Re: [gaia] [hrpc] Fibre Feudalism

"Michael J. Oghia" <mike.oghia@gmail.com> Sun, 21 October 2018 01:55 UTC

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References: <CAD_CWO2=WS0E5HSrLmxPaMtESV5CVe+oKWDCDst6K8=7i=UpTA@mail.gmail.com> <b88433a6-873d-2333-ee40-8011d0c7d145@article19.org> <CAD_CWO1aHsQh-Rmq0Pd7J5Hc35Qfs5+A--y9MCy3kHt_Qsz0AA@mail.gmail.com> <2e2991e8-e44b-d90f-5411-9e2c2fadddba@article19.org> <770B9455-BAC5-4131-A871-0678B949F61D@webfoundation.org> <CAMCMt7qTdChXg7u2Ag1xBcWh-W+176kxjEXj_2gxPCBTbnqXVg@mail.gmail.com> <2899a801-f595-ceaa-ccba-8860fc3c18fb@pangea.org> <3ee64859-50b9-8bf9-2f41-da7434b2fa50@article19.org>
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From: "Michael J. Oghia" <mike.oghia@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2018 21:54:35 -0400
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To: amelia@article19.org
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Subject: Re: [gaia] [hrpc] Fibre Feudalism
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Thanks for this Amelia. I hope to meet you one day and continue this
conversation.

Best,
-Michael



On Sat, Oct 20, 2018 at 2:22 PM Amelia Andersdotter <amelia@article19.org>
wrote:

> On 2018-10-20 19:18, Leandro Navarro wrote:
> >
> > Hi all, interesting discussion,
> >
> > On 20/10/18 13:30, Michael J. Oghia wrote:
> >> Hi Amelia, Sonia, all:
> >>
> >> Forgive my ignorance, but I'm quite surprised to hear that USO/USF
> >> within the EU context. I find it a bit disheartening, honestly. For
> >> much time now, I've seen USO/USF as a positive policy option to
> >> encourage network diversity and especially help small networks or
> >> networks working in rural/remote areas (e.g.., CNs).
> >
> > USO in my limited understanding usually works against small networks,
> > and nearly always only in favor of the largest "universal" (national)
> > telecoms. The funds are given to a single (e.g. BT in UK, Telefonica
> > in ES) national operator in exchange of connecting more of the
> > unconnected users with a minimal service under a cost threshold.
> >
> > For instance, the UK recently has been revising the USO policy:
> >
> >
> https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8146#fullreport
> >
> BEREC has made a study here:
>
> https://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec/download/0/6973-berec-update-survey-on-the-implementatio_0.pdf
>
> Among the six countries that have no USO in the EU, only Germany doesn't
> have great infrastructure and three have very OK infra (EE, SE and RO).
> US provisions can work out OK, but the problem is in the information
> asymmetry: the big companies will be much better placed to argue with
> regulators that funds should go to *them*. A USO strategy needs to take
> into account this information asymmetry/power imbalance at the
> regulator/regulatee level (can it be countered? how?).
>
> best regards,
>
> Amelia
>
>
> > They are targeting a cost threshold of £3,400 per connection (limit
> > from the total cost of implementation of several billions of GBP) to
> > provide 10/1 Mbps connection. BT is the only USO provider (KCOM in a
> > specific area for curious reasons). As you can see the focus is
> > bringing more "customers" matching a minimum of quality by "feeding"
> > the largest (most capable?) operator in that country.
> >
> >
> https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/03/government-details-final-10mbps-for-all-uk-broadband-uso-design.html
> >
> > For instance, one fibre community network fears the effect of that:
> >
> >
> https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/11/b4rn-fear-10mbps-uk-broadband-uso-may-hamper-rural-ftth-rollout.html
> >
> > However there can be alternative models, where the funds are not given
> > to just one operator, but to every citizen that qualifies. Bottom-up
> > instead of top-down. That may contribute to increase alternatives and
> > not just reinforce the largest operators (at the exchange of moving to
> > a more "feudal" model): https://b4rn.org.uk/b4rn-service/gbvs/
> >
> > We also have/had a related discussion in the IRTF GAIA WG, and
> > probably will reappear in the next IGF in the presentation of the next
> > Global Information Society Watch report around community networks:
> >
> >
> https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/es/content/igf-2018-apc-giswatch-launch
> >
> > Cheers, Leandro.
> >
> >>
> >> Given my lack of experience with actually building networks, though,
> >> perhaps this is just naivety and wishful thinking on my part. I'm
> >> glad that Sonia replied, though, because I had A4AI's 2018 paper
> >> <
> https://webfoundation.org/docs/2018/03/Using-USAFs-to-Close-the-Gender-Digital-Divide-in-Africa.pdf
> >
> >> on USO/USF in mind when drafting this email – though models (and
> >> their outcomes) differ based on country policy, regional context,
> >> politics, the amount of incumbent operators, etc. etc. I also
> >> appreciate her qualification that, traditionally, USO have been more
> >> effective in poorer countries (which is in line with my thought).
> >>
> >> So, thank you for clarifying @Sonia, and I'd be very interested in a
> >> webinar on this. Please share the 2018 report next week when it's
> >> published (I'm really interested in the policy implications
> >> surrounding connectivity).
> >>
> >> Best,
> >> -Michael
> >>
> >> On Sat, Oct 20, 2018 at 6:07 AM Sonia Jorge
> >> <sonia.jorge@webfoundation.org
> >> <mailto:sonia.jorge@webfoundation.org>> wrote:
> >>
> >>     Hi All,
> >>
> >>     Interesting discussion here. One that might warrant a
> >>     webinar/conference call among interested people? Steve, what do
> >>     you think? I would be happy to join a stimulating discussion on
> >>     the topic, starting with your blog and the Access Model.
> >>
> >>     Amelia, can you point me to some evidence or a paper (anything
> >>     you may have) that shows that relationship between USO and
> >>     quality of infrastructure? I find that very difficult to believe
> >>     but open to be proven wrong.
> >>
> >>     Something important to keep in mind is that countries where USO
> >>     have been more instrumental are also countries that have
> >>     traditionally been poorer and behind in terms of infrastructure
> >>     development; this is certainly the case in some Southern European
> >>     countries and maybe Eastern European ones as well. So the level
> >>     of economic development overall is a key variable.
> >>
> >>     As for Africa and/or infrastructure investments, I could share a
> >>     lot here, but for now let me call your attention to some reports
> >>     we produced and that can add to the discussion.
> >>     - A4AI’s annual Affordability
> >>     Report: https://a4ai.org/affordability-report/report/2017/. Note
> >>     that the 2018 report will be launched and published on Tuesday
> >>     and addresses key questions relevant to this discussion,
> >>     specially on costs associated with infrastructure investment
> >>     - a recent blog on infrastructure costs and
> >>     challenges:
> https://a4ai.org/affordable-internet-access-the-cost-challenge/
> >>     - For those interested in USFs in Africa,
> >>     see
> https://a4ai.org/universal-service-and-access-funds-an-untapped-resource-to-close-the-gender-digital-divide/
> >>
> >>     Best,
> >>     Sonia Jorge
> >>     Executive Director, A4AI
> >>     Head of Digital Inclusion, Web Foundation
> >>     1-617-905-7819
> >>
> >>     On Oct 20, 2018, at 05:33, Amelia Andersdotter
> >>     <amelia@article19.org <mailto:amelia@article19.org>> wrote:
> >>
> >>>     Hi all,
> >>>
> >>>     It might be helpful to know that EU countries where Universal
> >>>     Service
> >>>     Obligations have been extensively used and applied, also
> >>>     typically have
> >>>     worse infrastructure than EU countries where USO wasn't well
> >>>     applied.
> >>>     Applying USO means you put the government in a position where it
> >>>     faces
> >>>     off with the service provider under USO in a negotiation. The
> >>>     service
> >>>     provider has information advantage and typically a better
> >>>     relationship
> >>>     to its consumers than the government has to its citizens (so a
> >>>     communications advantage too). I lack experience of the African
> >>>     markets
> >>>     and their regulators, but in broad strokes those are the issues
> >>>     faced in
> >>>     various European jurisdictions with USO and I'm assuming similar
> >>>     difficulties would arise in the African setting. This is a bit
> >>>     theoretical, and I'm just curious how to avoid these information
> >>>     asymmetries?
> >>>
> >>>     As it is described by Steven, the current feudalism (operators
> >>>     A, B and
> >>>     C all collaborate as soon as they own physical fibre networks) also
> >>>     incentivises many actors to get into the infrastructure market.
> >>>     That's
> >>>     fundamentally a good thing: it means not all the last-mile is
> >>>     owned by a
> >>>     few big actors who need to be regulated by a regulator who is
> >>>     fundamentally at a disadvantage compared to the big actors. It's
> the
> >>>     main criticism targetting the Local Loop Unbundling reform of
> >>>     1999 in
> >>>     the EU as well - challengers don't invest enough in last-mile
> >>>     infrastructure (except in those EU markets where many different
> >>>     actors
> >>>     have had regulatory incentives to build their own networks, or
> where
> >>>     there has been purposeful public investment in last-mile). Or am I
> >>>     misunderstanding something?
> >>>
> >>>     best regards,
> >>>
> >>>     Amelia
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>     On 2018-10-04 20:52, Steve Song wrote:
> >>>>     Hi Mallory,
> >>>>
> >>>>     Thanks for that!  I think you are on exactly the right track in
> >>>>     terms
> >>>>     of thinking about economic models.  Thanks to Erick Huerta of
> >>>>     Rhizomatica, I am very taken with the thinking of French economic
> >>>>     historian, Fernand Braudel.  Braudel argues that the world has
> >>>>     three
> >>>>     economies not one.  A global economy which is the well-known
> >>>>     capitalist economic model where monopoly is the perfect end-game
> in
> >>>>     theory for every player.  Google, Colgate, Coca-Cola, all the
> usual
> >>>>     suspects form part of this economy.  The second economy is the
> >>>>     Local
> >>>>     Economy where services are specific to the city/community where
> you
> >>>>     live.  This might be your local butcher, baker, plumbers or even
> >>>>     larger service provider which offers services that grow out of
> >>>>     local
> >>>>     demand and which serve local needs in more unique ways than the
> >>>>     Global
> >>>>     Economy.  The third economy is the Subsistence economy where
> market
> >>>>     forces may not operate because there is not sufficient traditional
> >>>>     capital to make it work.  This is the world of the informal
> economy
> >>>>     with barters, cooperatives, community initiatives that directly
> >>>>     contribute to the overall economy but are largely unmeasured by
> >>>>     traditional statistics.  And woven among these are both
> >>>>     commercial and
> >>>>     commons models, which can operate with varying success at the
> >>>>     different levels.
> >>>>
> >>>>     When viewed through this lens, it is easy to see how regulation
> has
> >>>>     only enabled the global economy in telecommunication and that
> >>>>     there is
> >>>>     a need for enabling regulations to nurture telecom initiatives
> >>>>     in the
> >>>>     Local and Subsistence economies.
> >>>>
> >>>>     For me this also highlights a key flaw in models like the World
> >>>>     Bank's
> >>>>     Access Gap model
> >>>>     <
> http://blogs.worldbank.org/ic4d/the-gaps-model-and-universal-access>gt;. It
> >>>>     is not so much that the model is wrong, it is just
> one-dimensional;
> >>>>     assuming that successful global capitalism is the best of all
> >>>>     possible
> >>>>     outcomes.
> >>>>
> >>>>     Writing more about this shortly.
> >>>>
> >>>>     Cheers... Steve
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>     On Thu, 4 Oct 2018 at 10:57, Mallory Knodel
> >>>>     <mallory@article19.org <mailto:mallory@article19.org>
> >>>>     <mailto:mallory@article19.org>> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>        Hi Steve,
> >>>>
> >>>>        Thanks for sharing. I read it last night and I really
> >>>>     enjoyed it.. I
> >>>>        think the metaphor is solid economically. And politically,
> >>>>     well, that
> >>>>        could be another post in and of itself.
> >>>>
> >>>>        The agrarian commons would of course be ideal, but what we
> >>>>     have is a
> >>>>        sort of old-world economic structure that politically
> >>>>     controls and
> >>>>        profits from (what should be) the commons. This sets you up
> >>>>     nicely to
> >>>>        call for modern economic models ranging from squarely
> >>>>     capitalist to
> >>>>        socialist, and even (back to) the commons!
> >>>>
> >>>>        I'm CCing HRPC because it might be of interest to those who
> have
> >>>>        raised
> >>>>        issues of centralisation on the list in the past.
> >>>>
> >>>>        -Mallory
> >>>>
> >>>>        On 04/10/2018 15:30, Steve Song wrote:
> >>>>>     Hi all,
> >>>>>
> >>>>>     This is a reflection on the current state of terrestrial fibre
> >>>>>     infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa (but I think applies just
> >>>>>     about
> >>>>>     everywhere).
> >>>>>
> >>>>>     https://manypossibilities.net/2018/10/fibre-feudalism/
> >>>>>
> >>>>>     Curious to know how apt you feel the metaphor is or any other
> >>>>        reactions
> >>>>>     you may have.
> >>>>>
> >>>>>     Thanks..... Steve Song
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>     _______________________________________________
> >>>>>     gaia mailing list
> >>>>>     gaia@irtf.org <mailto:gaia@irtf.org> <mailto:gaia@irtf.org>
> >>>>>     https://www.irtf.org/mailman/listinfo/gaia
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>        --
> >>>>        Mallory Knodel
> >>>>        Head of Digital :: article19.org <http://article19.org>
> >>>>     <http://article19.org>
> >>>>        gpg fingerprint :: E3EB 63E0 65A3 B240 BCD9  B071 0C32 A271
> >>>>     BD3C C780
> >>>>
> >>>>        _______________________________________________
> >>>>        gaia mailing list
> >>>>        gaia@irtf.org <mailto:gaia@irtf.org> <mailto:gaia@irtf.org>
> >>>>        https://www.irtf.org/mailman/listinfo/gaia
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>     --
> >>>>     +1 902 529 0046
> >>>>     stevesong@nsrc.org <mailto:stevesong@nsrc.org>
> >>>>     <mailto:stevesong@nsrc.org>
> >>>>     http://nsrc..org <http://nsrc.org>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>     _______________________________________________
> >>>>     hrpc mailing list
> >>>>     hrpc@irtf.org <mailto:hrpc@irtf.org>
> >>>>     https://www.irtf.org/mailman/listinfo/hrpc
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>     --
> >>>     Amelia Andersdotter
> >>>     Technical Consultant, Digital Programme
> >>>
> >>>     ARTICLE19
> >>>     www.article19.org <http://www.article19.org>
> >>>
> >>>     PGP: 3D5D B6CA B852 B988 055A 6A6F FEF1 C294 B4E8 0B55
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>     _______________________________________________
> >>>     gaia mailing list
> >>>     gaia@irtf.org <mailto:gaia@irtf.org>
> >>>     https://www.irtf.org/mailman/listinfo/gaia
> >>     _______________________________________________
> >>     gaia mailing list
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> >>
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
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> >
> > _______________________________________________
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>
>
> --
> Amelia Andersdotter
> Technical Consultant, Digital Programme
>
> ARTICLE19
> www.article19.org
>
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