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« Playing to the crowd | Main | Reasonable supposition »

Feb 26, 2010


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Jim Caserta

Lenoir data center != Google fiber network. The money from the Lenoir community that goes to Google every month, absent incentives, is 0. The potential from the fiber network, taking 100k subscribers, would be $10M - $20M/month.

Google should cover 100% of the network costs. Is Verizon getting subsidies for its FiOS-FTTH?

What Google needs is an area where people will be excited to switch carriers - from T-W or AT&T to the Google service. If the residents of the locale feel screwed through incentives, will they be lining up for the service?

If Wilson, NC retains ownership of the network and leases access to it to Greenlight it is like a town borrowing to build a toll road - something that is worthwhile and can be self-funding by users. Can't cities borrow to build roads? Why is this infrastructure considered so different? I would disagree with the N&R that somehow this network will parallel the benefits of being on a railroad. I don't see this network enabling things immediately that we couldn't do earlier.



Something we don't know about you, Jim?

Jim Caserta

geekspeak for not-equal to. I thought my geek status was public knowledge.

Wilson's network is an interesting case. Their fees are $170 for 20MBps up&down, what appears to be good cable + unlimited local & long dist. phone. That seems competitive with T-W. 20MBps upload is a ~100x improvement over T-W, which is nice when you're uploading 500 MB worth of pictures to shutterfly. I would bet they are easily funding their bond costs, and most likely paying them down.

Jim Caserta

Greenlight - Wilson's fiber network


Don't know why, but I thought you were an economics guy. The code surprised me.

Ryan Shell

It's great that Wilson is now part of the conversation.

Jay Ovittore

I work directly with the City of Wilson at the NCGA on broadband issues and what you don't know is that they tried for 2 years to get a public/private partnership with TWC, who refused outright to upgrade in any way. Wilson approved a 28 million dollar bond to bring FTTH and they have seen this: while TWC raised rates across NC last month(between 15 and 32%), the TWC customers in Wilson saw a rate decrease of about 30%. What cost me close to $200 a month here for the triple bundle would cost $170 for a Wilson resident on Greenlight(as Jim pointed out). A the Wilson resident gets twice the download speed and about 40x the average upload speed.

The important part is that TWC would not budge on upgrading their infrastructure in Wilson, which is our future with them here if we don't explore our options as a community to move into the 21st century.

Jay Ovittore

Ryan- I agree another public meeting should be in the works. Now off to the movies , so I will check this thread later tonight.

Ryan Shell

Jay, your comments about Wilson should further the municipal Wi-Fi conversation that I've tried to start. Of course, for it to work we'd have to have a partner such as Google.

Jay Ovittore

Ryan- The Google RFI that they put out is not for WI-FI(which Clearwire owns the spectrum here) it is for Fiber to the Home. Also, Wilson did not need a partner. Greenlight is a service owned and operated by the City of Wilson.

Jim Caserta

Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) - what Google is proposing is technically superior to muni wi-fi. Say everyone in a neighborhood wants to stream video on a muni wi-fi (m-w-f) - ain't gonna happen. What are the top BW's of m-w-f. It's a channel problem, fiber is a 6-ft wide water main, while m-w-f is a garden hose. If you want more details, let me know, but the google should be able to get you started.

Jay's example highlights something I mentioned in some post about Google-fiber: even people that don't sign up for google will see a benefit because of improved service from T-W. There is no real triple play bundle provider here. Price changes when the number of suppliers go from 1 to 2 can be very dramatic.

I am interested in the Wilson network for another reason. Lots of people say, if there's profit to be had, the private sector will come in. Obviously the private sector didn't come in (I doubt building their own network was their first choice), and I would guess it is profitable. Projects requiring big capital expenditures, high up front costs and smaller income streams require forethought, patience and guts. As much as I respect business leaders, most do not have all three. In addition, this project requires actual technical expertise from an organization, unfortunately one type of labor that is not currently in surplus.

I'm thawing to the idea of a city using incentive money to lure google, on the condition they get an equity stake in the network, and a dividend of the monthly payments. Eventually google would probably want to sell off the network, so it would go right with having a part owner. Cities will have a hard time fully self-funding the project because of strained finances and the rough muni-bond market. GSO would also have a hard time selling a network like this TODAY if they wanted to make it purely private, but in 10 years or so, the network might be worth a lot more than it cost to put in. The cost of installing this network is probably close to the lowest it ever would have or ever would be. That is a big reason Google is looking to do this now, and not 3-4 years ago.


Wilson's municipal service came up last year as an example for Greensboro when Time Warner Cable was threatening to put Greensboro on tiered pricing.

I am inclined to agree with Jay, that Greensboro should focus on meeting the requirements for what Google is proposing.

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