[LibreQoS] [Starlink] [Bloat] Enabling a production model

Sebastian Moeller moeller0 at gmx.de
Sun Apr 2 08:00:05 EDT 2023

Hi Dan,

> On Mar 29, 2023, at 19:34, dan via Starlink <starlink at lists.bufferbloat.net> wrote:
> On Mar 29, 2023 at 11:13:07 AM, David Lang <david at lang.hm> wrote:
>> On Wed, 29 Mar 2023, dan via Bloat wrote:
>> Even in the big cities where there is enough density, the results aren't pretty. 
>> Go back in history and look at what was happening with phone and power lines 
>> in places like New York City before the monopolies were setup. Moving to the 
>> regulated monoopolies was hailed by users as a win from that chaos (including 
>> deliberate sabatage of competitors)
>> I'm in a Los Angeles Suburb, and until recently, I couldn't even get fast cable 
>> service to my home, the city owned fiber will be a huge win for me, and I can 
>> still have my starlink dish, cell phone, or (once they cover my area) a wireless 
>> ISP as a backup
>> David Lang
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>> Bloat at lists.bufferbloat.net
>> https://lists.bufferbloat.net/listinfo/bloat
> When you said ‘even with’ you negated the previous point.  ‘Even with’ incredible density the monopoly structure of broadband in America today makes competition beaurocratically hard.  That should be the place where we see fierce competition.  Or, that should be the place the fiber has completely wiped out cable, yet it hasn’t.   There are only so many conclusions available here.  Fiber isn’t actually that much better than cable, or the monopolies have non-monetary protections so competition can’t move in,  or maybe those areas are already properly served 😕 .

	Let's rephrase that, DOCSIS HFC networks currently allow sufficient service quality (aka speed, but we all agree that it is not actually "speed" nor what end-users should desire ;) ) to allow prices that make it economically problematic to deploy other costly access networks. This is orthogonal to the fact that in the intermediate turn fiber will become more attractive as is is getting harder to increase the rate of copper infrastructure (g.fast, docsis 4.0) taking more and more heroic efforts, signal processing and power consumption. So the point is IMHO not fiber or something else, but only when fiber... ;) (I agree that both DOCSIS and VDSL2 can work just fine for today, but neither is terribly future proof, and both are essentially in the process of moving fiber closer and closer to the end-points already). So IMHO the long game clearly is fiber, and macro-economically every dollar spent on extension of copper networks instead of deploying fiber is a dollar wasted... (it still can be micro-economically in the interest of a company to extend the life of a copper plant).

> The commonality in non-rural or small-town-rural areas that have connectivity struggles is the monopoly that is in the way.  Rural areas often have few options because the returns aren’t there for big companies, but they are for small companies if they were actually able to get into those markets.  If you build in a monopoly in the rural areas, when they grow they will have the same issue the urban areas have, a monopoly that was paid to deliver last decades services and the only way they’ll upgrade is either government money and mandates, or competition which you’ve prevented.  

	The point is that (reasonably) fast access networks are "natural monopolies" that is if one ISP has wired-up a dwelling unit it becomes harder to justify the cost for additional "wires". IMHO the reason why we often see POTS and cable is because these were initially not-competing and tapping into different pools od end-users willingness to pay. So even if no ISP is given true monopoly power over the access link the effects are still similar. Plus even if 3 ISPs would independently wire-up a unit, that still leaves us deep in oligopoly territory and we know that market mechanisms will still not work well to deliver internet access at reasonable cost.

> You put a monopoly in place and that will be nearly permanent.  Outside the scope of this debate but I’d rather see individual subsidies to promote competition vs the government building out a monopoly.

	In theory that sounds nice, but we will not see sufficient competition and choice in the access network to get us out of the monopoly/oligopoly regime. And there I subjectively favor monopolies in government hand, as government actually has checks and balances...
	That said, over here we end up giving subsidies, but at least encourage ISPs deploying fiber to offer bitstream access to their competitors. (Over POTS the incumbent is not encouraged but required via ex-ante regulation to offer bitstream access for controlled whole sake prices, for FTTH this currently is still only encouraged, but it seems clear that blantant abuse will result in ex-ante regulation again; let's see how well this works).

> I’ll remind you, I run 3 ISPs.

	Thanks, that is why the discussion with you is so fruitful and interesting, you offer a perspective and well-funded arguments that as a pure end-user I do not see. So, let me take the opportunity to thank you.

>  What limits my expansion is generally protections given to a monopoly by local government.  

	Well, how would you fare in a situation like Amsterdam; so if a municipality could offer you dark fibers to each dewlling unit terminating in a a few data centers? So if you had equal access to the monopoly access network as all other ISPs?

> You might ask Jeremy from the previous comment, he has direct view to 2 of these networks and might attest that we do reasonably well and are one of the ISPs putting in real effort.   We welcome competition because it gives us an opportunity to be the best.  Nothing better to drive positive reviews for your company than being better than the other guys. 

	+1; alas I do not see that spirit in the local incumbents.... and here in Germany smaller ISPs are a mixed bag, ranging from enlightened ones' that do not fear competition to those that try to build their own quasi-monopoly fiefdoms.

> Also, in MOST of America, there is no shortage of money.  There is nothing limiting multiple providers from building in.

	ROI... if you are the only one wiring-up a place you essentially have a captive audience that will (within reason) needs to accept your prices, if you are the second ISP wiring-up a place, you now have to deal with that other ISPs pricing. As an example the incumbent DOCSIS ISP in Germany a few years ago pushed down the monthly price for "gigabit-internet" (~1000/50 Mbps) to ~40EUR/month setting a price-point that makes is hard for fiber-ISPs to establish prices above. As end-customer I do not complain, but I understand that this is intended to a) increase the customer base (docsis ISPs still are well below the DSL ISPs even if jut looking inside the cable fooot-print) b) to make it harder for those FTTH competition to quickly recoup their costs (this one is speculative, as nobody would openly admit that ;) ).

>  You can find places this isn’t true but 90%+ is it.  I run my businesses covering mostly rural areas in a red state that is on the lower end of incomes and I’ve done this out of pocket, operating in the black, and upgrading and expanding constantly.  I have 3 other wisps, spectrum, TDS, Century Link  in the area.  None of us are hurting for money to expand services.  Also, I’m beating the competition to the door vs their government money.  

	+1; good for your customers! Less so for customers only served by the incumbents, no?


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