Telecommunications over the past 100 years has evolved greatly. Starting with the advent of electrical, or signal based communications and evolving into photon or optical communications, all long distance telecommunication systems are based on these modern optical techniques. As such, these systems have been developed by the use of fiber-optic cabling that will carry these optical signals from one location to another. These fiber systems are very capital intensive and require a great deal of labor to install and usually focus on more lucrative enterprise customers for revenue. As a result, only a few telecommunications providers own these fiber systems. Almost everyday another merger or acquisition is announced, decreasing the already limited number of players.
The residential providers haven’t been much different. Many of the smaller CLEC (Common Local Exchange Carrier) operators have been merged or otherwise consolidated leaving a select few. Even these providers with whom have extensive residential customer bases have only selectively created fiber based networks for customer use. Many believe that this is a result of the ROI (return on investment) models employed by the residential service providers. Simply put, it would cost too much to build out to customer that may or may not want to buy the services that provider is selling at the price that the providers needs to sell them at to make a suitable profit for their investors. As a result, a large number of residential users still rely on copper cabling (xDSL) based services, which are distance sensitive and prone to outages during inclement weather events.
Open Access wants to solve this problem by removing the last mile hurdles from the residential service providers and enable innovation for companies who wish to enter into the residential marketplace. It is our belief that if the local municipalities create an Open Access fiber network, it will free the long felt restraints on the residential and business users to buy and invest in the companies that they believe will serve their needs the best, without allowing the monopoly to dictate the product offerings.
Why Local Control Matters
What if your community didn’t have paved roads? All of the in-town streets were one-lane dirt paths, and the more rural areas only had beaten trails. Would you want state regulations to limit your options for improving your community’s roadways?
That’s the situation we all face when it comes to fiber optic infrastructure. Copper lines were state-of-the-art for telecommunications during the Civil War. Cellular and satellite data rates are slower still and even more expensive to consumers.
And yet, big telecom and cable, which are authorized to expand, refuse to deploy fiber to all but a handful —and those are mostly people who already have another fiber optic option.
In contrast, municipalities have successfully deployed community-wide fiber optic networks, but some state laws prohibit them from expanding beyond their current service area—even though local leaders in other communities are inviting them to expand to serve their citizens.
In today’s world, the Internet is as important as properly maintained roads are to your community’s ability to attract industry, support existing business growth, educate your young people, retrain your adults for emerging job opportunities, and increasingly for healthcare delivery.
Fiber optic networks provide key competitive advantages for addressing all of these community challenges—some of the toughest we face.