put the splitters farther out.
>>
>> > a function of how gear is built and if a significant number of locales
>> > went
>> > in this direction we _might_ see changes, but today each ISP would have
>> > to
>> > purchase their own OLTs and that leads to many more shelves than the
>> > total
>> > number of line cards would otherwise dictate.  There are certainly many
>>
>> Not really... You buy OLTs on a per N subscribers basis, not on a per N
>> potential
>> subscribers, so while you'd have possibly Y additional shelves per area
>> served
>> where Y = Number of ISPs competing for that area, I don't see that as a
>> huge
>> problem.
>>
>> > other issues, some of which have been discussed on this list before, but
>> > I've done open access networks for several cities and _today_ the
>> > cleanest
>> > situations by far (that I've seen) had the city handling layer 1 and 2
>> > with
>> > the layer 2 hand off being Ethernet regardless of the access technology
>> > used.
>>
>> The problem with this approach is that it is great today, but it's a
>> recipe for
>> exactly the kinds of criticisms that were leveled against Ashland in
>> earlier
>> comments in this thread... The aging L2 setup will not be upgraded nearly
>> as quickly as it should because there's no competitive pressure for that
>> to happen.
>>
>> OTOH, if the municipality provides only L1 concentration (dragging L1
>> facilities
>> back to centralized locations where access providers can connect to large
>> numbers of customers), then access providers have to compete to deliver
>> what consumers actually want. They can't ignore the need for newer L2
>> technologies because their competitor(s) will leap frog them and take away
>> their customers. This is what we, as consumers, want, isn't it?
>>
>> Owen
>>
>> >
>> >
>> > Scott Helms
>> > Vice President of Technology
>> > ZCorum
>> > (678) 507-5000
>> > --------------------------------
>> > http://twitter.com/kscotthelms
>> > --------------------------------
>> >
>> >
>> > On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 2:13 PM, Ray Soucy <rps at maine.edu> wrote:
>> >
>> >> IMHO the way to go here is to have the physical fiber plant separate.
>> >>
>> >> FTTH is a big investment.  Easy for a municipality to absorb, but not
>> >> attractive for a commercial ISP to do.  A business will want to
>> >> realize an ROI much faster than the life of the fiber plant, and will
>> >> need assurance of having a monopoly and dense deployment to achieve
>> >> that.  None of those conditions apply in the majority of the US, so
>> >> we're stuck with really old infrastructure delivering really slow
>> >> service.
>> >>
>> >> Municipal FTTH needs to be a regulated public utility (ideally at a
>> >> state or regional level).  It should have an open access policy at
>> >> published rates and be forbidden from offering lit service on the
>> >> fiber (conflict of interest).  This covers the fiber box in the house
>> >> to the communications hut to patch in equipment.
>> >>
>> >> Think of it like the power company and the separation between
>> >> generation and transmission.
>> >>
>> >> That's Step #1.
>> >>
>> >> Step #2 is finding an ISP to make use of the fiber.
>> >>
>> >> Having a single municipal ISP is not really what I think is needed.
>> >>
>> >> Having the infrastructure in place to eliminate the huge investment
>> >> needed for an ISP to service a community is.  Hopefully, enough people
>> >> jump at the idea and offer service over the fiber, but if they don't,
>> >> you need to get creative.
>> >>
>> >> The important thing is that the fiber stays open.  I'm not a fan of
>> >> having a town or city be an ISP because I know how the budgets work.
>> >> I trust a town to make sure my fiber is passing light; I don't trust
>> >> it to make sure I have the latest and greatest equipment to light the
>> >> fiber, or bandwidth from the best sources.  I certainly don't trust
>> >> the town to allow competition if it's providing its own service.
>> >>
>> >> This is were the line really needs to be drawn IMHO.  Municipal FTTH
>> >> is about layer 1, not layer 2 or layer 3.
>> >>
>> >> That said, there are communities where just having the fiber plant
>> >> won't be enough.  In these situations, the municipality can do things
>> >> like create an incentive program to guarantee a minimum income for an
>> >> ISP to reach the community which get's trimmed back as the ISP gains
>> >> subscribers.
>> >>
>> >> I don't think a public option is bad on the ISP side of things; as
>> >> long as the fiber is open and people can choose which ISP they want.
>> >> The public option might be necessary for very rural communities that
>> >> can't get service elsewhere or to simply serve as a price-check, but
>> >> most of us here know that a small community likely won't be able to
>> >> find the staff to run its own ISP, either.
>> >>
>> >> TL;DR Municipal FTTH should be about fixing the infrastructure issues
>> >> and promoting innovation and competition, not creating a
>> >> government-run ISP to oust anyone from the market.
>> >>
>> >> Think about it: If you're an ISP, and you can lease fiber and
>> >> equipment space (proper hut, secured, with backup power and cooling
>> >> etc) for a subsidized rate; for cheaper than anything you could afford
>> >> to build out; how much arm twisting would it take for you to invest in
>> >> installing a switch or two to deliver service?  If you're a smaller
>> >> ISP, you were likely already doing this in working with telephone
>> >> companies in the past (until they started trying to oust you).
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 11:27 AM, Aaron <aaron at wholesaleinternet.net>
>> >> wrote:
>> >>> So let me throw out a purely hypothetical scenario to the collective:
>> >>>
>> >>> What do you think the consequences to a municipality would be if they
>> >> laid
>> >>> fiber to every house in the city and gave away internet access for
>> >>> free?
>> >>> Not the WiFi builds we have today but FTTH at gigabit speeds for free?
>> >>>
>> >>> Do you think the LECs would come unglued?
>> >>>
>> >>> Aaron
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> On 7/21/2014 8:33 PM, Miles Fidelman wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>> I've seen various communities attempt to hand out free wifi - usually
>> >>>> in
>> >>>> limited areas, but in some cases community-wide (Brookline, MA comes
>> >>>> to
>> >>>> mind).  The limited ones (e.g., in tourist hotspots) have been city
>> >> funded,
>> >>>> or donated.  The community-wide ones, that I've seen, have been
>> >>>> public-private partnerships - the City provides space on light poles
>> >>>> and
>> >>>> such - the private firm provides limited access, in hopes of selling
>> >>>> expanded service.  I haven't seen it work successfully - 4G cell
>> >>>> service
>> >>>> beats the heck out of WiFi as a metropolitan area service.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> When it comes to municipal fiber and triple-play projects, I've
>> >> generally
>> >>>> seen them capitalized with revenue bonds -- hence, a need for revenue
>> >> to pay
>> >>>> of the financing.  Lower cost than commercial services because
>> >>>> municipal
>> >>>> bonds are low-interest, long-term, and they operate on a
>> >>>> cost-recovery
>> >>>> basis.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Miles Fidelman
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Aaron wrote:
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Do you have an example of a municipality that gives free internet
>> >> access
>> >>>>> to it's residents?
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> On 7/21/2014 2:26 PM, Matthew Kaufman wrote:
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> I think the difference is when the municipality starts throwing in
>> >> free
>> >>>>>> or highly subsidized layer 3 connectivity "free with every layer 1
>> >>>>>> connection"
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> Matthew Kaufman
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>> (Sent from my iPhone)
>> >>>>>>
>> >>>>>>> On Jul 21, 2014, at 12:08 PM, Blake Dunlap <ikiris at gmail.com>
>> >>>>>>> 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 herrin.us>
>> >>>>>>>> wrote:
>> >>>>>>>>>
>> >>>>>>>>> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM, Jay Ashworth <jra at baylink.com>
>> >>>>>>>>> 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 dirtside.com
>> >>>>>>>> bill at herrin.us
>> >>>>>>>> Owner, Dirtside Systems ......... Web: <http://www.dirtside.com/>
>> >>>>>>>> Can I solve your unusual networking challenges?
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> --
>> >>> ================================================================
>> >>> Aaron Wendel
>> >>> Chief Technical Officer
>> >>> Wholesale Internet, Inc. (AS 32097)
>> >>> (816)550-9030
>> >>> http://www.wholesaleinternet.com
>> >>> ================================================================
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> --
>> >> Ray Patrick Soucy
>> >> Network Engineer
>> >> University of Maine System
>> >>
>> >> T: 207-561-3526
>> >> F: 207-561-3531
>> >>
>> >> MaineREN, Maine's Research and Education Network
>> >> www.maineren.net
>> >>
>>
>



-- 
Ray Patrick Soucy
Network Engineer
University of Maine System

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

MaineREN, Maine's Research and Education Network
www.maineren.net


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