San Francisco may finally get decent internet access, thanks to municipal fiber

Precedent suggests that communications infrastructure works best and most efficiently when it’s regulated as a utility, like water or electricity. Latvia doesn’t have a bunch of different companies competing to build internet infrastructure but they beat our pants off in terms of average connection speed.

Even if Sonic eventually makes their fiber network available to the other three quarters of San Franciscans there’s no guarantee they won’t dramatically jack up their rates after cornering the market, and it doesn’t really make sense for a bunch of different internet providers to build competing fiber networks any more than it would make sense for a bunch of different water companies to build competing sets of pipes.

Drawing an equivalency between the US and Latvia doesn’t really work given the huge differences between the two countries.

I do agree that there are definitely situations where Muni owned fiber would be great, and in fact what SF are looking at with a muni owned wholesale level and independent retail levels makes a fair amount of sense. There just needs to be some sensible evaluation of how it’s deployed and who’s operating it. Keep an eye on CTC though, they have a reputation of wanting to set up sweetheart deals for certain ISPs at the cost of local providers.

Read up on Sonic, I’d be stunned if they jacked up their rates, for decades now they’ve built a solid reputation on delivering quality service at competitive prices. Sonic is a company with some integrity and they’ve consistently demonstrated that.

I like Sonic, I just don’t like the idea of any one private company having a monopoly on the local fiber network.

likewise, that’s why I prefer multiple independent networks that are redundant of each other than a single network that’s managed by an out of town or out of state entity.

I can have FIOS or Comcast, but the price pisses me off. Am I ignorant thinking that this service should really be $30-40 not $80 for just broadband? I feel they screw with the prices to drive up the profitable phone and TV subscriptions. Some of you are experts, what should broadband cost if the service was stripped down: no hosting, no email, no huge advertising budgets?

“Multiple companies independently building competing fiber networks to serve the same neighborhood” strikes me as an inefficient mess, just like it would be a logistical nightmare to have multiple phone companies or multiple electricity companies running their utility lines through the same neighborhood.

We already have that mess here where we have both Comcast & FIOS on the poles, but we get none of the benefits of competition since they’re a duopoly competing on anything but price.

That’s exactly why we need to regulate internet access as a utility just like water and electricity and telephone land lines.

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I won’t bore you with the whole sordid story of my city privatizing its water system so the mayor could plug that year’s budget hole. Now it’s owned by French Multinational Suez, and prices are sky high.


Turn of the century NYC:

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