FCC Panel on Fiber Futures

FCC As you probably know by now, I was participating this past Thursday to a panel at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington DC entitled Future Fiber Architectures and Local Deployment Choices. The panel was set up and organised by David Isenberg.

I was amongst experts who are at the top of their respective fields, which felt a little intimidating, but my own contribution was to bring in a slightly different angle, one step removed from the operations, about services available over fiber around the world and the level of bandwidth and latency required to power future applications.

The morning was divided into two panels. The first was mostly about the various technology choices to power fiber and it was populated with the people selling these technologies. That may sound like an odd choice for a regulatory panel, since a lot of the (short) presentations felt very much like sales pitches, highlighting the upsides and obfuscating the downsides. I was following the twitter feed and I could see people being bored by this. But actually I think it worked in a somewhat unexpected way because the Q&A served to debunk a lot of the fallacies and contrasted the various discourses. A number of key messages emerged, in particular the terrible consequences of wrong infrastructure choices in early PON deployments in Germany and the UK which hopefully highlighted the risks associated with choosing technologies with somewhat uncertain futures.

The second panel in which I participated was mostly constituted of people who know about fiber deployments because they have done it or are doing it. My role was more to bring a worldwide overview of what is happening fiber wise and the type of service offerings that is powered by fiber worldwide. Even though I knew most of the participants already, you could see that the opportunity for the commissioners to speak to people who have had their hands in the dirt so to speak was valuable. I really liked Dick Lynch's no-bull pragmatism which shows again that Verizon is not just your average telco.

If you're interested in the proceedings, you can see the full video feed here.