Muni Fiber and Politics

Owen DeLong owen at
Tue Jul 22 21:06:16 UTC 2014

On Jul 22, 2014, at 13:55 , Scott Helms <khelms at> 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.

Areas that will attract a high number of ISPs will have sufficient subscriber density to justify larger-capacity shelves for each of them. Places where ISPs will buy smaller capacity shelves are places that will have a low number of ISPs.

> "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.

No, what consumers want is cheap reliable bandwidth that doesn't become slow and antiquated in a few years.

Frankly, I don't care whether it's a municipality or an NGO or a private enterprise. What I want is a law that says "If you operate L1, you can't play at L2+. If you operate L1, then you must offer the same product offerings to all L2+ providers on the same terms at the same price.". If you've got that, then someone will find a way for everyone who wants to compete for L2+ services in a given area to get or create an L1 capability that they can share.

Doesn't seem to me that it would be that hard to justify building a colo and SWC together in most cases. $300,000 sounds pretty cheap, actually.


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