Re: [gaia] [hrpc] Fibre Feudalism

Amelia Andersdotter <amelia@article19.org> Sat, 20 October 2018 18:27 UTC

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To: Henning Schulzrinne <hgs@cs.columbia.edu>
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From: Amelia Andersdotter <amelia@article19.org>
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Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2018 20:27:14 +0200
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Subject: Re: [gaia] [hrpc] Fibre Feudalism
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On 2018-10-20 18:51, Henning Schulzrinne wrote:
> I'm not sure which countries you are specifically referring to, but in
> the US, we have a combination of
> * no USO in many states (and USO is only for voice service)
> * no loop unbundling
> * and essentially no facilities-based competition except where cable
> already had offered a video product before the Internet came around
> * and among the highest per-month prices for residential broadband
> (the lowest unbundled price is usually $65 to $70, once you add fees,
> taxes, surcharges and so on).
>
> (There are a few exceptions, such as some local wireless providers in
> rural areas and a few rural electric cooperatives, but the number of
> customers served is well below 5% market share.)
>
> Are there countries that actually overbuild fiber at a significant scale?
>
Sweden might be a good case for you to study. Wholesale fibre companies
have been "warring" with each other to get to do roll-out in semi-rural
areas (they target households with roll-out offers.

See for instance this article (written by myself in Swedish) about
village networks:
https://www.dt.se/artikel/opinion/ledare/amelia-andersdotter-lokalt-engagemang-gor-att-dalarnas-landsbygd-ofta-ar-battre-uppkopplad-an-storstan
It's about connectivity here:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/790+91+Gr%C3%B6velsj%C3%B6n/@62.0964529,12.3044386,15z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x4669578fd00f3451:0x50fc065359534d20!8m2!3d62.0964536!4d12.3131934


"Overbuilding" is still pushing it: normally any individual household
does not end up with more than one fibre connection.

best,

Amelia


> Henning
>
> On Sat, Oct 20, 2018 at 5:33 AM 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>. 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 <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
>     >     >
>     >     >
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>     >     >
>     >
>     >
>     >     --
>     >     Mallory Knodel
>     >     Head of Digital :: article19.org <http://article19.org>
>     <http://article19.org>
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>     -- 
>     Amelia Andersdotter
>     Technical Consultant, Digital Programme
>
>     ARTICLE19
>     www.article19.org <http://www.article19.org>
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-- 
Amelia Andersdotter
Technical Consultant, Digital Programme

ARTICLE19
www.article19.org

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