Fiber to Home Momentum has Changed Significantly Last 2 Years, Expert Says

Blair Levin, former Federal Communications Commission chief of staff to Reed Hundt, also was the executive director of the the National Broadband Plan effort, issued about four years ago.

With the caveat that not everybody agrees the drafting of a “national plan,” by any country, necessarily means very much, Levin, an experienced “inside the Beltway” operator well versed with the politics of communication policy, has an interesting take on progress in the U.S. market, after release of the plan.

There are four areas Levin says are important for estimating progress. “One is, are you driving fiber deeper?” Levin says. Also “are you using spectrum more effectively?”

Third, “are you getting everybody on?” Levin says. Finally, “are you using the platforms to deliver public goods more effectively?”

As you might guess, Levin thinks progress has been uneven. “It's mixed on all of them,” Levin said.

But Levin is surprised by the progress in the area of “driving fiber deeper.” As recently as two years ago, Levin says he would not have said progress was not being made in that area.

Now, Levin thinks we are making progress, and that ISPs are driving fiber deeper into their networks. One might credit Google Fiber for much of that progress, simply because it is disrupting the market with symmetrical gigabit network services, sold for a market-destabilizing $70 a month, on the back of its own networks.

That Levin, no casual observer of broadband and communications policy, thinks something has changed for the better in terms of optical fiber deployment, over the last two years, is as clear a testament to Google Fiber’s impact as anything else you might point to, except for the growing number of incumbent ISPs willing to build gigabit networks in multiple markets.
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