Ann Johnson-Stromberg in today’s Times-Standard has done a nice job of summarizing the dangers and challenges faced by having all data in and out of the county being carried on a single fiber line. Many of us have been harping on this since the day the fiber was completed, but the progress has been slow. The serious, but thankfully relatively short fiber break that happened last month has finally awakened much of the area to the reality of our situation. Thanks to Ann for keeping this issue out in front of the public.

However, I wish she had put some emphasis on the idea that this second fiber line would be more than just a backup in case of the failure of AT&T’s line. Of course, that would certainly be the case. But, if the current plans for the alternate fiber go through, which envisions an independent corporation building and managing the line, this would mean competition with AT&T. Major players such as Suddenlink and CENIC would be able to choose where to buy middle mile (the line between local vendors and the Internet backbone is called the middle mile) service. This could mean lower prices for all, and potentially new features.

If you would like to read the report that was recently completed regarding the feasibility of this alternate fiber you can download the PDF here.