March 21st, 2009 by Gordon Cook
We live in anew world that demands new answers. Erik Cecil has some of the best. As Erik said on my Economics of IP Networks list in early March:
I’d like to ask you whether you’d see immense value in a world where we could build and rationally fund dark fiber utilities, give strands to any qualified entity who wanted to provide service along the following lines:
A. Any player can provide service: telco, cable, wireless, ISP, muni-co whomever.
B. All players pay the same exact flat rate for access to fiber optic (conduit or pole - one flat rate - nationally), collocation space, power regardless of “service” provided.
C. All bits are “telecommunications” in the sense that common carriage applies to anything on any network anywhere at any time without regard to jurisdiction, service type, underlying provider, anything.
D. One flat fee to replace the insanity of dealing with seven or eight thousand local franchising authorities. Flat fee applies only to physical layer facilities. There’s no such thing as channels, cable TV, telephone, or anything else b/c there’s no need. Just light the stuff and provide what people want. Be productive and make something new instead of endlessly fighting over 50 and 100 year old technology and business models. We have the means.
E. National franchising. Not state, not local.
F. Access standards per Section 253 of the Act, and as codified in recent FCC cases, including the Section 621 Cases except we erase all of the regulatory siloes b/c they are relevant only to the past and persist only in the present because we continue to tolerate them or are just too lazy to create anew.
G. Zero intercarrier compensation. It’s all bill and keep. We got to pure peering for all networks. Mandatory. No charges whatsoever.
H. Building access is mandated - say under Section 201 - any provider can pull fiber in any building conduit at any reasonable time. Wireless - e.g. dish and fixed can already attach anywhere any time subject to reasonableness. There’s no reason we can’t do the same thing with physical facilities. The only allowable charges, therefore, are those associated with any retrofit necessary - say coring through floors to run conduit - but that work can be done by any qualified contractor. No charge for closet space, no charge for conduit space, and straight pass through on amps. Building benefits enormously by the presence of communications connectivity anyway. (There is no taking here - there is a giving - we know that because, were we to yank all communications connectivity out of a building, no landlord would be able to rent the space for anything other than maybe as a warehouse). Ditto for any city or community.
In other words we BAN any additional over the top charges of dirt and space vendors becausee they need to focus on the benefits of things creating rather than extracting money from things they did not create - DIRT and spaces inside of dirt or concrete - its just empty space through which one pulls fiber optics. (And let’s not forget that the City of Dallas once tried to charge Teligent - my old client; and AT&T a FEE for radio waves riding “through” city space. That’s silly but had to go to federal court for a year to get resolved. But charging for photons moving through wave guides is no less silly than what Dallas pulled or taxing a nearby star for the light it casts across the landscape.)