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New Networks: From a California Community to an Indian Province

Communities Learn How to Build for Themselves and Will Teach Others

How to purchase this issue. $150 or $450 group. The July 2006 issue introduces James Hettrick Loma Linda and Connected communities Association and Andhra Pradesh, the World Bank and Randeep Sudan.

June 2, 2006 Ewing, NJ -- Local communities all over the world are beginning to understand that the growth of their economies is linked to their ability to freely attach to the global mesh of interconnected IP-using data networks known as the Internet. They are realizing that they must control the terms of what must be high-speed connections that extend all the way to homes and businesses. To exert this control they must learn how to act in their own self interest. Their ability to do so varies according to the different political and legal environment in which they find themselves.

 

In the US that environment has turned, in less than five years, from very favorable and very competitive to a choice of Tweedle dum or Tweedle dee – either the phone company or cable company. In Europe while there is more competition, the national telecoms providers are fiercely defending their territory. Asia looks to be in the best position because it has become possible for the national governments to work with national carriers in building networks that will be more supportive of local economies rather than the carrier profits..

The constituency of the ILECs is not the local communities they serve. It is self-preservation. Consequently the ILECs will say to the local communities: “Take what we give you and be grateful.” As a result, communities are beginning to understand what reliance on the private sector means. If they want a first class data highway infrastructure, they will have to build it themselves in order to join the emerging global network of interconnected broadband communities that are capable of competing in a global economy.

Consider that Andhra Pradesh, an Indian province the size of Colorado with a population of 80 million people, is building a fiber and IP-based, triple play network to provide 100 megabit per second broadband throughout the province a total of 21,000 villages. The network will cost about $125 million dollars and will bypass the local phone company.

But Andhra Pradesh is not just building fiber to its villages. It is doing this as the cornerstone of an effort begun a decade ago by First Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, to spread Information and Communications Technology throughout Andhra Pradesh, which has a higher percentage of college graduates than any other province in India. Very carefully planned government policy is using national resources to build the infrastructure needed to transform the province into the best provider of back office services -- also known as IT Enabled Services -- on the Indian subcontinent.

Since it is a state-of-the-art 10 gigabit network connected directly to multiple Indian-owned submarine fiber cables, Andhra Pradesh, along with Loma Linda, California (the American City highlighted in this issue), will find themselves on the positive side of a new global digital divide. This while the Bush Administration puts into high gear policy that will indeed turn this country into the Bangladesh of telecom - a metaphor for the current US direction that I have been using since at least late 2003.

Connected Communities Association

While Hettrick shares the vision of community-owned and operated IP infrastructure, he understands, as well as anyone, the caveat that all politics is local and that all communities are constrained by their local economic and institutional political mixture. Hettrick takes a less dim view of humanity that our previous critic. He certainly does know that, in isolation, the average community leaders will find the deck stacked against them because the very complexity of what we are all up against makes the likelihood for success of any new community effort - taken in a vacuum - to be quite small.

He has a very promising answer to this dilemma. A Connected Communities Association where the most important services offered members are the chance to learn from each other. A shared cooperative work and discussion space will be constructed to allow communities in all stages of this process to learn from each other and educate each other becoming prepared to talk with consultants and vendors when they are much more up to speed on the difficult issues they face. Communities will become better educated on financial models and operational models before they have to commit funds. They will have a guided process for thinking about choices they face and they will be educated to think of what they are contemplating as one of building not just roads but rather complex systems that will govern quality of life and economic viability issues within them for many years to come.

Executive Summary

What is this issue all about? It is about “reality” stood on its head
 
Well Sort of.  Let me be informal.  If this stand alone issue is to be “normal,”  it should have an intro essay and an executive summary which for the past year and a half or longer has been really the intro to the second month of the combined issue.
 
I could go back over the bold faced text and pull out a few of the most juicy of those quotes and call that an executive summary which is what I used to do 3 or 4 years ago.  But why?  If you want those kinds of highlights, simply scan the main bold face text in this issue.
 
Instead of that let me summarize some ideas. I am learning a lot and trying to share what I learn.
 
The biggest issue I see – bigger than net neutrality although that sucker is huge - is that the revolution begun by being able to own the  tools of our production and to create our own business at the edge of the network is only getting started.  I am almost wondering whether a part of this realization of this different universe , this alternative universe – I am not sure what to call it –most directly affects those of us who are self employed and using the net to earn our livings.  I am thinking that this is why we see it more clearly that those still employed by the Fortune 1000? I am coming to appreciate ever more so than before how this means that we are truly renaissance people.   We do it all and that if we are really effective at what we do we do it with alliances of like minded friends because we manage to team up and cooperate and collaborate with them.
 
It is a world turned up side down and inside out.  A world for example where to the leaders of the collaborative movements the term consumer is one of opprobrium  - something that carries a stigma for the user who doesn’t get how moving decision making to the edge has change society markets conversations and so one.  At the edge we find what we want through conversations that establish markets.  In our edge based world mass media and certainly mass advertising are wasted.  Our world is the world of the long tail. 

The Ultimate Long Tail

Here is to me the ultimate example of the long tail.  In December my family copy of a 185 page hard bound genealogy written by my grandfather and “published” in 1942 was stolen.  I assumed that it was one of a kind - that is to say irreplaceable.  But then I spent some time transcribing a manuscript written by my great grandfather in 1850.  I started to Google his name, got hits in the Wisconsin state archives and then found my grandfathers full name and googled that and “pow” all of a sudden I saw an entry for grandpa in Quintin publications which offers an archive of thousands of American family histories.   Google said there was an entry for William Grant Cook in 1942. I found it, ordered it and it came on a cd-rom as a searchable text PDF for 20 dollars including shipping.  That small self published book is the ultimate long tail. A copy of my family history that I assumed was forever lost. 
 
How did Quintin get it?  Well flipping through the pages I saw that my grandfather had done much of his research at the Newberry Library in Chicago.  Curious I paid the Newberry Library website a visit.  Put William Grant Cook in the browser and there it was --  an entry for the Newberry library’s shelf copy of my grandfather’s family history that survived because he apparently made sure the library itself had a copy.  But the market for this book? Myself and my surviving sister.  But, lo, there it was on the Internet, in the world of the long tail.
 
That is something that Comcast and Verizon and faux ATT  can never grasp.  They see only the industrial age business model of mass markets and branding.   Had a long and delightful phone conversation with Doc Searls yesterday.  Doc put it this way.  He doesn’t want people in his face trying to sell him things.  He wants to be able to go to a web site and say something like when a producer  has a 50 inch plasma TV that does “xyz”  things and sells for less than price point a let me know.  Some of his new interests are what he calls identity management and the live web.  It is a newly emerging world that is known to a relatively small number of people.  But it is one made possible by the internet.  
 
So what’s going on?  Producers at the edge are producing which the executives suites of corporate office towers are largely unaware of the changes.  Jerry Michalski’s friends are reshaping their world in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.  There are their equivalents beginning to emerge in India and china as well.  And interestingly enough in what Michalski call the relationship economy – players of all sizes and shapes are doing now what could never have been attempted before.

Talent Building

This is the world of talent building and management.  Consider Admiral Bill Owens.  US Naval Academy class of 1962,  Commander US 6th Fleet.  In the late 90s Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He brings hi tech planning into Pentagon operation (not the Rumsfeld kind.)  CEO of Teledesic in the 90s for a while.  On corporate boards.  Fast forward to 2002.  Nortel in trouble for corrupt accounting turns to Admiral Bill Owens and makes him CEO of Nortel. Owens pulls Nortel out of its nose dive and in November 2005 the Board of Nortel chooses a new CEO.  Does Bill retire to his country estate?  No!
 
Too much talent to be put out to pasture.  A man like this has many friends.  So what happens?  Folk at AEA Investors get together with other folk Aetos Capital.  They form a jointly held subsidiary company AEA Holdings and send Bill Owens to Hong Kong to scout India, China and South East Asia for profitable  investments in Alternative Asset classes.  You can be sure they gave Bill a nice bank account to invest.  The point is that with the newly globalized world tied together by the internet this sort of thing is possible where 20 years ago it would no be easily doable.  But with broadband and on line collaborative tools and talent why shouldn’t two otherwise independent companies get together and coordinate between them a joint investment arm run out of Hong Kong?
 
Meanwhile increasingly everything is on Google and I find myself using google to look up things about which I know nothing but need to begin to understand. Patient capital was one such.  Once grasped, then why not use the concept to ask a few luminaries to describe their view of how it should be applied to telecom infrastructure?  Stay tuned. 
 
Finally last weekend I had a look at JP Rangaswami’s blog for the first time in a month.  There I read a couple of entries followed some links and got sucked into a rich exchange of ideas.   One that led me to write my own mash up of the discussion and led into to the phone chat with Doc Searls.. I’ll probably work on that more and publish it in another month.  Meanwhile let me close with part of the flow of ideas that reading and writing triggered.
 
 I wrote: Open Source and Linux threaten Microsoft as well they should.  In a chapter in published in O’Reilly’s Open Source 2.0 in October 2005 Doc Searls we wrote the following:

Phil Moore of Morgan Stanley [stood up and said]: “I work for the 38th largest company in the world, Morgan Stanley. We have a billion dollar IT budget. And we use a little of everything. Unfortunately. Excuse me, a LOT of everything. The trend I've seen in the last ten years...is the exponential growth in the variety and the depth and breadth of installation of open-source software in our infrastructure....What I'm seeing is that in the infrastructure, the core infrastructure, open source is going to take over, leaps and bounds.… I'm predicting, right now, that by 2006 or 2007, we're going to be a 90% Linux shop.

At one point, Phil said, "We're still mostly a Solaris shop, but we are rapidly moving to Linux, though I'm not supposed to talk about that, for fear of being sued by SCO." Then he turned to Matt Asay (the Novell executive who ran OSBC) and added, "Which is the reason why I couldn't go to your conference, the OSBC. I wasn't allowed to go."

Doc continued: I ran those quotes, with Phil's permission, in my November 2004 column for Linux Journal. Phil no longer works at Morgan Stanley. He left voluntarily, but the fact that he's gone still speaks volumes. I want to thank him here for the honesty and courage it took for him to say what he did. Same goes for Roml Lefkowitz (formerly) of AT&T Wireless, Roland Smith (formerly) of LSI Logic, Leon Chism of Orbitz, J.P. Rangaswami of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, and the rest of the handful of executives in large IT organizations that have talked to me factually and fearlessly about how open source — and Linux especially — are being put to good use in their companies.”
 
These conditions are going to change the IT industry on a fundamental level and either make it much more creative on behalf of its customers or make it much smaller.  The same conditions are what the global telecom struggle is all about.
 
In his Making a New World which I am citing from above Doc writes asking rhetorically what Linux and open source are all about: “Because Linux and open source are demand-side developments. They are all what the demand side does to supply itself.” 
 
By the same token municipal networks can be seen as demand side developments.  The internet grew up riding on the telephone networks which initially did not have any idea what was happening or what it meant for their future.  The telephone networks unfortunately are totally opposed to anything that smacks of the idea of open source.  It is possible to build high capacity digital networks far more cheaply that the phone network.  But the captains of the phone company’s looking firmly backward will not allow this happen not on their watch!
 
But it is happening gradually and incrementally.  These pages will keep watch.

PS: IBM Remakes Itself in India

And keeping watch on May 31 I find on line
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_23/b3987093.htm

This is a stunning article - mandatory reading on how the internet is enabling IBM to shift its global workforce in ways unimaginable a few years ago. IBM’s employees in India have jumped from 9000 to 43,000 over the past 30 months. IBM’s annual meeting is being held in Bangalore on June 6 and 7th. The article points out that these changes are enabled not just by broadband but are also dependent on various web 2.0 collaboration tools. This is further evidence of the change in mind set from closed and proprietary to open and collaborative discussed throughout this issue.

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Contents

Connected Communities as a
Rethinking of Muni-Networks

Can Communities Act In Their Own Interest Since We Can No Longer Agree On A National Interest?

We Have a Problem p. 3
So What to Do? Roll Our Own? p. 3
The Most Critical Unanswered Question – How Do
Communities Connect to Each Other and to the Internet
at Large? p. 5
The Connected Communities Association p. 6
By Our Own Bootstraps p. 7
Communities as Laboratories for Innovation p. 7
Let Us Beware of the Tragedy of the Uncommons p. 8

Interview

Bringing the World to Loma Linda

A Small California City Builds Its Own Fiber Network & Begins a Revolution in 21st Century Networks Design

Conversations with James Hettrick - a Community Network Systems Thinker

Loma Linda - Economic Geography p. 11
Convergence and on Connecting and Guiding p. 12
Focus on Fast Internet in 2003, a Baseline Standard for
Fiber in New Buildings and Getting Customer Buy In p. 13
The Physical Network p. 14
Design Philosophy and Architectural Details p. 16
The Economics of Fiber as City Infrastructure p. 18
Open Sourcing Connected Communities p. 21
Attaching the Bedroom to the Rest of the World p. 24
The Promise of an Open Access Fiber Network p. 2

Interview

The Connected Communities
Association

A Virtual Forum for Educating Those Who
Will Build Connected CommunitiesLessons in Why - Given the Complexity of the Web of Global
Communications - Careful Planning is Vital


Coordinating the Varied Stakeholders & Teaching Both
Comparative Technology Capabilities and Costs p. 32
A Sense of What Matters p. 34
HyperOffice and Google p. 36
Need for a Private Conference Room p. 36
Tool Kits p. 37
Changes in the Workforce p. 41
World Bank’s Local Open Access Networks Project p. 43

Interview

Andhra Pradesh Brings 100 Mbps Fiber to 80 Million people in 21,000 Villages
Randeep Sudan Explains the Business and Economic
Strategy Behind a Remarkable $125 Million
Infrastructure Build that Bypasses the LEC


IT - Enabled Services p. 46
A Mid 2004 Change in Government Moves Me from Policy
Planning into Execution and Operations p. 48
BSNL Bids 2.3 Billion But Province Builds for 125 Million p. 49
ABC: AP Broadband Consortium p. 53
Network Architecture p. 54
Government asAnchor Tenant in the Context of
Projected Network Revenues p. 55
The Andhra Pradesh Network in the Context of
Government Investment in Technology p. 57
Computerizing Work and Information Flows for 21,000
Internet Attached Village Councils p. 59
Using the Andhra Pradesh Network as Educational
Infrastructure p. 59

Symposium Discussion April 14 -- May 6, 2006

Can Local Infrastructure Be
Built to Serve a Public Good?
Or is Doing so “Unfair” to Private Interests? p. 61

Net Neutrality Yet Again: Savetheinternet.com and the
Death of Common Carriage p. 63
Muni Builds as Private Sector Takings - a 17 Point
Indictment p. 67
The Regulatorium Must Be Destroyed - Cecil and
Frankston Agree p. 69
Creating an Opportunity for
Investment
The Internet as a Private or a Public Good p. 72
Physical Layer Monopoly or Infrastructure p. 73
Future Internet Architectures
VINI, UCLP, GENI and the Importance of
Infrastructure Free Applications
In VINI Veritas p. 77
UCLP Roadmap Document p. 77
Grid 2.0: The Global Grid Gets Hip p. 78

Executive Summary p. 80

Text Boxes

Using Community Wisdom to Improve the Quality of City Government p. 8
The Future of work p. 41
THE GAO MAKES THE CASE FOR COMMUNITY BROADBAND p. 45
Status of the Andhra Pradesh Network Build May 2006 p. 60

 

Symposium & Interview Contributors to this Issue


Affiliation given for purposes of identification - views expressed are those of the contributors alone

Michael Bookey, author America at the Internet Crossroads, Principal Pachen Light Consulting
Erik Cecil, Regulatory Counsel for Level 3 Communications
Vint Cerf, Co-author TCP/IP and Chief Internet Evangelist Google
Frank Coluccio, President DTI Consulting Inc., New York City
Sean Donelan, security analyst Cisco
Peter Ecclesine, Technology Analyst, Cisco
Jim Forster, Distinguished Engineer, Cisco
Bob Frankston, developed Visicalc and Lotus and later home networking at Microsoft
Fred Goldstein, Principal of Ionary Consulting, author of The Great Telecom Meltdown
Tom Hertz, CTO Fiber Utilities
James Hettrick, It Director Loma Linda California
Erik Hunsinger Account Director at level 3. Works with Loma Linda and Academic and research oriented clients
Andrew Odlyzko, Director Digital Technology Center, University of Minnesota
Chris Savage, attorney CRB, Washington, DC
Bill St. Arnaud, Director Ca*Net4 Canada’s high speed research network
Randeep Sudan, Senior ICT Policy Specialist, the World Bank