Friday, January 02, 2015

Electric power transmission towers and poles provide existing fiber to the premise infrastructure

Nearly two decades ago, investor-owned electric power provider Pacific Gas and Electric Co. considered installing fiber optic telecommunications cable on its poles and towers and leasing it to cooperatives, telephone and Internet service providers. In 2006, PG&E was in discussions with a startup, Current Communications, hoping to roll out new technology to deliver Internet over electrical lines known as Broadband over Power Lines (BPL).

The talks shorted out over money and BPL ultimately proved technologically unfeasible. Interestingly, one of the investors in Current Communications along with General Electric and EarthLink was Google.

Nearly a decade later, Google is building its own fiber to the premise network in two metro areas of the United States and is considering several others although recently put its expansion plans on hold, most likely until the U.S. Federal Communications Commission decides this year whether to regulate Internet service as a common carrier telecommunications utility. Should the FCC do so under Title II of the Communications Act, Google in a December 30, 2014 letter urged the FCC to enforce compliance with Section 224 of the statute requiring utilities such as PG&E to provide access to its poles, conduits and rights of way on reasonable terms and conditions.

controls poles, ducts, conduits, or rights-of-way used, - See more at:
In the meantime, Google Fiber and PG&E might consider exploring a joint venture that would give Google access to PG&E’s transmission towers and poles that provide existing infrastructure serving millions of premises to speed the deployment of its fiber network. PG&E itself should look not only at Google Fiber but also consider forming a subsidiary that would build an open access wholesale fiber to the premise network. It could then lease access to Google Fiber and other ISPs. (I'll even host the discussions -- off the record, of course --- and some fine Cabernet at an undisclosed winery location if the companies are interested).

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