Last Mile Design

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at
Sat Feb 9 21:17:18 UTC 2019

On 2/9/19 4:04 PM, Thomas Bellman wrote:

> On 2019-02-09 18:59 CET, Mikael Abrahamsson wrote:
>> For anyone saying it's "impossible" to do AE they're welcome here to
>> the nordic region and especially Sweden where PON is basically unheard
>> of. We have millions of AE connected households. I live in one of them.
> However, large parts (probably even most) of our FTTH deployments have
> been built, and are owned, by our municipalities, not private companies.
> And have had government subsidies.  (Sometimes outsourced to normal
> commercial companies, but those companies then have the municipality as
> their customer, not us end-users.)
> Even without the subsidies, I expect that changes what kind of long-
> term view is taken on the investment.  A purely commercial company might
> want a return on their investments in just a few years, and if the fiber
> plant needs to be replaced in its entirety ten years from now, that will
> be the problem of a different CEO. :-)  A municipality (or a company
> wholly owned by the municipality) is used to build roads and water pipes
> with expected lifetimes of 50 years, and might build their fiber plants
> expecting them to live 20 years or longer.
Yes indeed, longer time horizon, but generally not so much subsidized as:

- having a big initial customer (municipal electric utility, water 
utility, the city or county) - a lot of municipal builds are essentially 
done for internal purposes, with service to the public as a bonus

- still, usually funded by bonds - long-term money, low rates - and 
maybe some money from the NTIA (also available to rural coops)

- a view of networks as infrastructure, with cost-recovery pricing, 
rather than as a revenue stream to milk (same as internal networks at a 
university or corporation)

By and large, there's a pretty good argument that we SHOULD be viewing 
broadband networks as infrastructure, with ownership & management to 
match.  (Fair disclosure, I used to promote that view as director of a 
non-profit policy shop, and as a consultant to municipal governments.  
I've also helped design & build big networks, for big customers - in my 
days at BBN - so it's an informed opinion :-).

Miles Fidelman

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

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