[NA-Discuss] DIY Broadband- High Speed solutions for remote areas

Eric Brunner-Williams ebw at abenaki.wabanaki.net
Thu Feb 21 01:21:08 UTC 2013


I could attempt to reply to Joly who challenged (or "asked" if one
thinks it a neutral gesture inelegantly stated) with these mortal
words "And this relates to NARALO, how?" ... but that would be a
re-tour through the does-or-doesn't one of the "N"s in "ICANN" have
anything to do with numbers.

There is legislation pending in the state of Georgia which will make
municipalities unable to construct municipally owned networks. This
incapacity would apply to municipal conduit capacity, unlit municipal
dark fiber in municipal conduits, lit municipal fiber in municipal
conduits, and municipally operated networks operating over lit
municipal fiber in municipal conduits.

In Maine, where I have a interest in a business operation which
includes narrow-band and broad-band ISP, and the rest of rural
Northern New England, the wireline ILEC has sold off its entire rural
operation, and will be making no further investment in bandwidth
improvements outside of the metro east corridor. The urban market is a
duopoly and the wireless market is similarly concentrated to small

The over all situation is not unique to rural Maine, and former ICANN
Board member Susan Crawford's recent book length work, "Captive
Nation", addresses the lack of competition in the broadband access
market. The situation in Canada is only marginally different, with an
equivalent end affected through slightly different policy and agency

In short, pricing is higher than "the market" where there is
broadband, and where there is broadband, the bandwidth available is an
order of magnitude less than in regions where the regulatory model has
not been captured by the industry the regulator(s) were created to
regulate, in the public interest.

Were Verisign and NeuStar to lobby local governments in some or all of
North America to pass legislation preventing municipalities, singly or
in aggregate, from operating municipal namespaces, even the very, very
dim might be able to apprehend that this relates to NARALO in some not
terribly obscure form.

The legislative barrier to public networks is not limited to a few
corrupt members of the Georgia legislature. Unlike municipalities,
which may issue state and federal tax exempt bonds for any purpose of
government, Indian Tribes in the United States are constrained to
those purposes which are strictly governmental, through the
unfortunate but intentional application of the IRS Code promoted by a
single anti-gaming member of Federal Congress from Florida. This means
that Tribal Governments can not, as a matter of law, in the United
States, issue bonds to fund the building or buying of a data or voice
network, or any other development project, unless the exclusive use of
the network, or other development project, is for governmental purpose.

So, in real life, we start from the legal impoverishment of Band
Governments (in Canada) and Tribal Governments (in the US) and the
additional incapacity to compete in the tax exempt bond market (in the
US) and issue bonds to fund development, to which we add the
withdrawals from investment in the general, non-Indian rural wireline
voice and data service, and an overpriced and under provisioned
duopoly in the metro markets.

Is there a public interest issue here? If the last "N" in ICANN stands
for "Nothing", then no. If it stands for "Numbers", then yes.

Is there advice to offer the ICANN Board, consistent with the purpose
for there being an At Large, to which NARALO is a geographic
convenience? Obviously I think so, and just as obviously, others to
not. The advice might be as I wrote previously, as simple as asserting
that critical infrastructure resources be allocated by a means other
than "market price".


More information about the NA-Discuss mailing list