Broadband Reform In The US: Turner, Isen & Obama

I just finished listening to Brough Turner’s Ecomm 2008 presentation called “Own The Network.” His talk is available for download from IT Conversations, the accompanying slides and notes are available from his blog.

Mr Turner’s key assertion is that we insist upon owning the dark fiber to our homes & businesses. This is very similar to David Isen’s idea of “Fiber From The Home.” It’s a principle that I can completely get behind.

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Customer Owned Fiber

Timothy B. Lee over at Ars technica has an excellent piece on a pilot project going on in Ottawa, Ontario. A neighborhood is getting fiber installed to their homes at their own expense. Once that’s in place any ISP that wants to sell into that area will simply access a central facility to link to the homes in question. The homeowner owns the famously troublesome last mile. It completely bypasses the ILEC and CableCo.

My reactions to this are many. I certainly hope that the project is successful. Ottawa, while unbearably cold in winter, is a serious high-tech town at heart. I wish someone were that adventurous in the US.

With installation costs per home in the $1000 to $2700 range I don’t mind telling you that I’d jump on this in a heartbeat. It’d be like getting FiOS, but owning the last hop yourself.

In the US I doubt our backward thinking ILECs and CableCos will even notice. I see nothing that suggests they are interested in new ways of approaching the market, even if it could leapfrog them into new opportunities. All they want to do is protect their monopoly positions and find new ways to charge ever more for the same old level of service.

No, this kind of NewThink takes a fresh perspective. Let me state unequivocally, if you build it I will pay.