Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Which would be fine so long as there's a reasonable amount of competition. Too little competition means price gouging. Too much competition means everyone focuses on cheating rather than creating value. It would be more productive to focus on figuring out how to enact regulation/deregulation to tune the level of competition rather than bashing capitalism.

The underlying problem is the market economics of laying fiber basically means it doesn't make sense for more than 1-2 companies to do it in a given geographical area. :/

We need municipal public fiber that is leased to anyone who wants to operate an ISP.

But, once the municipality is done with the fiber, then running the service is "relatively easy." Since the primary asset you are selling is bandwidth, what would be left to let more than one competitor compete for/differentiate? Service? Possibly, maybe faster setup times, etc. But those are "one time" things only.

I think bandwidth is becoming a necessity and local government can deliver it (for the record, I did not vote for Obama last time! ;-)

If multiple providers were leasing the fiber, they could compete on how they handle the data on the other side of the last mile: how they're connected to other networks (peering and transit), price, oversubscription rates, acceptable use policy, willingness to install caching boxes provided by content providers, what services are included and their quality (dns/mail/vpn/homepage/news/shell).

The ISPs would still need to pay for the interconnects b/t the municipal ISP and, say, Level 3. So performance, etc. as well.

The way I envision it working is:

FTTH is the municipal and they hook it up to a single interchange. From there, someone has to pay for the routing to the rest of the internet, etc. Its the FTTH that is screwed up.

Ask Australia and the UK. Works great for them.

ISPs here (the UK) primarily use the same physical last mile (along with their own hardware in the exchanges), and often the same backbone infrastructure, but differentiate on pricing and service.

There's also enough money caught up in the retail ISP business that if the infrastructure maintainers failed to do their jobs, the retail ISPs could reasonably compete with them, at least in key markets. This, combined with a strong telecoms regulator pressuring them into developing and maintaining infrastructure, generally works out reasonably well; much of the country, including a lot of small towns, now have 50-70Mbps unlimited unshapedc FTTC for a reasonable price.

This article goes into more detail of why it works and how the US should follow it (from a former brit): http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/06/we-dont-need-net-...

Nope, in urban areas it definitely makes sense for 4, 5 or more companies to offer broadband in a single apartment building; in countries where this isn't artificially restricted this is the natural result of market competition. Suburbs are different, but USA lacks competition even in cities that have extremely dense population and huge demand.

"Centralized planning"?

I don't think you can "tune the level" because the thing is not algorithmic. Every town / situation is unique. That's why every project is managed at the local and state levels, gets political, some interest group wants discounts, etc. In the meantime, all a company wants to do is to recoup its billions.

Maybe this is a problem where over time the government takes over and gives ok service for a while, then it sucks again (as many government initiatives do), then it gets privatized again, etc., all over a few decades (so irrelevant for today's consumers).

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact