Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who's Chasing BTOP

According to Telephony mag, Level3 is partnering with "cable companies, LECs, wireless providers or state and local governments in seeking to offer broadband access in unserved and underserved areas." L3 has 500 regen huts and about 30 of them are in underserved or unserved areas. L3 would like to take advantage of that.

Fairpoint asked for $38 million in grants to provide broadband to New England -- something it promised to do during the merger discussions with government bodies. Nice. They make a promise, almost go bankrupt, then use our money to do what they promised.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Level3 may have a lot of regen huts in underserved areas, but their talk about opening them up is just that: talk.

How do I know? Well, I'm an ISP with high backbone bandwidth costs. On the edge of my town of 28,000 people sits a Level3 regen hut which is not just a regen hut; it actually is ready to be a full POP, complete with co-lo cages. Dozens of them. And there's massive bandwidth passing through. I called Level3 and asked them for a DS-3 or maybe an OC-3 of bandwidth, possibly for a BTOP or BIP project. The answer came back: No way. They wouldn't open the POP unless we would buy a full gig of bandwidth from them, for $16,000 per month (and then a $16,000 non-recurring startup fee).

This offer was, essentially, a refusal, because (naturally enough) we're locked into two and three year contracts on our existing bandwidth and could not shake loose that much money per month at one time. We understand that other ISPs have faced similar unreasonable demands when Level3 has approached them to open POPs.

My take: they're giving lip service to supporting rural broadband, hoping that this will convince the FCC and Congress not to require them to open up their fiber routes. And then they can go on redlining rural America as they always have.

In the meantime, we're looking at applying for BTOP funding to bypass Level3. We can only recommend that others do likewise.