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neighborhood densities (was: Internet Access in Japan, was: something else)

  • From: David Barak
  • Date: Tue Oct 23 15:30:25 2007
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--- On Tue, 10/23/07, Leo Bicknell <[email protected]> wrote:

> While I'm sure you can find some row houses in
> $big_city that have
> old copper I find it hard to believe that "pre WWII
> wire" is holding
> us back.  Wasn't it Sprint back in like 1982 or 1984
> made a big
> deal about their entire long haul network being converted
> to fiber?

You can also find them in $Medium_City - Washington DC has all kinds of old copper(aside: I just removed 4 old, unused 66 blocks from my home - I have no idea what the previous owners did with all that...).  As a reference data point, consider the number of houses with aluminum electrical wiring - there is a brisk business for electricians in replacing that, and those houses were unlikely to have high-quality phone wires laid to them.

Also, I've dealt with a whole lot of tall buildings in some large cities where the conduits are quite full, such that technicans routinely reuse currently-in-use pairs.

> What percentage of US high rises have fiber to the basement
> and
> high speed Internet offered to residents?  Shouldn't
> NYC be on par
> with Tokyo by this point?  Chicago?  Miami?

See above conduit issues.  There are certainly opportunities for a canny provider, but the difficulty is figuring out how to get customers to shop on quantity rather than on price, because reusing the existing build will almost always be cheaper than doing an overbuild.  The incumbent doesn't have much incentive - they're already capturing the money there, and a challenger would need to be both better and cheaper.  That's possible, but not easy.  

> Doesn't the same model work for low rise apartments,
> the kind found
> in suburbia all across the US?  Why don't any of them
> have building
> provided services, rather relying on cable modems for ADSL
> all the way
> back to the CO?

If the number of prospective customers per fiber termination is lower than the density required to make a profit on the service anytime soon, there is little incentive to do an overbuild.

David Barak
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