Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Why We Don't Have Fiber to the Home

David Isenberg in his VON Magazine column, The Edge-Centric, lays out in a direct and readable form the reasons behind the US being stuck without a fiber to the home infrastructure. Isenberg blames incumbent self-interest (my favorite explanation) and the unhealthy willingness of our lawmakers to go along with their demands. —Isenberg makes the increasingly common point that:
FTTH is a political no-no in the US because the interests of incumbent telcos and cablecos inordinately drive public policy. FTTH eliminates the scarcity of connectivity that makes what telcos sell valuable. It’s even worse for the cablecos–TV over IP, which FTTH would make possible, would decimate the cablecos just as VoIP is gutting the telcos today. Terrence McGarty of the Merton Group says that today’s practical FTTH architectures destroy monopoly control. Telcos and cablecos, realizing this, have erected political barriers to FTTH; for example, the fiber exemption in the most recent FCC Triennial Review.
Regular readers of our site will not be surprised at that conclusion but what might further interest you is his reporting on the rapidly falling expense of installing fiber optic networks; a factor that makes fiber even more economically advantageous than it has been to date. Even factoring out the wrong-headed temptation to drop universal service in favor of easy bucks (which won't tempt our utility) that's great.

That the price of connecting homes has been dropping rapidly can be nothing but good news for our local utility.

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