Saturday, April 25, 2009

The 3 biggest obstacles to rapid deployment of advanced last mile telecom infrastructure

The biggest speed bumps on the road to rapid deployment of advanced IP-based fiber optic last mile telecommunications infrastructure aren't likely to be purely economic due to its high costs. Instead, these are likely to be the greatest impediments going forward:

1. Top down thinking by large telecom providers and governmental agencies tasked with subsidizing and otherwise facilitating the deployment of advanced telecommunications infrastructure. Wrong approach. Locals best know their needs and have the greatest incentive to see they are met over both the short and long term. They are intimately familiar with their incomplete last mile telecom infrastructures and are in the best position to know where gaps need to be bridged. Governmental programs to increase access to advanced telecom services should be directed to the locals -- local governmental entities and telecom cooperatives.

2. Self-centered thinking by ISPs more interested in preserving their proprietary technologies -- such as satellite Internet service -- that cannot substitute for robust fiber-based last mile advanced telecommunications infrastructure and are already technologicially obsolete or will be soon.

3. "Analysis paralysis" in the form of attempts to "map" broadband black holes and household and socioeconomic demographic surveys that distract from and delay the urgent task of getting fiber that should have been in place a decade ago deployed and deployed ASAP -- particularly at a time when such deployments will create badly needed jobs and increased economic activity. We cannot study, map or talk our way to where we should be with our telecommunications infrastructure. What counts is getting fiber on the poles and in the ground.

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