Re: [gaia] Gigabit/fibre networks, worth documenting/comparing experiences and lessons beyond the usual (market)

Steve Song <stevesong@nsrc.org> Tue, 18 September 2018 14:33 UTC

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From: Steve Song <stevesong@nsrc.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 11:33:30 -0300
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Gigabit/fibre networks, worth documenting/comparing experiences and lessons beyond the usual (market)
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Hi Henning,

On Mon, 17 Sep 2018 at 18:25, Henning Schulzrinne <hgs@cs.columbia.edu>
wrote:

> The problem with case studies and similar approaches is that the
> underlying economic, regulatory and legal conditions differ dramatically
> between countries, and these distinguishing characteristics are often not
> obvious. After all, there is a natural tendency to assume that one's own
> country is typical.
>
> In particular, access to rights-of-way and universal service funds differ
> dramatically and change over time. As one example, the US just had an
> auction ("CAF II") for underserved and unserved areas. This auction may or
> may not be repeated, in the US or elsewhere. Different states in the US
> have different rules who can build and operate networks and who can access
> rights of way (poles and conduits), with 20+ states making it difficult or
> impossible for municipal networks to be created. Rural electric
> cooperatives exist in some places, but not in others, and many of them have
> no interest or leadership willingness in becoming network operators.
>
> Thus, beyond banal generalities ("have a business plan!" "work with your
> community!"), it seems hard to provide useful cross-region (or
> cross-country) advice that isn't wrong or useless most of the time. It's a
> little easier for networks that aren't meant to be businesses, but that's
> probably not a scalable model, at least longer term. Citing the same dozen
> or so counter examples again and again just illustrates that they are
> creatures of special circumstances.
>

I think the purpose of the case studies is, at least in part, to surface
policy and regulatory innovations that might be replicated elsewhere.  Was
"CAF II" a good thing or a bad thing?  What can be learned from it that
might be improved on elsewhere?  I completely agree that there is no such
thing as best practice but there are lots of good practices that deserve to
be better known.  If a community network has been particularly empowered by
existing policy/regulation on wayleaves for example, surely this is
something we want to document so that another community can promote this
policy/regulation in their region/country.


> One general observation: Building networks a few thousand people at a
> time, as stand-alone entities, scales badly. Nice for photo-ops, volunteer
> tourism and annual reports, but with limited overall impact and dubious
> sustainability. For example, in the US, lots of small rural electric
> cooperatives got together and bid as a single entity once they realized
> that bidding individually, one tiny coop at a time, was a losing
> proposition - partially, because they couldn't hire enough auction
> consultants. (Typically, one consultant is not allowed to advise multiple
> entities in auctions under anti-collusion rules.) Many such local networks
> have found that they need to outsource purchasing and operations (NOC) to
> larger organizations that can hire, train and retain skilled staff.
>

With respect I think you are mistaken.  Building networks a few thousand
people at a time scales badly within the existing regulatory regime in most
countries which have been designed to support large, nationwide, monolithic
entities.  The example you cite is not one of failed scaling but of failed
regulation that might otherwise empower these small co-operatives.  WiFi is
a great example of a technology that has scaled ubiquitously a few dozen or
few hundred people at a time, nevermind a few thousand.  There is a
significant opportunity for spectrum management to become much more
granular (geographically and otherwise) in order to achieve this.

Regards... Steve Song


> Henning
>
> On Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 4:56 PM Jane Coffin <coffin@isoc.org> wrote:
>
>> Let’s get the classification down for sure.
>>
>> I am seeing the same thing and just came from about 3.5 hours outside of
>> Bishkek where the CN we were working with is partnering with a fibre
>> provider to sort backhaul+ and possibly just fibre connectivity.
>>
>> Pushing the margin and showing people options is important…particularly
>> as we keep hearing that current operational models for some mobile
>> operators do not hit ROI in villages of 5-3,000 and under.
>>
>> So, what does a regulator do when the licensing conditions suggest that
>> the operator (who can not meet ROI) is obliged to provide service.  And,
>> after they both realize that the licensing conditions can not be met, and
>> service can not be provided – we run in circles.  It seems obvious that
>> community/other local access networks tip the balance, spur various
>> innovations in licensing, U/S (and changes to same), and spectrum.  And, it
>> is clear that a partnership can be made between some mobile/other operators
>> and CNs (if they choose to do that).
>>
>>
>>
>> Note by the way that the S. African authorities came to the 3rd African
>> CN Summit a few weeks ago, and indicated that they were going to create a
>> new digital fund (as USF is just not working).  Perhaps our mapping
>> includes whether there is USF and the last time it was administered?...
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Internet Society | www.internetsociety.org
>>
>> Skype:  janercoffin
>>
>> Mobile/WhatsApp:  +1.202.247.8429
>>
>>
>>
>> *From: *gaia <gaia-bounces@irtf.org> on behalf of Steve Song <
>> stevesong@nsrc.org>
>> *Date: *Monday, September 17, 2018 at 6:13 PM
>> *To: *"gaia@irtf.org" <gaia@irtf.org>
>> *Subject: *Re: [gaia] Gigabit/fibre networks, worth
>> documenting/comparing experiences and lessons beyond the usual (market)
>>
>>
>>
>> 100% agree on the case studies and there are some cracking examples like
>> Guifi.net and B4RN but I feel like I don't have a sense of the landscape
>> yet which is why building a catalogue to begin with would really help me.
>> From community-driven but ultimately private sector fibre initiatives like
>> Parkhurst in Johannesburg to electricity cooperatives embracing fibre in
>> the U.S, there are a host of different models out there and some important
>> lessons to be learned.
>>
>>
>>
>> Interesting insights for me is the highly variable relationship between
>> the community, local government and the private sector.  Sometimes local
>> government is the hero and sometimes they are the villain.
>>
>>
>>
>> B4RN exists largely in spite of local government.  In other cases
>> municipalities have led the way.  Municipal bonds seems likely a very
>> interesting approach for local government led models.  So much so that
>> there is a startup (https://neighborly.com/) that offers
>> community-bonds-as-a-service to municipalities.
>>
>>
>>
>> Parkhurst mobilised the community (government was not involved in any
>> way) to build a critical mass of commitment, with individual streets
>> competing with each other in the suburb to see who could raise the highest
>> level of commitment.  But then they handed it all to Vumatel who agreed to
>> build and operate the network (at no charge to the community) based on the
>> commitments.  Now they have fibre everywhere, which is a big improvement on
>> Telkom, but it is still very expensive.
>>
>>
>>
>> Cheers... Steve
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, 17 Sep 2018 at 11:12, Jane Coffin <coffin@isoc.org> wrote:
>>
>> Case-studies are key as we will want to give colleagues as much
>> concrete/practical examples as possible.
>>
>>
>>
>> On the issue of online spreadsheet or etherpad – leaving that to the team
>> here to pick
>>
>>
>>
>> Internet Society | www..internetsociety.org
>> <http://www.internetsociety.org>
>>
>> Skype:  janercoffin
>>
>> Mobile/WhatsApp:  +1.202.247.8429
>>
>>
>>
>> *From: *gaia <gaia-bounces@irtf.org> on behalf of "Song, Stephen" <
>> stephen.song@gmail.com>
>> *Date: *Monday, September 17, 2018 at 2:45 PM
>> *To: *"gaia@irtf.org" <gaia@irtf.org>
>> *Subject: *Re: [gaia] Gigabit/fibre networks, worth
>> documenting/comparing experiences and lessons beyond the usual (market)
>>
>>
>>
>> Hi all,
>>
>>
>>
>> I would be happy to help with this.  My inclination would be to start
>> small.  To begin with, I would be happy with a list of fibre initiatives,
>> the country, link to website/news articles, and some basic categorisation
>> of the network that we can evolve as we go.
>>
>>
>>
>> We could start with an online spreadsheet or etherpad?
>>
>>
>>
>> Cheers... Steve
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, 17 Sep 2018 at 07:39, Leandro Navarro <leandro@ac.upc.edu> wrote:
>>
>> Thanks a lot Mallory, Michael, Arjuna for your comments. BTW, the EY
>> report is just amazing !
>>
>>
>>
>> Following Mallory’s comment, we could outline (rather than detail) the
>> practices, classify them, relate them to IETF/IRTF activities and other
>> groups, collect requirements, recommendations, but something relatively
>> brief, + compile citations or case studies from the initiatives out there,
>> that could be a basis to understand the big picture, and identify action
>> points.
>>
>>
>>
>> Any other comment is very welcome. I will work on an initial outline and
>> will get back to the group in a week or two with a proposal..
>>
>>
>>
>> Cheers, Leandro.
>>
>>
>>
>> On 17 Sep 2018, at 11:01, Arjuna Sathiaseelan <
>> arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> Leandro, all
>>
>>
>>
>> this report  by EY is brilliant and has lot of info needed - especially
>> from Section 4:
>>
>>
>> https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-broadband-2022-unlocking-a-trillion-dollar-digital-economy/$FILE/ey-broadband-2022-unlocking-a-trillion-dollar-digital-economy.pdf
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 8 September 2018 at 20:27, Leandro Navarro <leandro@ac.upc.edu> wrote:
>>
>> Hi everyone,
>>
>>
>>
>> In the recent days I’ve seen several initiatives around fibre access
>> infrastructure,
>>
>>
>>
>> * Some coming from rural communities such as:
>>
>>  - this nice video documentary from a community effort in Scotland:
>> https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/09/video-documentary-looks-at-balquhidder-community-ftth-build-in-scotland.html
>> <https://www.ispreview.co...uk/index.php/2018/09/video-documentary-looks-at-balquhidder-community-ftth-build-in-scotland.html>
>>
>>  - The well know B4RN community operator:
>> https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/03/b4rn-helping-expand-1gbps-ftth-broadband-rural-cheshire.html
>> <https://www.ispreview..co.uk/index.php/2018/03/b4rn-helping-expand-1gbps-ftth-broadband-rural-cheshire.html>
>>
>>
>>  - Several other optical networks:
>> https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/five-projects-got-first-ever-european-broadband-award
>>
>>  - Including guifi.net: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD3HYeD4Lm4
>>
>>  - First nations such as http://knet.ca/ among others:
>> https://www.internetsociety.org/events/indigenous-connectivity-summit/2017/presentations/
>> and related aspects of electricity, water, economic development and
>> employment, etc.
>>
>>
>>
>> * Traditional or new telcos such as https://www.gigaclear.com/ etc.
>>
>>
>>
>> * Other players such as google fibre: https://fiber.googleblog.com/ In
>> this article they discuss about lessons learned
>> https://hbr.org/2018/09/why-google-fiber-is-high-speed-internets-most-successful-failure
>>
>>
>>
>> The list is endless.
>>
>>
>>
>> All seem successful in different ways, with different lessons learned
>> about scale, local investment, infrastructure sharing like ducts and poles,
>> cost reduction from the involvement of volunteers, involvement of content
>> and service providers (googlefiber), etc. In the netcommons.eu project
>> we have looked at different business and organisational models for
>> community networks specifically, but there are other successful models that
>> have socio-economic impact.
>>
>>
>>
>> *Would you find useful to compile a GAIA/IRTF document about good
>> practices, lessons learned, to build high-speed/fibre/gigabit network
>> infrastructures in challenging environments? which means beyond the last
>> frontier of rural, remote, underdeveloped, underserved areas.*
>>
>>
>>
>> By the way, there is this upcoming related event:
>> https://www.internetsociety.org/events/indigenous-connectivity-summit/2018/
>> <https://www..internetsociety.org/events/indigenous-connectivity-summit/2018/>
>>
>> The report from the previous edition is a recommended read:
>> https://www.internetsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-01-04_ICS-Report-final.pdf
>>
>>
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> --
>> Leandro Navarro
>> http://people.ac.upc.edu/leandro  http://dsg.ac.upc.edu
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>>
>>
>>
>> Arjuna Sathiaseelan | http://sathiaseelan.org
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Leandro Navarro
>> http://people.ac.upc.edu/leandro  http://dsg.ac.upc.edu
>>
>>
>>
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>>
>>
>> --
>>
>> Steve Song
>>
>> +1 902 529 0046
>>
>> http://manypossibilities.net
>> http://nsrc.org
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>>
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>>
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>>
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