Friday, March 13, 2009

Using U.S. economic stimulus funding for native fiber backbone and FTTH

Good piece in Network World today on using federal stimulus funding for fiber build out, both for native backbone and over the last mile. The article also touches on a point that's problematic in mainstream media coverage of broadband access: covering the issue exclusively along urban and rural lines as if it were still 1950. U.S. settlement patterns have changed substantially since then, with many Americans migrating to the exurbs, penturbs and semi-rural areas filled with broadband black holes. Here's the relevant excerpt:

In addition to building fiber backbones in rural areas, some ISPs also think that subsidizing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connections would be feasible for certain rural areas that have relatively high population densities. Patrick Knorr, the COO of cable and broadband provider Sunflower Broadband, says there are some suburban communities in his vicinity that have been sprouting up in rural areas that would have enough population density to justify building out FTTH infrastructure.


"Fiber to the home, like a lot of wire-based solutions, is cost intensive," he says. "But it is cheaper than DSL or coaxial cables. Fiber works better over long distances because it doesn't require as much maintenance as a lot of other technologies. The issue is that there is a significant initial infrastructure cost, which is why there should be opportunities for subsidies to build FTTH in areas that otherwise wouldn't be able to access fiber service."


The article also discusses the downside of Broadband over Power Lines (BPL), which in the opinion of this blogger isn't deserving of either investment capital or federal stimulus subsidies.

1 comment:

eatswedishfish said...

Instead of giving money away to stimulate broadband, I think we ought to loan money, at very low interest rates and long payback period, to companies that extend plant to non broadband areas. Giving money away just promotes waste and poor business practices.

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