[Bloat] On fiber as critical infrastructure w/Comcast chat

Sebastian Moeller moeller0 at gmx.de
Sun Mar 26 17:11:17 EDT 2023

Hi David,

> On Mar 26, 2023, at 22:57, David Lang <david at lang.hm> wrote:
> On Sun, 26 Mar 2023, Sebastian Moeller via Bloat wrote:
>>> The point of the thread is that we still do not treat digital communications infrastructure as life support critical.
>> 	Well, let's keep things in perspective, unlike power, water (fresh and waste), and often gas, communications infrastructure is mostly not critical yet. But I agree that we are clearly on a path in that direction, so it is time to look at that from a different perspective.
>> 	Personally, I am a big fan of putting the access network into communal hands, as these guys already do a decent job with other critical infrastructure (see list above, plus roads) and I see a PtP fiber access network terminating in some CO-like locations a viable way to allow ISPs to compete in the internet service field all the while using the communally build access network for a few. IIRC this is how Amsterdam organized its FTTH roll-out. Just as POTS wiring has beed essentially unchanged for decades, I estimate that current fiber access lines would also last for decades requiring no active component changes in the field, making them candidates for communal management. (With all my love for communal ownership and maintenance, these typically are not very nimble and hence best when we talk about life times of decades).
> This is happening in some places (the town where I live is doing such a rollout), but the incumbant ISPs are fighting this and in many states have gotten laws created that prohibit towns from building such systems.

	A resistance that in the current system is understandable*... btw, my point is not wanting to get rid of ISPs, I really just think that the access network is more of a natural monopoly and if we want actual ISP competition, the access network is the wrong place to implement it... as it is unlikely that we will see multiple ISPs running independent fibers to all/most dwelling units... There are two ways I see to address this structural problem:
a) require ISPs to rent the access links to their competitors for "reasonable" prices
b) as I proposed have some non-ISP entity build and maintain the access network

None of these is terribly attractive to current ISPs, but we already see how the economically more attractive PON approach throws a spanner into a), on a PON the competitors might get bitstream access, but will not be able to "light up" the fiber any way they see fit (as would be possible in a PtP deployment, at least in theory). My subjective preference is b) as I mentioned before, as I think that would offer a level playing field for ISPs to compete doing what they do best, offer internet access service while not pushing the cost of the access network build-out to all-fiber onto the ISPs. This would allow a fairer, less revenue driven approach to select which areas to convert to FTTH first....

However this is pretty much orthogonal to Bob's idea, as I understand it, as this subthread really is only about getting houses hooked up to the internet and ignores his proposal how to do the in-house network design in a future-proof way...


*) I am not saying such resistance is nice or the right thing, just that I can see why it is happening.

> David Lang

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