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

rjmcmahon rjmcmahon at rjmcmahon.com
Tue Mar 28 13:47:33 EDT 2023

Interesting. I'm skeptical that our cities in the U.S. can get this 
(structural separation) right.

Pre-coaxial cable & contract carriage, the FCC licensed spectrum to the 
major media companies and placed a news obligation on them for these OTA 
rights. A society can't run a democracy well without quality and factual 
information to the constituents. Sadly, contract carriage got rid of 
that news as a public service obligation as predicted by Eli Noam. 
http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/wp/citi/citinoam11.html Hence we get January 
6th and an insurrection.

It takes a staff of 300 to produce 30 minutes of news three times a day. 
The co-axial franchise agreements per each city traded this obligation 
for a community access channel and a small studio, and annual franchise 
fees. History has shown this is insufficient for a city to provide 
quality news to its citizens. Community access channels failed 

Another requirement was two cables so there would be "competition" in 
the coaxial offerings. This rarely happened because of natural monopoly 
both in the last mile and in negotiating broadcast rights (mostly for 
sports.) There is only one broadcast rights winner, e.g. NBC for the 
Olympics, and only one last mile winner. That's been proven empirically 
in the U.S.

Now cities are dependent on those franchise fees for their budgets. And 
the cable cos rolled up to a national level. So it's mostly the FCC that 
regulates all of this where they care more about Janet Jackson's breast 
than providing accurate news to help a democracy function well. 

It gets worse as people are moving to unicast networks for their "news." 
But we're really not getting news at all, we're gravitating to emotional 
validations per our dysfunctions. Facebook et al happily provide this 
because it sells more ads. And then the major equipment providers claim 
they're doing great engineering because they can carry "AI loads!!" and 
their stock goes up in value.  This means ads & news feeds that trigger 
dopamine hits for addicts are driving the money flows. Which is a sad 
theme for undereducated populations.

And ChatGPT is not the answer for our lack of education and a public 
obligation to support those educations, which includes addiction 
recovery programs, and the ability to think critically for ourselves.

> Here is an old (2014) post on Stockholm to my class "textbook":
> https://cis471.blogspot.com/2014/06/stockholm-19-years-of-municipal.html
>  [1]
>  Stockholm: 19 years of municipal broadband success [1]
>  The Stokab report should be required reading for all local government
> officials. Stockholm is one of the  top Internet cities in the worl...
>  cis471.blogspot.com
> -------------------------
> From: Starlink <starlink-bounces at lists.bufferbloat.net> on behalf of
> Sebastian Moeller via Starlink <starlink at lists.bufferbloat.net>
> Sent: Sunday, March 26, 2023 2:11 PM
> To: David Lang <david at lang.hm>
> Cc: dan <dandenson at gmail.com>; Frantisek Borsik
> <frantisek.borsik at gmail.com>; libreqos
> <libreqos at lists.bufferbloat.net>; Dave Taht via Starlink
> <starlink at lists.bufferbloat.net>; rjmcmahon <rjmcmahon at rjmcmahon.com>;
> bloat <bloat at lists.bufferbloat.net>
> Subject: Re: [Starlink] [Bloat] On fiber as critical infrastructure
> w/Comcast chat
> 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...
> Regards
>         Sebastian
> *) 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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> Starlink at lists.bufferbloat.net
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> Links:
> ------
> [1] 
> https://cis471.blogspot.com/2014/06/stockholm-19-years-of-municipal.html

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