Hunter Newby on Open Access Infrastructure #broadband #fiber #innovation @AlliedFiber

Hunter Newby at INET NYHunter Newby, CEO and President of Allied Fiber, has visited ISOC-NY more than once to explain the company’s plans to build an open access backbone fiber ring around the USA. We liked his ideas enough to invite him to participate in the Technology Panel at the recent INET New York. Writer John Savageau has interviewed Hunter and published part 1 – Hunter Newby on Communications in America – Are We Competitive? – of a resulting series of three articles.

Savageau concisely sums up the Allied Fiber philosophy. See below:

Newby makes a point that in the US, very few companies operate long haul fiber networks, and those companies control access to their communications infrastructure with tariffs based on location, distance, traffic volumes (bandwidth/ports), and types of traffic. Much of the existing fiber optic infrastructure crossing the US is old, and cannot support emerging communication transmission rates and technologies, limiting choices and competitiveness to a handful of companies – none of which provide fiber as a utility or as a neutral tariffed product.

As the cost of long distance or long haul fiber is extremely high, most carriers do not want to carry the expense of building their own new fiber optic infrastructure, and prefer to lease capacity from other carriers. However, the carriers owning long haul fiber do not want to lease or sell their capacity to potentially competitive communications carriers.

Most US communications carriers operating their own long haul fiber optic networks also provide additional value-added services to their markets. This might include voice services, cable or IP television, virtual private networks, and Internet access. Thus the carrier is reluctant to lease their capacity to other competitive or virtual carriers who may compete with them in individual or global markets.

Thus a dilemma – how do we build the American fiber backbone infrastructure to a level needed to provide a competitive, high capacity national infrastructure without aggressive investment in new fiber routes?

Newby has responded to the dilemma and challenge with his company Allied Fiber, and advises “the only way to properly build the physical infrastructure required to support all of this (infrastructure need) is to have a unique model at the fiber layer similar to what Allied (Allied Fiber) has, but not solely look at fiber as the only source of revenue.”

For example, Newby advises revenue can be supplemented by offering interconnecting carriers and other network or content providers space in facilities adjacent to the backbone fiber traditionally used for only in-line-amplifiers (ILAs) and fiber optic signal regeneration. The ILA facility itself “could be an additional source of recurring revenue,” while allowing the fiber provider to remain a neutral utility.