Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It's Amazing to See People Learn Things

As a follower of the CATV and Telco critic on Backchannel I was amazed to see that she has finally grasped an element of reality, namely pole attachments. There are lots of hidden costs in building fiber and competing with the incumbents. Franchise is one, and a costly one. Pole attachments is another. To get that fiber from point A to point B you have to get some right of way. Been that way for centuries, it relates to property law, an old English concept that one would assume a lawyer would have some understanding of.

You see you have no right to the poles, you have to negotiate, with the Telco or Power company. You have to do pole counts, rights of way negotiations etc.

Our young newcomer to reality notes:

But many cities don’t control their own poles. In some areas, poles are controlled by utilities, or even telecom companies. Anyone hoping to string fiber in those places faces two nightmarish, indefinite periods of delay and uncontrolled costs: first getting an agreement in place with the pole owners, and then getting the poles physically ready for a new wire. We’ll call these steps Swamp One and Swamp Two.

Well that really is NOT new. Towns make money from the poles, however they are owned by third parties. So how can they "control" something they have no property right to? First year law school anyone?

She continues:

Swamp One: Attachment. At the moment, the FCC gives regulatory assistance (“pole attachment rights”) in negotiations with utility pole owners only to cable TV providers, companies selling internet access, and phone companies. The FCC’s assistance comes in the form of mandatory deadlines and set formulas for calculating fees to be paid to the pole owner.

 For anyone in the real world who had done this the process is rant with delays. And as an old colleague once said to me; "Delay is the deadliest form of denial" They do not say no, they just kick the can down the street! And Google thought they would change this world? Told them no fifteen years ago, but I guess if you have a big ego and lots of money then Newton's law do not apply to you!

She continues:

Swamp Two: Make-Ready. Even if a city wrestles into place an agreement with pole-owners that allows it to string fiber on their poles, or uses a company that has pole attachment help from the FCC, there’s still a gruesome, unpredictable process left to get the pole ready for a new attachment.

 This is just a corollary to the first problem. First get a pole attachment agreement and second wait.

This is a prime example of why wireless is the way to go. But this person seems to just want to attack the mountain hoping somehow that it will collapse and she can get herself and all her minions to the promised land. Fat chance!