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

Sebastian Moeller moeller0 at gmx.de
Wed Mar 29 04:28:12 EDT 2023

Hi Bob,

> On Mar 28, 2023, at 19:47, rjmcmahon <rjmcmahon at rjmcmahon.com> wrote:
> Interesting. I'm skeptical that our cities in the U.S. can get this (structural separation) right.

There really isn't that much to get wrong, you built the access network and terminate the per household fibers in arge enough "exchanges" there you offer ISPs to lighten up the fibers on the premise that customers can use any ISP they want (that is present in the exchange)... and on ISP change will just be patched differently in the exchange.
While I think that local "government" also could successfully run internet access services, I see no reason why they should do so (unless there is no competition).
The goal here is to move the "natural monopoly" of the access network out of the hand of the "market" (as markets simply fail as optimizing resource allocation instruments under mono- and oligopoly conditions, on either side).

> 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 miserably.

	I would argue this is that there are things where cities excel and some where they simply are mediocre... managing monopoly infrastructure (like roads, water, sometime power) with long amortization times is something they do well (either directly or via companies they own and operate). 

> 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.

	Yes, that is why the operator of the last mile, should really not offer services over that mile itself. Real competition on the access lines themselves is not going to happen (at least not is sufficient number to make a market solution viable), but there is precedence of getting enough service providers to offer their services over access lines (e.g. Amsterdam).

> 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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_XXXVIII_halftime_show_controversy
> 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.

	I am not 100% sure this is a uni- versus broadcast issue... even on uni-cast I can consume traditional middle-of the road news and even on broadcast I can opt for pretend-news. Sure the social media explosion with its auto-bias-amplification incentives (they care for time spend on the platform and will show anything they believe will people stay longer, and guess what that is not a strategy to rhymes well with objective information transmission, but emotional engagement, often negative, but I think we all know this).

> 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.

	Yes, for sure not ;) This is a fad mostly, and will go away some time in the future, once people realize that this flavor of machine learning is great for what it is, but what it is is not what we are prone to believe it is...


> Bob
>> 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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>> Links:
>> ------
>> [1] https://cis471.blogspot.com/2014/06/stockholm-19-years-of-municipal.html

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