Re: [gaia] [hrpc] Fibre Feudalism

Henning Schulzrinne <hgs@cs.columbia.edu> Sat, 20 October 2018 16:51 UTC

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From: Henning Schulzrinne <hgs@cs.columbia.edu>
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2018 12:51:07 -0400
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To: amelia@article19.org
Cc: hrpc@irtf.org, Gaia <gaia@irtf.org>
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Subject: Re: [gaia] [hrpc] Fibre Feudalism
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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?

Henning

On Sat, Oct 20, 2018 at 5:33 AM Amelia Andersdotter <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>> 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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> >     > gaia@irtf.org <mailto:gaia@irtf.org>
> >     > https://www.irtf.org/mailman/listinfo/gaia
> >     >
> >
> >
> >     --
> >     Mallory Knodel
> >     Head of Digital :: article19.org <http://article19.org>
> >     gpg fingerprint :: E3EB 63E0 65A3 B240 BCD9  B071 0C32 A271 BD3C C780
> >
> >     _______________________________________________
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> >     https://www.irtf.org/mailman/listinfo/gaia
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > +1 902 529 0046
> > stevesong@nsrc.org <mailto:stevesong@nsrc.org>
> > http://nsrc..org <http://nsrc.org>
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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>
>
> --
> Amelia Andersdotter
> Technical Consultant, Digital Programme
>
> ARTICLE19
> www.article19.org
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