Last Mile Solutions


I live in the Los Angeles area. From what I grok each city grants a particular cable company a monopoly for a set number of years. But as we know now that "cable" is no longer about "television" but rather it's the last mile connection to the internet.

In my opinion cities/areas need to take control/build and be the last mile. Then ISP's have to plug into them.

Perhaps sometime you could talk about what some individual cities have done to solve the "last mile" issue. The intentions of their effort and the results. Did it work? What are the costs involved? What are cheaper and more expensive solutions and the cost/benefit ratio. What are the problems and politics? Who is doing what now to fix their cities? How can each of us get involved in our local cities and fix the problem?

On my block there are 22 houses. Using conventional fibre gigabyte Ethernet I could hook every house on my block up to a couple routers (for redundancy) with battery backup in my home, just show my where to hang the wires on the pole... can we all then contract privately with an outside provider and bypass the local "cable company"? I know for a fact there are bundles of fibre on the end of the block going unused. It all makes me want to cry.

I guess what I'm trying to suggest is I would like to hear more about grass roots solutions and people working the problem locally and bulldozing the political/economic/corporate road blocks. Maybe start a new forum section. I want to start thinking positively.











The problem is that most people pretty much don't care about internet speeds as long as it works. In my area for example, it's about $60/month for 20 mbps down and 5 mbps up, and nobody complains about those speeds. Or if they do complain it's more of a grumble and they don't actually care enough to make enough of a deal out of it for the ISP to care. My mother cancelled TV not too long ago and the company didn't even try to keep her as a customer, so they obviously don't care that a customer here and there leaves when there's hundreds more paying the exorbitant prices.

See provo, utah for an example of how badly this can go. The operational MO in both Utah and the carolinas is that the Utilities are on board, at first, then force the company under and purchase the infrastructure for pennies on the dollar for their own use. 

Provo said FU and sold to Google instead. Which was perhaps interesting the sentiment in Provo was that anti-local-monopoly.

Go read up on exactly how things went down in Provo.

To do this we, as citizens, need to do everything. But even when we've got 'last mile' we still need to buy bandwidth from someone. And that's where both telephone and cable companies, historically, have really put the squeeze on small ISPs because their seen as competition. Small ISPs only asset, typically, is their infrastructure. But who would buy it? Sold for pennies on the dollar except rare circumstances.

Check out what happened to MCI Worldcom if you get through all that with Provo.




The funny thing is that in South Korea, their average is 52.1 Mbps because they have TONS of competition. If we in the U.S. allow competition, I could see a massive increase in speeds and cut costs at the same time. That is one of the aspects of Capitalism.

It's a simple 3 stage process:

  1. End government imposed monopoly on fixed line telecomunications which outlaws competition and break contracts with telcos.
  2. Fully unbundle the local loop (LLU), using bylaws or Eminent domain, and seperate service provision from infrastructure and mandate utility pole operators must lease capacity at reasonable prices.
  3. Provide tax, regulatory (waive red tape) incentives, and possibly issue some grants and or debt guarantees through a series of competitions to start your own ISPs and telcos.

we did unbundle the local loop in '96 . Wolrdcom bet the farm on being one of the first 'big players' in competitive local services. They actually had a box that would snap in the head end of the POTS and put DSL on your analog lines, then put an analog line back on the copper. So they used a DSL circuit on your phone line to carry voice traffic over IP and thats how they had "Craaaaazy cheap" long distance.

Local telcos saw that clever hack, lost their minds, and stopped allowing access to the local loop. Tied it up in lawsuits for years and years until Worldcom went under. Then no one opposed taking away local loop access one piece at a time.

And because everyone's opinion matters, even morons, spindoctors and lipservice folks this largely went unnoticed.

Thats pretty cool, its a shame that the telecommunications market is so locked down, I think we would see all sorts of crazy solutions, perhaps even some for cellular communications and mobile broadband.