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[Freedombox-discuss] Fwd: Free Fiber to the Home

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Free Fiber to the Home <bill.st.arnaud@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 10:28 AM
Subject: Free Fiber to the Home

   Free Fiber to the Home <http://free-fiber-to-the-home.blogspot.com/>

The answer to Network Neutrality, data caps and Usage Based Billing lies
with Google, Amazon, Netflix,

Posted: 16 Mar 2011 09:27 AM PDT
[There has been a lot of noise in the blogosphere recently about usage based
billing (UBB) and price caps coming to the US. Something I warned would
happen based on the Canadian experience.
  In fact I believe a more insidious issue is developing where the
telcos/cableso are not only extracting monopoly rent, but are using the
revenue from UBB to cross subsidize their own proprietary broadband
offerings  of VOD and IPTV.  I will be blogging more about that in the

Although I sympathize and understand the issues around network neutrality,
price caps and UBB I am very skeptical that governments in Canada or the US
will do anything meaningful to address the last mile duopoly ? which is the
fundamental underlying problem.   We saw last week in the UK that British
Telecom removed its policy on caps because of stiff competition.  This
competition was a direct result of the British government?s decision to
mandate structural separation. (http://goo.gl/ibVtL)

Unfortunately the cableco/telcos in North America have a lock on Congress
which is undermining the efforts of the FCC and the Chair of Canada?s
regulator (CRTC) sounds like a spokesperson for Bell Canada in his various
utterances on UBB.  It is unlikely that we will ever see the necessary
leadership in North America to challenge this last mile cartel and create
real competition.  We need another Teddy Roosevelt to take a big stick and
break up this oligopoly which is choking innovation and dragging down the
economy as a whole.  A good analysis of how Canada?s protected telco/cable
duopoly has hurt Canada?s productivity and constrained economic growth was
demonstrated in a study by Peter Nicholson, former president of the Canadian
Council of Academies - INNOVATION AND BUSINESS STRATEGY Why Canada Falls
Short. ( http://goo.gl/zFPXk)

Given the lack of leadership from Washington and Ottawa, I believe it is up
to companies like Google, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, etc to provide the
necessary leadership and implement solutions that will address the sorry
state of broadband in North America.  Google has taken the first step with
their Fiber to the Home project, for which everybody is breathlessly waiting
an announcement on the selected communities that will be part of this pilot.
But I think we need more such pilots  deliberately targeting the communities
that provide the greatest profitability for the telcos/cablecos.  This is
war and we got to hit the telco/cablecos where it hurts them the most.

But I am not suggesting that Google, Amazon, Neftlix, et al need to build a
national FTTH network.  I am  proposing a different strategy:

When  I was at CANARIE we were met with derision and laughter by the telcos
when we first suggested that we wanted to purchase our own dark fiber and
light it ourselves. They said it would be far too expensive and you need a
large organization like a telco to manage and operate such a facility.  But
with leadership provided by RISQ (the regional network in Quebec) and
SURFnet in The Netherlands we demonstrated that we could build our own dark
fiber and light it at a fraction of the cost that the telcos wanted for
their lower bandwidth managed service.  This opened the flood gates.  Other
R&E networks across Canada and around the world quickly followed suit.  Once
the telcos/Cablecos realized our threat was real, that if necessary we would
build our own fiber networks, and more worryingly introduce competition,
they quickly changed their tune and started offering fiber at a much
reasonable cost.  (In Canada, those glory days have pretty well come to end
because of lack of competition and restrictions on foreign ownership, but
the revolution continues in the rest of the world, particularly with the
UCAN initiative in the US)

Google, Amazon, Neflix et al need to partner together to develop a similar
strategy in the battle against the telco/cableco cartel.  First they need to
build a number of FTTH project in selected neighbourhoods to demonstrate
that their threat is real and then negotiate with the cableco/telcos and
cell phone companies on transparent policy on network neutrality, costing
and elimination of price caps and UBB.  If the cableco/telcos balk, which
they will likely do initially, the Google, Aamzon, et al consortium have to
make their threat real and continue to build more FFTH pilot neighbourhoods.
As I mentioned before they don?t have to target entire city or town (which
would be ideal if the community were willing to participate as well) but
only those neighborhoods which represent the highest profitability to the
cableco/telcos.  They may even want to partner with someone like Level 3,
who I believe needs to extend their carrier?s carrier business model to the
last mile.

I think such a strategy would also define the true costs of delivering
broadband and perhaps even allow the development of new business models.  As
I have blogged in the past I think broadband needs to be free and unlimited.
There is a much better way to make money from broadband rather than
extracting monopoly rent and charging users by the bit.  Bundling broadband
with energy consumption and CO2 emissions to my mind is one approach that
guarantees a lucrative revenue stream to the network operator, without
costing the consumer a dime, and allows for unlimited usage and consumption.
For more details please see my blog on Free Fiber to the Home


*Green Internet Consultant. Practical solutions to reducing GHG emissions
such as free broadband and electric highways. **
http://green-broadband.blogspot.com/* <http://green-broadband.blogspot.com/>

email:    Bill.St.Arnaud at gmail.com
                 Bill at St-arnaud.org
twitter:  BillStArnaud
blog:       http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/
skype:    Pocketpro

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