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[ NNSquad ] Re: Fight over municipal broadband rules in North na

On Tue, 15 Mar 2011, Bob Frankston <Bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com> wrote:

Just stick to the question.

Is the ITIF be willing to be very explicit about saying that the legislation
should not prohibit and, in fact should encourage cities building
infrastructure for exchanging bits?

The numbers, I think, argue for an even simpler solution:

Open the conduits.  Let the City pay nothing, rather the City is
paid by private parties for Cross-Section * Length *
Ease-of-Maintenance of conduit space.

It is a fraud, supported by newspapers and well paid shills of
the Duopoly, that Net connection is expensive to provide in
cities.  Conduits make it cheap.


-----Original Message----- From: Richard Bennett [mailto:richard@bennett.com] Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 21:21 To: Bob Frankston Cc: nnsquad@nnsquad.org Subject: Re: [ NNSquad ] Re: Fight over municipal broadband rules in North Carolina

ITIF is pro-infrastructure, but I'm not so sure you are, Bob.

On 3/15/2011 6:18 PM, Bob Frankston wrote:
Is the ITIF willing to support and encourage an infrastructure approach as
an alternative to broadband triple-plays?

Personally I don't see the need for legislation since the triple-plays no
longer make fiscal sense.

But rather than fight over the past I would welcome support for
building infrastructure that doesn't have to be a profit center. The cable
companies should once they get past their short-sighted effort to profit
from control over the transport as a means of preventing effective
competition as they go over the top and stand to gain more from using the
infrastructure than limiting it.

Infrastructure creates a level playing field and the cities would have no
reason to compete in the content business though they might provide
fee-based services for their own community and others. But it wouldn't be
tied to the "cable".

Is ITIF onboard for infrastructure?

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf
Richard Bennett
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 19:11
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Fight over municipal broadband rules in North

Interesting comment, Bob. The rural broadband issue actually has more to
do with cable TV-type services than with Internet services, actually.
Muni broadband networks have copied the triple play revenue model from
cable, and always have substantially more cable TV customers than
Internet customers.

There's a huge element of bad faith bargaining on the part of the towns
that operate their own triple play networks in competition with the
cable company. Towns previously granted the cable company an exclusive
license to offer cable TV, which encouraged the cable companies to
invest in a community network on the expectation that their investments
would ultimately pay back the investment and earn a profit.

It seems to me that communities should be able to operate their own
networks, but before they go into the cable business they need to
compensate the cable company for their investment, preferably by buying
them out. They're obviously not going to do that, of course.

The larger issue is that demand for broadband Internet simply isn't very
high in rural communities, so when you carve up the demand among two
wireline providers and the two satellite TV providers, it's hard for the
wireline networks to break even. The ultimate solution to this problem
is government-funded demand creation programs that enable people to get
cheap PCs and education in the benefits of the Internet.

There's already a lot more broadband Internet deployed in the US than
there is demand for it; something like 95% of Americans can get
broadband if they want it, but only 65% actually sign up. You don't
solve that problem by building more networks.


On 3/15/2011 1:39 PM, Bob Frankston wrote:
While the cable companies have a visited interest in limiting
competition we need to be more concerned about framing the debate on
the presumption that the only funding model is "cable".

There's the implicit assumption that simply having a city create its
own broadband network is automatically a good thing. But as I keep
pointing out the business model of expecting people buy services in
order to fund infrastructure is problematic, even more so when it is
competing with commercial providers with deep funding. As we've seen
in Burlington VT, if a city borrows from bondholders it is in hock to
them but doesn't have the scale and deep pockets a company like
Comcast has to cover the debt even if the particular cable system is
not profitable.

Think of the 911 example -- why does the emergency respond system
depend on people making enough phone calls to fund it. If the model
makes sense we'd use it to fund fire and police services. But it
doesn't make sense and we fund the fire and police services. So why do
we fund the emergency signaling system by taxing phone calls. Even
worse, we then use this funding model abused

and used as a way to make some VoIP services illegal by demanding they
pay for 911 service in an arbitrary location.

What cities need to do is change the framing and build a common
infrastructure as an asset for the city that they pay for once and
own. They can then use it all purposes ranging from police and traffic
lights to exchanging bits for consumer applications like video and
medical monitoring and home fire detection.

We need to assure the legislation doesn't prevent a city from
investing in new fiber or Wi-Fi or using existing copper as
infrastructure completely distinct from services be they "cable" or
simply exchanging bits (sometimes called "Internet").

Too bad some of the loudest voices are the most conservative --
advocating that cities emulate the old line cable companies rather
than embracing the future by creating new infrastructure and opportunity.

The cable companies would still oppose funding infrastructure but we'd
have to explain the wires are like sidewalks and not like television.
I'd welcome a real debate.

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On
Behalf Of Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 14:48
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Fight over municipal broadband rules in North

Fight over municipal broadband rules in North Carolina

http://j.mp/fGNZe9  (Innovation Policy Blog)


NNSquad Moderator

Richard Bennett

-- Richard Bennett