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Fiber to the People

Slashdot carried this story and I was very curious to read it. My thoughts are that if you want more awareness on putting REAL broadband to people in the states the government right now is not the place to look. Maybe in 5-10 years they’ll see this as a perception problem. But for now I don’t think so.
Larry Lessig has a great idea. Let people own the fiber. Once you put it in the realm of the people on an area who will probably be using the fiber you’ll see a bit more care for it.

Most economists would leap from the premise of a natural monopoly to the conclusion that such a monopoly must be regulated. But regulation is not the end that McAdams seeks. Ownership is. If a traditional network provider owned an AFN in a particular area, that network provider, acting rationally, would charge customers a monopoly price, or restrict service to get its monopoly benefit. But if the customer owned the network, then the customer could get the same access at a much lower price and be free of use restrictions. McAdams is pushing – and Burlington and other cities are actually deploying – customer-owned AFNs.

The point is obvious when you think about corporations. Boeing, for example, has installed a massive AFN on its campuses. That AFN enables the company to offer itself extraordinary network capacity at extremely low cost. Technically, Boeing is the monopoly provider of network services to Boeing. But as McAdams nicely puts it (so nicely that we might call this the McAdams theorem), you don’t monopolize yourself. Boeing gets cheaper services than if a network provider owned the same natural monopoly – indeed, vastly cheaper, McAdams argues, when you look at the efficiencies of AFNs.

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