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Owning the Last Mile

Cringely has written a fantastic piece on treating the last mile as cooperatively owned infrastructure.  Based on conversations he has had with my friend Bob Frankston, it’s a seemingly radical view of what might happen if the users of the network owned the access piece.  On IP Democracy, Mitch Shapiro has published an additional lengthy commentary. 

Radical?  Actually, not really.  Developers of planned communities have been doing this for years.  In 1999 I had the opportunity to tour a development outside Indianapolis doing exactly what Cringely and Frankston suggest.  Each home was provisioned with fibre at the curb, converging on a NOC at the center of the community.  The community owned and managed all the utilities provided to home owners, and took bids from service providers for the raw services.  Telephony, television, internet and so on were provided to home owners at an attractive bundled rate, returning a small profit to the developer / manager of the NOC.

It’s a great idea.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Jason Drohn July 2, 2006, 6:48 am

    It is a truly great idea. The item he referenced for $1500 a month was a T1 line which is capable of 1.5 megabytes per second access. In the article he said "gigabit" connection which is true but misleading. The difference is that there is 8 bits in a byte. That is the only distinction. Plus, the more users, the more bandwidth problems which cable us currently suffering from. The internet is only as fast for a user as the smallest data pipe. Most home networks are routed in 100 megabytes per second twisted pair cable, which is a potential bottleneck. There is 1 gigabyte per second cable available, but not many people's hardware is upgraded.

    An addition to this trend is the use of a wireless technology called WiMax. It guarantees access wirelessly to a 20 mile radius, perfect for a college, community, etc. If you can connect WiMax nodes with T1, T3, or bigger fiber optic cable, it would be truly revolutionary.

    I am sorry for the long comment. I am developing a company around last mile transmission which will be started this fall (2006). It deals with all of the things that I just mentioned, but I can tell you that truly high speed internet access will be no more than $15 a month. No more small data pipes… Look for it on my blog, I will be writing about it.

    I would love to talk more about it, if you would like, email me jdrohn74@gmail.com!

    And thank you!!


  • Alec July 3, 2006, 7:47 am

    Love to talk Jason.

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