In a release yesterday, glbc staked out its position regarding the federal stimulus money that will be funneled into improving broadband access. The company wishes to help “by expanding its world-class fiber optic network to support ‘middle-mile’ facilities that connect rural last-mile broadband providers to the Internet backbone.” Of course, Global Crossing’s network is not itself geared toward offering broadband access to consumers, nor even to reaching rural areas that happen to fall along it without help. Their point is that a national fiber backbone is nevertheless an integral part of the process, and they stand ready to work with rural carriers to spend such dollars.
What does this really mean? Are they going to run new fiber out to the rural carriers, or lease it from a third party? Fixed wireless perhaps? Well, I think this is mainly about finding partners at this point, and that each actual buildout will be a different case. Such connections beyond the major metros don’t really have an ecosystem around them, simply because they have always been economically non-viable. The addition of the stimulus money may make them viable and eventually profitable, but the relationships needed to make the routes reality don’t yet exist. Global Crossing is therefore announcing its interest in forming them, offering to put the muscle of an international backbone behind such projects in exchange for a piece of the pie.
I wonder when we will start seeing the actual money from the stimulus bill make it into the field. So far, it seems like it has mostly stimulated more news stories than anything else.
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