NICC are busy standardising the way that service providers can use third parties' local loop or last mile access circuits, or to put it the other way around, the way that an access circuit provider opens their network to allow others to sell to their subscribers.
BT Wholesale's lavish HQ (nr. Gatwick)
BT have been doing this for years via the IPstream/Central products in the ADSL world, WBC in 21CN, WLR, LLU and all manner of other wholesale acronyms and it's no bad thing that these interfaces should be standardised; it levels the playing field and clarifies the demarcation between access and service providers.
I'm not sure it helps a community-built FTTH (or hybrid) network though.
In comments posted on an article about the FTTP project at Ashby de la Launde it was pointed out that a PC infected with malicious botnet software on a traditional broadband connection is limited to adding at most a couple of hundred kilobits/second of bot traffic to the Internet. A botnet PC on a FTTH connection could be pumping out 100Mbps of bot traffic. A few tens of these could do the damage that takes thousands of botnet computers inflict currently, not to mention saturate the precious Internet uplink.
This is a problem that commercial ISP's don't need to worry too much about. Apart from the asymmetric bandwidth limitation, they make money selling bandwidth so the more that's used the better whereas a community network needs to take care not to squander the expensive uplink.
There is plenty of buzz around community networking - with lots of people contributing from many different angles. Not suprisingly, the two main areas of interest are the "big picture" and the "local interest"
Local interest covers all the community activism that is needed to bring about a network project. Any community that is motivated to improve their access to the Internet needs organsing - and motivating - and sometimes guiding so that the network can become a reality. Engaging with landowners, parish councils and potential subscribers is critical and has to be done face-to-face at the local level.
Last week I attended a tweetup in London bringing together people interested in fiber-to-the-home as a community enterprise. There's lots of background reading to catch up on as I've been out of the community-networking loop for a while - back in the early days of broadband roll-out I was one of those disenfranchised rural dwellers who built their own village wireless access network to escape dial-up pain.