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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Competitive marketplace for backhaul

It is becoming ever more apparent that the demand for decent backhaul for community networks is growing. Yet, even knowing this, where are the suppliers of such who should be falling over themselves to grab market share?

In order to make it easy for said suppliers, I have started a thread in the forum entitled, "We need backhaul". Whilst it may take some time to feed the community networks the info they require to get started, there is every reason for communities and suppliers to start filling this thread with WANTED: and OFFERED: (just like Freecycle!).

It is down to suppliers to get it right when selling to fledgling and established community networks. There is no point over-selling as spare capacity that eats into the budget is the last thing a community network needs in its early days, but whatever is sold must be easily upgradeable as the network scales up and users of that network get more hungry for applications and services.

Getting the price right is also important. We know that for many years there has been a non-competitive market for backhaul, and it has often been ludicrously expensive for rural customers to get fairly priced connectivity to the Net because of the ancient process of charging by distance. Whether the bits travel 1 mile or 100 is pretty much irrelevant and the practice needs changing. It is no longer the case that only a few operators can sell backhaul so competition is increasingly fierce and community networks are going to be looking for the best prices.

We have very efficient jungle drums in the community network space, that have been beating for nigh on 10 years now, so the supplier(s) who get it right will benefit from fora such as Fibrevolution where the suppliers will undoubtedly be rated and reviewed, just as ISPs are now by consumers.

So, what are you waiting for? We all know that more and more community networks are going to spring up now and all are looking for that fat pipe......start advertising your wares, and helping these community networks flourish and become sustainable and profitable. As more and more of their community users get online, so the more capacity they will want from you.

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