Submitted by acohill on Wed, 10/20/2010 - 08:50
Chris Mitchell has a short but pointed note about the fallacy of the "leave it to the private sector" policies that have received so much attention, mainly because the incumbents have pushed that approach vociferously over the past fifteen years. But Mitchell points out that it has largely failed, with many fewer ISPs than in the late nineties, and overall, fewer telephone and cable companies as the big telecom giants gobble up the smaller ones.
Mitchell's final point is the most important one: to maintain some balance and to encourage real competition, there needs to be the opportunity to form and run community-owned networks that are "structurally accountable" to the community itself. Telecom and broadband services have become essential economic development infrastructure, and communities need to be able to control their own destiny. I don't subscribe to the notion that the incumbents are bad. I don't subscribe to the idea that they should be regulated out of existence. What I do believe is that community-owned broadband networks ought to be given a fair chance to prosper without the regulatory dead weight of prohibitions, restrictions, and statutory limitations on access to capital. The incumbents have had fifteen years to provide a modern fiber-based infrastructure to American homes and businesses, and they have, by their own admission, declared, "we can't do it." Fine.
Let's take them at their word, and unleash American innovation and enthusiasm to try something different, like open access networks, which have network neutrality baked in when owned and managed by a neutral third party like a community or regional consortium. Open access projects like Utopia have fifteen providers on the network, including three TV providers--that's real network neutrality and real choice, without the need for excessive regulation and complicated rule-making.
Design Nine, Inc.
Submitted by acohill on Thu, 07/22/2010 - 08:47
A shortened version of my white paper on open access has been published by Broadband Properties magazine, and can be found in the current issue. The full version of the paper is available in PDF format on the Design Nine Web site.
The paper looks at open access broadband and explains why it works, who benefits, and why it has a more robust business model. It is written for community leaders, service providers, and network operators, and tries to dispel the confusion surrounding open access networks.
Perhaps the most mis-understood facet of properly designed open access networks is the issue of competition and government involvement. Unlike some communities that have adopted a traditional triple play business model that competes directly with the private sector (and tends to attract expensive lawsuits), the open access business model keeps local government out of the business of selling broadband and telecom services, and is, in fact, incumbent friendly. In communities that have relied on Design Nine to help them design their networks, the cost for Internet access and phone service have dropped sharply for businesses--as much as 70% in some cases. This frees up business capital for job creation and business expansion, and low costs for broadband access and fiber availability is bringing new businesses and jobs to these communities.
If you have questions, feel free to call me for more information.
President, Design Nine
Design Nine provides visionary broadband architecture and engineering services to our clients. We have over seventy years of staff experience with telecom and community broadband-more than any other company in the United States.
We have a full range of broadband and telecom planning, design, and project management services.
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