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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Convince an ISP To Bury Cable In Your Neighborhood? 324

EmagGeek writes "I live in a semi-rural micropolitan area that generally has good access choices for high speed Internet. However, there are holes in the coverage in our area, and I live in one of them. There is infrastructure nearby, but because our subdivision covenants require all utilities to be underground, telecoms won't even consider upgrading to modern technology. The result is that we're all stuck with legacy DSL (which AT&T has happily re-branded as U-Verse even though it isn't) as our only choice for wireline access. There is a competing cable company in the area, also with infrastructure nearby, but similarly they are reluctant to even discuss burying new cable in our 22-home subdivision. Has anyone been in this same predicament and been able to convince a nearby ISP to run new lines? If so, how did you do it? Our neighborhood association could really use some pointers on this because we hit a new brick wall with every new approach we try — stopping just short of burying our own cable and hoping they'll at least be willing to run a line to the pole at the end of the street and drop it into our box."
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Convince an ISP To Bury Cable In Your Neighborhood?

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  • The basics... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjuib ( 584451 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @06:49PM (#46018861) Homepage Journal


  • Owned (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @06:51PM (#46018875)

    It's nice to see you NIMBY dirt-bags getting what you deserve.

  • Pay them. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RealGene ( 1025017 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @06:53PM (#46018905)
    Really, it's the only way. Pay them to do the work. It will cost you at least $3-5K per household.
    The only alternative is to go to your locality's cable commission, and find out if/when the cable provider's license is up for renewal. Make 100% coverage a non-negotiable requirement for renewal.
  • Re:The basics... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @06:58PM (#46018951) Journal

    Very much true. Money.

    Also, if you are paying for it yourself, why go with cable? Normally the cable companies just go in with an underground torpedo (yes, just like in the ocean, a big projectile that rockets through the ground) and shoot the thing toward the destination. They occasionally hit water lines, power lines, and other infrastructure. Then they hunt for it on the other end and hook things up.

    If you are serious about doing it, avoid cable. Hook up the neighborhood with fiber to each home. It isn't that much more expensive if you are going to tear up the streets anyway, and is far more valuable in the long run. You will still need someone to hook up the neighborhood to the grid, but once the fiber is in place, connecting the neighborhood's hub to a CO is pretty easy.

  • Re: Owned (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:00PM (#46018965) Homepage Journal

    Your 22 houses represent a very, very small market to the carriers, and your neighborhood decided to be cute and require all utilities be underground... Guess what, your 22 possible customers are too few to interest any carrier in even submitting paperwork to bury cables.

    Can you even guarantee that all 22 houses will buy into whatever carrier you can convince to serve your neighborhood?

    You should have buried the cables when you built the neighborhood, then you'd have a fighting chance to convince a carrier to serve your neighborhood.

  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:01PM (#46018975)

    Are there no wimax solutions available? Wouldn't a hspa+ / LTe / 4g solution be much more cost efficient?

  • You don't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:25PM (#46019221)

    I work for a phone company. The only way to do it is pay for it yourself. Which is actually an option. We get businesses that will move into an area and want larger data-pipes and they just end up paying to have the cable laid. I think though, that after you get the estimates on the costs, you'll quickly realize why they have no desire to upgrade your trunking. It's upwards of a million dollars a mile... then take the number of people in your neighborhood, multiply that times what you pay per month, then divide the cost of laying the cable by that, and I bet you're looking at 40yrs before it pays itself off. By then there will be a new technology that you'll be bitching at them for not installing.

  • Re:The basics... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:42PM (#46019399)


    This, and access requirements. The article says "our subdivision covenants require all utilities to be underground, " that's not a normal subdivision, it's controlled by an HOA and they control access from the edge of the development to the individual lots. It's basically the same thing as a trailer park except each person who owns a plot has an ownership stake/voice in the HOA- there isn't public right-of-way like there is in a non-covenant development.

    When these types of developments are originally being built, the contractor will generally offer the local ISP's/telco's the chance to come run their lines while the trenches are open. In most cases local companies which already service the area will even come out drop their copper into the trenches for free, which is most likely how the DSL got there, but in some cases they HOA or original developer has to pay them. (Especially if you want fiber instead of copper).

    So the first part of the answer is- you're going to have to work with the HOA no matter what. The ISP is not likely to pay to open trench and/or push conduit without being paid to do so, and HOA's can be extremely difficult to deal with at times depending on the membership. The HOA probably wants the ISP to pay to run the lines and landscape it afterwards, and the ISP probably wants the HOA to do it themselves or pay them to do it.

    The best route to go is consult with the HOA and if there's support for it, have the HOA itself approach the ISP's Construction Manager, possible speak with someone who works on Business accounts. Once they understand the HOA is on board, they will be more willing to prepare an actual Quote to get services run.

    But it's also possible the HOA worked out an exclusive deal with the existing DSL provider, where they won't allow anyone else to run lines in exchange for the ISP 'freeing out' the construction/build-out fees.

    Good Luck!

    Side Note- this is one of the reasons why I really hate HOA's and would never buy property in a covenant development.

  • Re:The basics... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pepty ( 1976012 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:10PM (#46019621)
    How it works in my city:

    1. City allows utilities to charge a fee to underground telecom and power cables.

    2. Utilities collect the fee for decades without actually burying any cable.

    3. Fees stopped, utilities allowed to keep what they collected.

    4. Folks with ocean views pay to bury stuff on their own

    Fast forward a few years...

    1. City allows utilities to charge a fee to underground telecom, internet, and power cables.

    2. Utilities collect the fee, promise to have everything buried by 2067 ...

  • Re:The basics... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:36PM (#46020647) Journal

    Yes, a cable torpedo, along with other tools like a pneumatic mole or trenchless borer, is a real thing. They are usually run for one-shot cables of short distance, such as hooking up a single house, rather than a large area. Basically they dig a hole on either end, stick the torpedo with a cable, and hope it doesn't miss. Sometimes they accidentally pierce existing things, sometimes they hit a rock and get lost, but usually they make it between the ends just fine.

    But as I said, if the OP is going to rip up an entire neighborhood for Internet connections, they might as well lay down fiber instead of copper. It isn't much more expensive, and both costs will be dwarfed by the cost of trenching and repairing everything when done.

  • Re:The basics... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by achbed ( 97139 ) <sdNO@SPAMachbed.org> on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:53PM (#46020759) Homepage Journal

    And by "crush" you mean, what?

    AT&T could refuse to sign up to the neighborhood infrastructure unless everyone paid for a normal account with AT&T. The HOA (or OP) would have to eat the costs of burying and building all of the mini-ISP's infrastructure.

    They could go to the state and get a law passed that HOAs and public interest groups are not allowed to provide ISP service. Like they did in South Carolina to municipalities. Next they'll go to the FCC and get them to reclassify ISPs are common carriers so that it's impossible to make new competitors due to regulatory hurtles.

    I'd like to think I'm paranoid and/or kidding.

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