Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tim Nulty attacks conventional thinking on rural fiber, broadband mapping

Here are two reports on a panel discussion held last week in Washington DC hosted by the Benton Foundation.

In both accounts, Tim Nulty -- who's making fiber to the premises a reality in Vermont -- stands out. Nulty trashes as "nonsense" conventional wisdom that there's little demand for fiber in less densely populated areas of the U.S. and that a business case can't be made for it in this dispatch by ars technica's Matthew Lasar:

"The standard traditional wisdom is 'Oh no you can't do that; impossible,'" Nulty noted. "'Can't make fiber work in rural areas. You've got to use some half-baked technology like WiFi or something like that." Au contraire, he told the audience. "It's actually significantly easier and cheaper to do fiber today than it was to do copper when our forefathers did it in the thirties."

And Nulty's right on the money when he suggests broadband mapping is nothing but a time wasting paper chase charade that makes incumbent telecommunications providers appear to be doing something instead of actually getting fiber on and in the ground. Nulty said this at the Benton event according to Blandin on Broadband:

Sometimes these maps are used to postpone action. A map of 200K access is not that helpful. In Vermont we had towns that were officially served – but ask people if they are served and they say no. The maps help get the incumbents off the hook. Access to info is good – but not if it distracts from promoting activity.

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