Fiber = Important Book by Susan Crawford

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The crux of this new book by prof. Crawford is the necessary transition of the business models of Telcos & CableCos & internet network providers FROM copper link capacity/ bandwidth is scarce, expensive TO a market where fiber capacity is abundant and can be provided with a variety of price/performance -qualities.

This transition is brought about by the rollout of fiber optic cables, as a disruptive innovation, which started 40 years ago. The above mentioned parties of incumbents have resisted and even sabotaged this transition.

I am familiar with the following sequence when vested interest companies are confronted with breaktrough innovation:

  1. “there is no demand for that”, and if you show there is.
  2. “that can not be done technically”, and if you show it can work,
  3. “ok, but it will be very expensive to deploy and provisioning. And must be done exclusively by us” turns out they have internal rules of at least 40% ROI
  4. At that stage we have done it ourselves with a group of implementors who know what they do, without much overhead and shareholder demands for extraction of wealth.

In the USA and UK and Belgium these vested interrest parties from the times of Telephone networks and TV signal distribution have reorganised & merged themselves to be semi-monopolies for Internet network access. In countries like New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore and The Netherlands we succeeded in breaking open these monopolies and forcing the above mentioned transition by constructing private / closed user group backbone networks using dark-fibers or laying optic fiber cables and FttH networks ourselves.

I recommend that Americans but also Germans, Englanders and Belgians read this book and apply it !!! We can interconnect and create synergy over light links across local and foreign borders, to benefit all.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist


Fiber -The Coming Tech Revolution and Why America Might Miss It –

Author: prof. Susan Crawford  Publisher: Yale University Press

Summary: The world of fiber optic connections reaching neighborhoods, homes, and businesses will represent as great a change from what came before as the advent of electricity. The virtually unlimited amounts of data we’ll be able to send and receive through fiber optic connections will enable a degree of virtual presence that will radically transform health care, education, urban administration and services, agriculture, retail sales, and offices. Yet all of those transformations will pale compared with the innovations and new industries that we can’t even imagine today. In a fascinating account combining policy expertise and compelling on-the-ground reporting, Susan Crawford reveals how the giant corporations that control cable and internet .access in the United States use their tremendous lobbying power to tilt the playing field against competition, holding back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward. And she shows how a few cities and towns are fighting monopoly power to bring the next technological revolution to their communities.

Some reviews:

” If we can just finish the last mile for fiber to reach into households, Susan Crawford shows, we can unleash a revolution of economic growth, education, and health, and address inequality in a whole new way. Crawford shifts effortlessly from the heights of policy to the literal ground level and shows us the way.” – Anthony Marx, President, New York Public Library

” By vividly describing a world filled with fiber-enabled technology as well as the perils and possibilities for achieving it, Susan Crawford has written a playbook for a fairer and more prosperous United States.”  – Andy Berke, Mayor, Chattanooga, Tennessee

” Engaging and accessible … An indictment of national regulatory politics and crony capitalism and a love story about the plucky local governments overcoming the odds to bring their own communities into the twenty-first century. A microcosm of what ails America-and what nonetheless can give us hope.” – Yochai Benkler, Harvard Law School


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