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Networking Upgrades

Starting a Local Fibre Co-Op? 46

swordsaintzero wonders: "I have seen several articles mentioning local co-ops implementing fiber. I am moving to a smaller town to take a position as a Solaris Administrator for a large university. After calling around, I found out the fastest bandwidth package available is half the speed of my previous package. For all of you Slashdot readers, who have worked on getting fibre implemented for your town through a co-op, what was involved in presenting it to the city government? What would be the best way to get the ball rolling on getting fiber for home use implemented?"
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Starting a Local Fibre Co-Op?

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  • by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) * on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:57PM (#12991228)
    As we all saw during the "broadband revolution" of a few years ago (even when Taco couldn't get BB), the big cities get the coolest tech first. They also tend to get blown up first during wartimes, but that's a risk we just have to take.

    So to answer one of your questions: What would be the best way to get the ball rolling on getting fiber for home use implemented? My answer would be: "Move to a big city".

    I'm just a comedian though. Hopefully someone insightful will post a more insightful answer.
    • Please name a big city with fiber to the premises -- outside of Korea, that is.
      • or europe, because we have it here. Most places still have the last few yards all copper, but there are projects in various cities with fiber to your doorstep giving you 100mbit connections. ADSL 2 is allready promising 20 to 50mbit (allthough only in the first few hunderd feet of course, so it's not really anything special)
        • or europe, because we have it here. Most places still have the last few yards all copper, but there are

          Oh yeah, and how wonderful that can be. After the fall of the Berlin wall the Telekom went nuts to rip out the old copper wires in the eastern part of Berlin to replace them with fiber. (Probably not to the homes but only to the curb.) Right now there's lots of places where you can't get ADSL since that won't work over fiber. Tough luck for those people.
      • It seems that Verizon is doing its FTTP rollout first in less dense area to work all the kinks out of the system before they move into the big cities. The two towns next to me (northern NJ) just got hooked up and mine is being done right now.

        So if you want FTTP right now, move to a suburb that's already been finished.
      • by EvilMagnus ( 32878 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @01:02AM (#12991454)
        My parent's home town in the UK (pop. 60,000) has fiber to the premises. They have a nice little drop box on the wall of their house where the demarc is. It was put in about six years ago, for free, by a private cable company.

        It's kinda weird to see a set-top box with a fiber line running to it.
      • Keller TX has it through verizon. A semi rural area just north of Fort Worth.
      • Parts of Sacramento had it a few years ago, though I don't know if the company that was doing it is still around.

    • Wiring a big (huge) city like NYC for fiber would be prohibitively expensive for even the biggest of companies.

      The infrastructure of these cities has been gradually implemented over the past 100+ years, and redoing it all from scratch would quite literally be impossible.

      That's why verizon has been wiring suburban communities for fiber. Even though the rural areas of my (very small) town don't seem to have been wired, all of the residential neighborhoods have been wired, and as of last week, turned on. I
      • Some questions, assuming you know the answers to them...

        Why the hell 5/15? It seems that the fiber itself will do gigabit as easy as it will do 10mps, and even if they couldn't offer 1000mps internet connections, telling you "it's 5mps to the internet, 1000mps to your neighbors" would kick ass.

        Is it ethernet, or are they doing some dumbass ATM/DSL over fiber crap?

        Are they offering static IPs?
        • 1) The speed is only restricted by the speed of the lines going to the CO. In a small suburban town, this isn't necessarily very fast. I doubt that each strand goes straight to verizon's backbone

          2) The max speed with current technology IIRC is quite high, although I think equipment to transmit at these speeds would be prohibitively expensive. Last time I checked, Verizon was using some sort of technology to allow multiple houses to run off of one strand by sending multiple wavelengths of light down a si
      • I think we may reach the point someday where high-desnsity urban areas are unnecessary.

        But we'll never reach the point where they aren't infinitely more pleasant places to live than suburban hellholes.

        • But we'll never reach the point where they aren't infinitely more pleasant places to live than suburban hellholes.

          Clearly you've never been to New York City and the Jersey/NYS/Connecticut suburbs. The contrast is stark.

          I can definitely attest that the majority of suburban communities are far more pleasant than the cities they support.

          Sure, there are urban areas I wouldn't mind living in, but they're usually either super-expensive or spread-out enough to be almost considered suburban.
          • Clearly you've never been to New York City and the Jersey/NYS/Connecticut suburbs. The contrast is stark.

            I've lived in both for years each, but I agree with your conclusion. The contrast is stark, and the alienating misery of the suburbs is even harder to fathom for having experienced it at length firsthand.

    • I worked at Optical Solutions from 2000-2002, developing a fiber-to-the-home product. Your best bet is actually rural and independent telcos. They get more federal subsidies to upgrade their infrastructure and have less invested in existing copper networks. What actually screwed Optical Solutions was focusing too much on RBOCs like Qwest and Verizon, because they move too slow, because they have too many hundreds of millions invested in copper in the big cities.
  • by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:59PM (#12991237)
    'Cause frankly I don't believe it. A co-op to get DSL implemented on already laid dark cable is one thing. Most communities don't generally have dark fiber run to every residential address. If it's been laid it's being used. To create a co-op tasked with rolling out a community-wide installation of fiber to each doorstep, with or without the local government's help, would be an astronomically complex and time consuming task. Instead of trying to convince a town to fund such a fool's errand why not try convincing the university to subsidize business-class broadband at home in case you need to work from there ("If the system(s) go down at 3am I can get them back up and running faster if I can just log in from home instead of driving across town." etc...).
  • I thought I read something about this on Slashdot a couple years ago, where a guy and his dad got a whole neighborhood fibre'd up in Sweden. I can't however, find the link anywhere... Anyone?
  • Look to history. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluGill ( 862 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @09:56AM (#12993813)

    I get my power from a co-op. Back in the 1930s the farmers in my area realized that they would not be served by any utility because there was no profit in them. So they got together and started a co-op and wired the county. We are now one of the fastest growing utilities in the nation (Minneapolis is growing right into our territory).

    There are likely to be some old laws on the book in your state that you can fudge to help you. Have a lawyer look them up. You will need a lawyer before you get very far, so best is if you can find one to be a partner now, and hire him.

  • by malachid69 ( 306291 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @12:14PM (#12994832) Homepage
    After reading a few comments on here, I thought I would share some personal experience from Oregon.
    • Ashland Fiber Network http://www.ashlandfiber.net/ [ashlandfiber.net] (Ashland,OR) is shared by all utilities in Ashland (population @ 21k) -- it is community owned
    • The Portland,OR metro still doesn't have fiber access
    • Verizon FIOS is not planned to be installed in the Portland metro for quite some time (no ETA)
    • World Wide Packets business model is to provide the infrastructure for ISPs to provide fiber to the end user, but they don't work directly with end-users
    • 6 years ago [Beaverton,OR], I had Telocity SDSL for $20/mo @ 802/802
    • 3 years ago [Beaverton,OR], when I tried to sign up for 1.5/768 Verizon DSL, we found out (after they set us up and started charging for said speed) that the best we can get is 384/384 for $60/mo ($40 Line[Verizon] + $20 ISP [Aracnet]) because of a 26-gauge wire between me and the C.O. They also stated there is no intention to ever upgrade that line unless it is damaged. Of course, they wouldn't tell me where it was.
    • A few months after talking with Speakeasy about the last bullet point, they sent me a letter saying that they could get me 6MB/768 over their fiber network without using Verizon's phone line. When I called them, they said that they couldn't because it still has to go over Verizon's line. Of course, they still wanted me to try to set it up, without installing a replacement for that 26-gauge wire.
    All in all, I think Ashland has it made. Community-owned fiber network that the cable companies and phone companies have to pay to use -- and you don't HAVE to go through any one of them to get service from a 3rd party. I wish Beaverton would do that.
  • After calling around, I found out the fastest bandwidth package available is half the speed of my previous package.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but the optics aren't going to get you any additional speed to the internet if the fastest connection you can find to uplink it is still slow.

    Reminds me of my old school that touted FIBER TO THE DESKTOP!!! - doesn't make much sense when all you have is a T1 and 10k nodes on a single subnet. [fairfield.edu]
  • Here are some things one neighborhood did. I was the consulting network engineer in step -1, and I helped them get a 2400 meter monomode fibre from their division to a municipal fibre loop splicepoint. They pay about Eur450/month for leasing the right-of-way from the city, a single fibre pair in the loop, and a port on a switch with a 10Mbit commit. They have a /24 PI netblock hosted by their ISP. Startup costs were about Eur11,000 for 8 buildings, 4 apartments each. Every building has a multimode fibre ter

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