Saturday, December 20, 2014

Aspirational sloganeering won't build last mile fiber

Half of Connecticut says it wants fiber-optic Internet —and soon - The Washington Post: Although the state has fiber-optic cables connecting all 169 towns, that infrastructure typically ends in nodes serving the local town hall or police and fire stations. The next step will be to connect individual homes to that network. As many as 1.8 million Connecticut residents would get access to fiber if the public-private partnership plans move forward.

That figure also represents a significant opportunity for Internet providers. ISPs would not only be able to tap into a lucrative subscriber base for fiber-optic services, said Vallee — they'd be able to do so at little cost to themselves, thanks to the infrastructure that's already been built and state incentives to streamline the building process.

There are two big questions not addressed in this story: Who will build the residential fiber infrastructure and how will it be financed? Without those details, talk of Connecticut being "number one" for fiber connectivity is merely aspirational sloganeering.

It's also misleading to suggest that ISPs will be able to deploy that infrastructure "at little cost to themselves." Cost barriers to building last mile fiber infrastructure are significant and the primary reason why once anchor institutions are connected to fiber, homes and small businesses are left unconnected as is the case here. Connecticut and other states need realistic and well thought out plans to meet and overcome them.

2 comments:

Doug Dawson said...

This is the problem I had with the stimulus grant money that was spent to build middle-mile fiber. The money was used to plow in tens of thousands of miles of fiber to rural communities with no idea of who would ever use it to build the last mile. And for the most part nobody new is building the last mile who was not already going to do so in the first place, like independent telephone companies, electric cooperative and a handful of local governments.

chris said...

Brilliant for people if the fibre pipes are there, they can dig to meet it. This is the future, help the people to help themselves, and go the extra mile where telcos fear to tread. The biggest problem is getting the backhaul, so if that job is done then getting the fibre into the homes is doable. Our community has done it, and if we can do it so can anyone else. Owned by the people, for the people. Other companies in the UK are doing it as a business, and making good profits. You pays your money and makes your choice. But do it, don't just settle for copper rubbish, get the fibre. Moral and optic.

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