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Redundant diversity and rights of way

  • From: Roeland Meyer
  • Date: Sun Jul 22 13:04:33 2001

> From: []
> Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2001 7:45 AM
> Subject: RE: Update: CSX train derailment
> On Sat, 21 Jul 2001, Jamie Bowden wrote:
> Subject: RE: Update: CSX train derailment
> > On Sat, 21 Jul 2001 wrote:
> > Subject: RE: Update: CSX train derailment
> > > 
> > > > On Sat, 21 Jul 2001, Roeland Meyer wrote:
> > > > Subject: RE: Update: CSX train derailment
> > > >
> > > > :Have you checked available rights of way lately? They 
> > > > :haven't changed much for quite a while. Telecom has 
> > > > :not really any ability to build dedicated bridges for 
> > > > :telcom fibre. It uses existing facilities wherever 
> > > > :possible. Following the paths of least cost/resistance, 
> > > > :this pretty much determines that rivers and bridges 
> > > > :become choke-points. The only real alternatives are
> > > > :microwave towers (a cost/benefit argument I won't 
> > > > :touch, even with your ten-foot pole).
> > >
> > > I would think that if fiber can be run across oceans 
> > > without using tunnels or bridges, that it could be run 
> > > across some rivers much the same way, no?
> > 
> > How were [you] planning to get to that 
> > [river|stream|lake|etc]shore? The rights of way lead to 
> > existing bridges and tunnels. Buying a contiguous right 
> > of way in America is exorbitantly expensive, if it's even 
> > possible, which I highly doubt. If you're already at a 
> > bridge, tunnel, whatever, (because hey, that's where 
> > the existing right of way you're using takes 
> > you) why wouldn't you use it?  
> I didn't think we were discussing right-of-way issues, so 
> much as diverse redundancy issues at "choke points" (see 
> above).  If everybody's fiber goes through the same tunnel, 
> and the tunnel has a bad fire, that can lead to nasty 
> outages...wait, it just *did* that, didn't it (not that
> this situation was even a river, but I digress)?  Anyway, it 
> would seem that unless you bury it fairly deeply under the 
> riverbed, it ain't such a great idea.  There goes my 
> Mensa application...

Right of way and redundant diversity is deeply intertwined. One can't have
diversity without redundant rights of way and one doesn't need redundant
rights of way without the need for diversity. Having been through this, from
the RBOC side, I can tell you that even the RBOCs have serious problems with
this. Basically, the rights of way that are extant are often the ONLY rights
of way obtainable. They were acquired decades ago, by AT&T and others, and
any new rights of way are individually negotiated (and paid) at exhorbitant
costs. It gets worse going through local municipalities that look at the
telco as having near-government depth pockets (almost guaranteed to not be
the case). Many of those municipalities also fly the "jolly roger" and don't
mind resorting to extortionary practices (yes, were I still working at said
RBOC, I would be disciplined for saying that). 

On the other hand, I can understand their [municipality] desire to integrate
and consolidate the infrastructure going through their territory/domain and
to minimize build-out impact and trenching activity in public areas. The
problem is that this happens on a case by case basis and, in the case of an
area like Los Angeles, mile by mile. This exacerbates the expense as
cumulative cost, end to end, for a given route, increases with the number of
municipalities that have to be paid along the way.

I might point out that this is also deeply related to last-mile issues and
why ILECs have such an advantage over CLECS. But, I digress.

For rural routes and rights of way the problem is different and mainly based
on geo-physical issues, like mountains, rivers, lakes, and fault-lines. As
an example, many rights of way follow I-70, through the Rockies. This is
because cutting an independent path, through 36 fourteeners, is enormously
expensive and the Feds have already paid for I-70. Adding some conduit to an
existing Interstate is substantially cheaper. It also gives you maintenance
access to said conduit, that someone else will keep cleared, throughout the
Rocky Mountain Winters. Tunnels and bridges are in this same catagory, as
are oil pipelines and railroads. But, in each case, access to the right of
way has to be negotiated with each owner. I guarantee that they've had the
same issues, in obtaining their extant right of way, and will charge
accordingly. IOW, it will be less expensive, but not by that much, usually
involving some sort of revenue sharing.

In short, one can theoretically demand redundant diversity of routes, but
may not be able to achieve that goal in practice. Those that have higher
expectations need to have those expectations examined.

R O E L A N D   M J  M E Y E R
Managing Director
Morgan Hill Software Company
t:01 925 373 3954
c:01 925 352 3615
f:01 925 373 9781 

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