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Test Selling "Last Mile" Fiber to Homeowners Under Way in Canada

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the more-individual-control-the-better dept.

Communications 196

Ars Technica is covering an interesting pilot program taking place in Ottawa, CA. 400 homes are being outfitted with fiber optic cables; however, the "last mile" of fiber is going to be sold outright to the homeowners rather than providing internet at a monthly fee. "In the future, it could become commonplace for homes to come with 'tails.' These customer-owned, fiber-optic connections would link them to a network peering point. Without the expense of rolling out last mile infrastructure to every home, many more ISPs could afford to serve a given neighborhood by running wiring to the peering point, leading to more competition and lower prices. Perhaps best of all, the growth of customer-owned fiber could make debates over 'open access' and network neutrality moot, as robust telecom competition should prevent the worst of the monopolistic behavior exhibited by telco and cable incumbents."

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won't prevent anything (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24440519)

I remember back in the day a wealthy friend of mine had a line to his house that he had actually paid for, a quarter T I believe it was -- he was still liable for all full payments (even more), and susceptible to shutoffs at a whim.

Re:won't prevent anything (0, Redundant)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440985)

Yes -- I can think of how this works at the hospital (well, you pay the hospital megabucks for being there--the same money you'd have paid for the full service; but you still find you're liable to the doctor's union, and to the radiologist, and the pharmacologist, and the pharmacist, and the food service provider, and the company that provides the little packets of salt...)

Or I can think of how this works on Windoze machines that are sold without windoze (well, you have to pay them to not install it...)

It seems to me that the idea of selling the last mile of cable is simply a way of offloading costs (servicing the last mile of cable becomes YOUR problem, when you're neighbor's installer cuts your cable) while charging the homeowner a profit at the same time. Nor do I think that prices will be lower.

I'd call it dividing up the bill and double charging.

But maybe I'm wrong. This is Canada we're talking about, not the good ol' US of A. Us USAians are good at taking a good idea and driving it for such profit that we break the camel's back. Canada has followed us in that in some respects, but not nearly as badly.

Re:won't prevent anything (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441097)

you pay for your healthcare directly? sucks to be you.

Re:won't prevent anything (-1, Offtopic)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441341)

I have the option of paying cash for my healthcare
and getting a level of attention and service that
doesn't exist north of the border. I can flee the
HACKS that the local HMO or the government provides.

It sucks to be YOU.

What's going to happen to all of the would be
doctors in the UK that the system can't handle?

Central planning in action...

Re:won't prevent anything (2, Interesting)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441865)

susceptible to shutoffs at a whim

Your friend had a fractional T1 and didn't have an SLA?

I would be willing to do this (1)

mrycar (578010) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440559)

Sure hope that this can become an option in the U.S. A couple days of using the backhoe to dig the ditch would pay for itself.

Re:I would be willing to do this (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440617)

You use a ditchwitch to cut a trench, not a backhoe. It only needs to be a few inches wide. Right tool for the right job.

Re:I would be willing to do this (2, Funny)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440633)

Backhoes are more fun!

Re:I would be willing to do this (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24440739)

Hoes is always more fun on they backs... DIG THAT SHIT!

Re:I would be willing to do this (2, Informative)

mrycar (578010) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440765)

I own a backhoe, not a ditchwitch, otherwise would use it.

Re:I would be willing to do this (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441173)

You own a blackhoe? classic pimp wannabe.

Re:I would be willing to do this (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441247)

Can a ditchwitch fill the trench back in too ?

Re:I would be willing to do this (3, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442187)

Can a ditchwitch fill the trench back in too ?

Automatically. You can either run it to cut a narrow trench and deposit the dirt off to the side, or you can run it to automatically cut the trench, lay in pipe or wire from a spool, and drop the dirt back on top. It then requires only a little watering and compaction and you are done. Fast and easy.

equipment (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441635)

A trencher is good but sometimes the ground has huge nasty rocks. We use all three here on the farm do do trenching, ditchwitch, backhoe, trackhoe. You can even use a ripper plow and then go back over it with the blade and smooth it back out if it is all soft mostly. That's really fast if you have a big crawler to drag it, it's like butter then. Just depends on your terrain and how deep you want to go.

With that said, I wish we had better options on wireless. It's gotten really old them tards in government selling all the good spectrum to the same billionaires all the time and leaving john q. public with the *dregs*.

Re:equipment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24442147)

Wireless will never be as good as a fiber optic or copper cable. Even if you could use 100% of the spectrum it'd still always be slower and have higher latency.

Re:I would be willing to do this (2, Funny)

ristonj (1195983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441809)

Which ditch did the ditchwitch witch if the ditchwitch did witch ditch?

Re:I would be willing to do this (2, Informative)

The FNP (1177715) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441983)

The ditch that the ditchwitch would witch if the ditchwitch did witch ditch.

I'm waiting for my +2 Offtopic.

--The FNP

Re:I would be willing to do this (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442111)

I prefer using high explosives. It does a shitty job, but it's a whole lot more fun.

Re:I would be willing to do this (5, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442175)

You use a ditchwitch to cut a trench, not a backhoe. It only needs to be a few inches wide. Right tool for the right job.

Usually not. Most communications trenches are 18 to 24 inches wide. Why? Because the cable is pulled in 3" or 4" conduits, which must be laid on a bed of compacted gravel (called "shading"), covered with more shade, and then backfilled. This requires working space in the trench. Usually multiple conduits are laid too, and telecom is often co-trenched with other utilities below it. A narrow bucket on a backhoe is the tool of choice. I have never seen a ditchwitch used to install pipe for telecom. Ditchwitches are the tool of choice for small irrigation pipe, small buried electrical feeders, and other really light duty applications. Yes, IAACC (commercial contractor).

Re:I would be willing to do this (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440711)

It is. Since http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.12/view.html?pg=5 [slashdot.org] ">four and a half years ago.

Re:I would be willing to do this (1)

Quicksilver_Johny (941977) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441893)

Or even a working link [wired.com] .

That doesn't appear to be exactly the same, but similar and interesting, and the article makes some good points.

Re:I would be willing to do this (4, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441187)

Maybe a bunch of us in my neighborhood could get together and arrange something like this. We could string fiber to all of the homes in an area, like on poles or something... Maybe, since we're putting up poles we could get electricity to the homes as well.

We need a name for something like this that expresses the general usefulness of it for all the customers in the area. I know... let's call it a "public utility district."

Now how to pay for it... since it affects everybody, maybe some sort of property tax.

Re:I would be willing to do this (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441621)

Ya'll live in the Tennessee Valley area?

Re:I would be willing to do this (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441655)

You have to have sigs turned on in order for this joke to work. Here, I'll help:

A public utility district is authorized to provide telecommunications services. - WA SB 6102 2007

In the city? (2, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441963)

A couple days of using the backhoe to dig the ditch would pay for itself.

Ottawa is a city. There tend to be pavements, roads, concrete etc. in the way not to mention a city council that will get rather ticked off if you dig a large trench into the middle of the street. While the idea seems nice in principle is the city going to give homeowners the right to dig up the street to fix their connection if it fails? Are there really going to be multiple companies connecting to the streets central hub to provide a real choice of service? On the face of it it seems rather impractical.

Looking forward to this... (4, Interesting)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440569)

This will be great... so much better than being at the whims of our ISPs (which are going the way of AT&T and comcast - changing policies and restricting access because they can).

I do shudder at paying for repairs to 'my' section of fibre optics - I mean, what happens when they get cut because someone is out digging in the yard? It is pretty hard to get other people to pay for their mistakes... especially if they're expensive!

But, I certainly could go for a community network, even if it was partly independant of the internet - it would make p2p much faster, and more difficulty to monitor.

Re:Looking forward to this... (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440757)

"what happens when they get cut because someone is out digging in the yard?"

The same thing that happens if you're out digging in the yard and the part of the water line that you're responsible for gets broken?

Re:Looking forward to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441055)

The utility owns everything up to the service meter. So if you break it before your section, you owe them money.

Re:Looking forward to this... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440879)

Why not buy insurance for backhoe incidents? Hell, you can add it to your home owners insurance.

Personally, I dont think this is at all feasible. The labor of laying down that one line could be better spent laying down 20 lines at the same time and getting everyone on your block. I could see block co-ops working hand-in-hand with local telcos, but I wouldnt hold my breath. At this point you might as well go whole hog and do municipal fiber broadband.

RTFA. The fiber is already installed. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441199)

Personally, I dont think this is at all feasible. The labor of laying down that one line could be better spent laying down 20 lines at the same time and getting everyone on your block.

RTFA. The fiber is already installed. Now the plan is to sell the existing fiber to the homeowners.

Re:Looking forward to this... (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441797)

The "easiest" solution would be to run a bunch of fibres to some "neutral" point on each block. Although this uses multiple cables, with one cable per end-point in the junction box, it's the same distribution mechanism that cable currently uses. (You see cable junction boxes on some telephone poles, but also as small green pedestals in front of houses and as junction boxes on the sides of apartment buildings.) The "last mile" becomes the "last few feet", with the cable relatively easy (and therefore relatively cheap) to reach and replace.

If you wanted to do municipal/metropolitan broadband, you'd have 32 fibres run to each block, then a 256-way multicast-capable, MPLS-capable router linking four blocks together. (MPLS, or some other virtual circuit protocol, would then uniquely tag a user's stream, so it can be identified further along.) This would be linked to a switch, in the case of larger cities, which would link up a fairly large set of these 4-blocks into a well-defined subset of the city. You'd then have a set of top level multicast-capable MPLS-capable routers that linked the layer below it onto the public Internet, possibly through multiple gateways. Residents would then "buy" Internet access from the providers as always, but this would only require adjusting a QoS table entry in one top-level router that identified how much bandwidth a given virtual circuit had on the public Internet and which gateway that connection would use.

For intra-city connections - say, IMing a friend in the next building - you would only go over the metronet, and your connection could sensibly be whatever speed the local fibre could handle - call it a gigabit per second - provided the upstream networks weren't saturated, as you're working over shared pipes some of the way. Saturation can be avoided by placing routers and switches in parallel. You could load-balance between them, or you could have them working wholly in parallel and have very high-speed switches linking the independent metronets together into a collective metronet. In either case, it makes no difference which router a packet comes in on or goes out on, even if the routers are not on the same "tree" per-se.

If you don't have limited funds, then saturation is inevitable at some point. To minimize the overall impact, routers should be enabled with CBQ or HFSC, such that each virtual circuit has a guaranteed bandwidth (something it can always reach, no matter how busy the network) and a hard maximum bandwidth of whatever the local few meters connection can support, where the guaranteed bandwidth is either an equal fraction of the network at that segment or the hard maximum, whichever is less.

Could this be done? Yes. It's not anti-competitive, as ISPs still end up selling bandwidth to customers the way they have always done. The metronet doesn't replace the ISPs, it replaces the need for excessive physical wiring and it allows ISPs that provide broadband to do so without buying/maintaining quite so many expensive DSL modems, so it cuts the ISP's costs.

Is such a model in use? Yes. It's how natural gas and electricity are sold already. It's how DSL works, for the most part, as DSL companies all share the same phone lines. The difference is the line supplier, not the principle.

Re:Looking forward to this... (1)

SilverJets (131916) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441275)

Well unless I am missing something entirely here or having a brain fart (it is Friday afternoon and all) you would still be at the whim of some type of ISP. I mean the fiber goes back and connects to someone's network somewhere, right? And someone somewhere has to give you an IP address.

My concern would be paying $3000 for this and then the company providing actual access to the rest of the internet going under. So where do I get my refund? Or am I stuck with a "dark" fiber cable in my yard that connects nowhere?

Re:Looking forward to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441481)

Their idea is that somewhere in the neighborhood will be some sort of hutch that basically consists of a bunch of patch panels. On one side are the ends of every fiber in the neighborhood. On the other, places for ISPs to bring their lines in. Then, you just patch from your house to the ISP of your choice.

Personally, I suspect that the ISPs will boycott it. All of the major consumer ISPs will declare that it "doesn't fit in their business plan", and most of the minor ones don't have the capability to feed that sort of connection. That leaves the homeowners with caving in and buying DSL or Cable over the traditional wire, or banding together to shell out the big bucks to get something like an OC-3 line installed, and everyone just using that without getting to choose carriers.

Re:Looking forward to this... (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441645)

Well..

Repairing fiber is very, very expensive. They'll have to come up with an easy way of replacing the fiber if it gets damaged, or most people won't want to pay thousands to replace it when they break it. Replacing fiber is quite a bit cheaper, the hardest part is just getting the fiber into its armor and running the armored cable. Since we're not talking about OC48-grade connections, one or two strands in a thin shell would suffice.

Re:Looking forward to this... (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442169)

You can fix it for rather cheap. Call up the local FBI office or if you want an upgrade the This Agency Does Not Exist. Tell them you need it repaired. It will be. And you'll receive additional "upgrades" at no extra cost!

wireless (-1)

Lilo-x (93462) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440579)

what do users really need at home? 50mb/sec is going to be enough for most users to get TV and internet, this will be sustainable over the air

the uk is laying off building out its fiber infrastructure to the home, maybe this we will shoot ourselves in the foot but if wireless tech really takes off then any fiber investment could be wasted,

Re:wireless (1)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440851)

i don't think 50mb/s is doable over the air.
That is more like the best case performance if you are the only user on the system.
Unless you are talking about directional wireless. (which is not as cheap or scalable as you might think)

Wireless is also high latency, lossy, unreliable, easily disrupted by a single mis-configured pc...
It is struggling to reach 100mbit ethernet level performace while 100mbit fiber gear is reaching consumer-level cheapness.

to top it all off, wireless still needs fiber for backhaul!
in my opinion fiber is literally 1000 times better than wireless.

Re:wireless (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441633)

Which wireless system do you have that:

  • Will reliably provide 50Mb/s per user over a reasonable area (even VDSL2 can only do that for about 1km)
  • Won't be taken out by rain, lightning, snow, obstructing buildings, overhead power lines, etc.
  • Does not require a large antenna (Needs to be feasible for apartment dwellers).
  • Does not require as yet undeveloped or unstandardized technology.

$2700 is a lot of money, sorry folks. (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440595)

Paying $2700 for a fiber connection may seem like a lot, but plenty of people spend more than that on other high-tech gadgets. High-end gaming machines and laptops still cost more than $2700. And, Wu notes, a fiber connection will probably sell with the house; a couple thousand dollars is a pittance compared with the amounts many customers pay for remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, new windows, and the like.

I have fiber running less than 100 feet from my house. Why the fuck can't I just access that? I realize that they are talking about Ottawa Canada here, but why can't someone just ask me if I want to pay money to tap into the cables that are so close to me? While I don't believe $2700 is at all reasonable for what they are asking (especially in the United States) and I couldn't tell you more than a handful of people that would even know what Fiber to your door means let alone have it be a selling point, I still want someone to come to me and say, "hey, you can use that McLeod fiber that is right there -- today -- enjoy."

Ah, my dreams.

Can't just tap it (5, Informative)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440939)

A fiber isn't something you can just tap into without negative results. You'll need to cut it then add a splitter.

Assuming it went perfectly, you've just
1) Killed the network for everyone using that fiber for the time it was cut
2) degraded the signal(light) for everyone
3) ponied up for several (10's of?) thousands of dollars in equipment because that signal won't likely be usable by low-end short-haul consumer equipment.

Now imagine all your neighbors doing that.

You'll need some type of remote terminal for your neighborhood.

Even in the old days of vampire taps on coax there were limits.

Re:Can't just tap it (1)

Bobtree (105901) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441033)

Please mod parent up. You can't just tap an existing active fiber optic line any more than you can just take a sip from an open fire hose.

Re:Can't just tap it (4, Insightful)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441257)

Please mod parent up. You can't just tap an existing active fiber optic line any more than you can just take a sip from an open fire hose.

Better "series of tubes" analogy: you cant just cut a hole and screw your garden hose to the nearest water main, you need pressure reducers, check valves, cuttoffs, a meter, and other pipe fittings, and it reduces the service level to everyone else on the same pipe, and you have to take it out of service to put in the T.

With fiber its that * 10, generally your fiber will run with with everyone elses' (and maybe even along side the backbone) to a fiber hut somewhere down the line, where they all patch into transceivers and fiber-mux's to be piped back upstream or around the ring. Sure, the backbone itself might be laid at the edge of the road 20' from your door, but the nearest fiber hut could be a few miles down the road. Same reason you dont normally see the houses directly under high-tension power lines running taps to them...

tm

Re:$2700 is a lot of money, sorry folks. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441061)

It will cost you close to a grand just to dig the trench.

When I needed my main water line replaced (about 10 years ago), the cost breakdown was:

$400 for the plumbing and the labor
$400 to pay for a ditchwitch for a day
$400 for the guy operating the ditchwitch

Re:$2700 is a lot of money, sorry folks. (4, Interesting)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441577)

Doesn't always work like that.

My university is about 2 miles from the fiber backbone which connects Denver to Chicago. I believe it's the primary line from the East Coast to West Coast. Tons and tons of capacity.

However, after doing a cost analysis, the university bought IRUs on fiber to a peering point about 150 miles south of us solely because the cost of tapping in to the nearby fiber would have been insane. In fact, that was the last option - it would have been cheaper to buy fiber from here to Chicago, 500 miles away.

Road works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24440649)

Does this mean that the street will be opened every week, when the next person in a neighbourhood wants fiber, instead of every month? At least it wouldn't be a real big problem in my city, with the potholes all year long...

Re:Road works (2, Informative)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440901)

Here in Ottawa we have the vast majority of our cables on poles.

Re:Road works (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441243)

Here in Ottawa we have the vast majority of our cables on poles.

Interesting. Here in Southern California we use swedes instead of poles.

Re:Road works (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441251)

They would probably bury duct tubes/pipes underneath the ground and give every house its own fibre-optic cable.

For a new subdivision, the peering point would probably be at the nearest major road intersection.

nah, thanks to google TiSP... (5, Funny)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441355)

Does this mean that the street will be opened every week, when the next person in a neighbourhood wants fiber, instead of every month? ...

Nope! Thanks to the innovative people at Google, there is no trenching involved! With their latest beta release of TiSP [google.com] , all the end user has to do is flush one end of the fiber down the nearest toilet, and wait for the plumbing techs to plug it in to the nearest node!

Tm

Re:Road works (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441943)

I don't know how you lay fibre in leftpondia, but when we laid a water main to our last house from the main road, it went under an orchard and the only digging required was a hole at each end. A small device called a mole dug a tunnel with no disruption. It went in one hole and came out the other end pulling the water pipe behind it. A pipe that size could take a lot of fiberoptics.

Internet as a utility? (5, Interesting)

atfrase (879806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440657)

When I read this, the first thing that came to mind was that in theory, you could do a similar thing with electricity, and then maybe the electric company wouldn't have to be a sanctioned monopoly anymore.

And then that thought went the other direction: maybe the broadband internet access market will start looking more like the electricity market, rather than the other way around.

As things stand now (in the US at least), broadband competition is all but non-existent for the same reasons as more conventional utilities: the prohibitively high infrastructure cost for competitors to enter the market. If this experiment doesn't enable viable competition, maybe it's time to think about applying the regulated-monopoly idea to internet access.

Re:Internet as a utility? (1)

arclyte (961404) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441479)

While I think that this is where we will end up before long (or at least something analogous to current utilities) reading your post sent shivers up my spine... I think seeing internet as utility is exactly the wrong direction to go, as utilities in the U.S. are so terrible as it is. Hopefully broadband access can break that mold and help to drag utilities out with it... I can dream, can't I?

Re:Internet as a utility? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441939)

They actually put this bill before the state senate in Washington [wa.gov] :

A public utility district is authorized to provide telecommunications services. - WA SB 6102 2007

A few days later it was replaced with a substitute bill which calls this a "test" and then lays out a list of restrictions on the counties that qualify to engage in the test. Strangely, not one of the counties in the state qualifies - making the entire thing void.

The first bill was a much better bill. Maybe somebody else can take this up. The prior "test" happened in 1990 and is meeting with some success.

Re:Internet as a utility? (1)

TheCastro (1329551) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442143)

Actually it isn't very expensive to enter the market anymore thanks to the thousands of miles of lines laid down in the nineties during the internet boom, that's why it costs so little to make phone calls across the world compared to before the boom.

The costs come from other things such as getting lines to neighborhoods and fighting bidding and cost cutting wars. The initial infrastructure is there, its the small things that will add up. And regulations from the FCC really stop rich people from getting involved in a market that changes constantly.

Kinda' like a patch panel (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440661)

This is kinda' like a patch panel, I take it. Have a junction point for distribution of media and have it in place so that you can light up paths as you need them. Good idea, so long as no one gets the bright idea of proprietary junction boxes or something.

I know I wouldn't mind buying a house with my own fiber uplink to a distribution point, as it's probably cheaper when it's part of the 'package' with a house purchase than having it run by a contractor. Since it costs just about the same to run a single strand as it does to run 20, it would make sense for new neighborhoods to have someone run fiber to all the houses while the trench is open, like they do with cable now.

Like the phone company's "inside line" service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24440701)

Whereby they charge you 'extra' for service or for 'insurance' on the lines. It also provides a convenient excuse for bandwidth problems when they start throttling your service for 'traffic shaping' those pesky congestion issues arising from traffic shap... er, we mean those nasty IP disrespecting P2P terrorists.

Owning your fiber is great, till something breaks. (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440703)

Like say some idiot knocking out your connection because they knocked it out with a backhoe. Or even the city tearing up the street, and saying you have to pay to relocate your fiber.

It's a hell of a lot easier for someone that owns a LOT of the fiber to hire lawyers and get someone else to pay for mistakes than it is for one person.

Re:Owning your fiber is great, till something brea (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441057)

The ideal would be for it to operate like any other civic infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc.) where the homeowner is responsible only past a certain point (demarc point, property boundary, etc.) and the utility company is responsible for the rest.

Realistically, bandwidth _should_ be a utility.

Re:Owning your fiber is great, till something brea (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441371)


The ideal would be for it to operate like any other civic infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc.) where the homeowner is responsible only past a certain point (demarc point, property boundary, etc.) and the utility company is responsible for the rest

So how would that be different than it is now? I don't own the water pipes outside my home, nor the power cables. I don't WANT to own those things, nor does it really make much sense to do so. If you own it, you're responsible for fixing it. Nobody is going to want to be responsible for fixing the fiber, but not be able to charge you for that responsibility.

The one good suggestion I heard was someone who suggested an insurance model.

Re:Owning your fiber is great, till something brea (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441759)

The ideal would be for it to operate like any other civic infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc.) where (...) the utility company is responsible for the rest.

Yeah, except I've never had to bother with what the utility company has on their end. I've never turned my hose up full and heard the water works say "we can't deliver more water". I've never turned on the stove and heard the power plant say "we can't deliver more electricity". Nor have the sewage ever had a problem taking away what it should. But I've certainly hear the ISPs say "we can't deliver faster Internet because you're too far from the central". If there's no competition on the last mile, there's no point in competition anywhere else. Maybe that'll change some day, but right now I want cable vs dsl vs fios vs wifi vs whatever battle it out for the last mile. If we ever get to the point where the end mile is "plenty" fast maybe metered bandwidth would work.

Re:Owning your fiber is great, till something brea (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441913)

I think it works better with power, water, and gas because breaks in those things are actually dangerous. I've run into gas and power problems in the past on my property which should've been my responsibility to fix. But (except for one really expensive fix) the utility company fixed it on their dime anyway. I suspect they'd rather spend a couple hundred dollars repairing something than end up with the bad publicity and possible lawsuit of a house blowing up or a person being electrocuted because they refused to fix it.

The phone company OTOH just hooked up the T1 to the junction box and left. If a phone line or fiber breaks, there isn't exactly much incentive for them to come and fix it promptly. I even had intermittent problems with their lines for two years and they'd try to dodge it rather than fix it. Every time it rained for more than a couple hours, I'd get static on the phone (and the T1 would stop working). I'd call Verizon, they'd open a ticket, which they wouldn't get to for a day or two, by which time the lines were dry and there was no problem, and they'd close the ticket. I finally got lucky when it happened while I was switching T1 companies and a Verizon tech was sitting on the line working with the T1 company.

Re:Owning your fiber is great, till something brea (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441647)

> Like say some idiot knocking out your connection because they knocked it out with a backhoe.

I've heard techs refer to backhoes as "cable finders"...

What happens when something goes wrong? (1)

PFAK (524350) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440705)

It should be interesting to see how maintenance is handled. Can't wait until something goes wrong and you have a $15,000 bill to dig up the road to the "peering point."

Re:What happens when something goes wrong? (4, Informative)

4iedBandit (133211) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440981)

I know this is Slashdot, but if you had bothered to read the article you would have discovered that the cable would be managed and maintained by a management company. So the cost of maintenance would be shared among the community. Just like existing home owners associations today.

I currently pay a monthly fee to my association and it covers lawn care, water, sewer, snow removal and garbage removal. This would just tack on "fiber internet connection" to that list.

Re:What happens when something goes wrong? (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441253)

I currently pay a monthly fee to my association and it covers lawn care, water, sewer, snow removal and garbage removal.

Me too. It also pays for them to dig a hole in my yard, not fill it in, then send me a nasty notice threatening me with fines if I don't fix the hole in my yard. Depending on them for Internet access, too? God almighty!

Re:What happens when something goes wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441379)

I currently pay a monthly fee to my association and it covers lawn care, water, sewer, snow removal and garbage removal. This would just tack on "fiber internet connection" to that list.

What do your municipal taxes pay for?

Re:What happens when something goes wrong? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441443)

Ok, so the whole HOA gets the bill.

It still resolves into the same nonsense.
It's just a smaller hit for each individual.

Re:What happens when something goes wrong? (1)

celle (906675) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442095)

Not everyone lives in the suburbs or city and many don't have neighborhood associations and wouldn't want the nosy fuckers anyway.

This is great! (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440723)

This is great! Now, the phone companies will be able to blame the customers directly for their troubles!!!

This would solve so many problems for us. (4, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440735)

I would definitely pay to have fiber drawn at my house.

I think a peering agreement is way easier than using an ISP.

This increases competition and provides infinitely more options to customers.

For instance, I could peer with a large network provider and ask for 100Mbits both way. The price would drop significantly since it's just a simple network connection after that.

Re:This would solve so many problems for us. (4, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440965)

For instance, I could peer with a large network provider and ask for 100Mbits both way. The price would drop significantly since it's just a simple network connection after that.

I'm assuming you went for funny and the mods missed it.

Just in case you were serious...why the hell would they peer with you? Unless a whole lot of their customers were sitting inside your network (ie, in your house), they'd be carrying all your traffic and you none of theirs. So that peer agreement would be rather imbalanced.

I dare you though - call up Verizon and tell them you want a peer agreement. Would be a good prank if nothing else.

Re:This would solve so many problems for us. (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441131)

I dare you though - call up Verizon and tell them you want a peer agreement.

They told me it would cost 0.02 cents/kB.

Limit the monopoly (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440737)

I have suggested many times, that a monopoly should be created from the block level green box, to the house. That monopoly should not do anything BUT that monopoly. Nothing else. Then it should allow up to 50-100 providers to come to each box. Any smart company who goes block level to CO will then sell hookups to others. Of course, competition means prices will be kept low.

Re:Limit the monopoly (2, Interesting)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441025)

Absolutely, although I would suggest at least neighbourhood level aggregation, not blocks.
(depending on what size of blocks we're talking about here)

Also, if this organization is to be a monopoly then it will have to be heavily regulated.
A co-op or condo-association model might work better and be more efficient.

Re:Limit the monopoly (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441319)

Actually, have the co-op offer up 5-10 year contracts for servicing it. That way, another company can compete OCCASIONALLY.

Pitch in... (2, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440795)

with your neighbors and buy it together, then share it with a wireless mesh network.

Bragging rights (1)

shicaca (899698) | more than 6 years ago | (#24440967)

"So Fred what are you doing today?" "Oh nothing just downloading movies at 40Gb/s from Timmy next door on our local fiber P2P network"

Re:Bragging rights (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441467)

Don't scoff. A neighborhood only dark network for "sharing"
stuff could be a very interesting possibility. It would be
like a neighborhood private BBS and could be completely
invisible to prying eyes.

Necessary move (3, Interesting)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441053)

In my neighborhood - suburb of DC - I can't get Verizon's FIOS because I live in a low-ish density single-family community. I live 7500 feet from the CO and have DSL. The townhouses on either side of me have FIOS, as do the apartments across the street. Apparently there isn't enough incentive to bring their fancy fibers my way. I'd love to run privately owned dark fiber to a co-lo where the bastards *would* take my money. I'd expect a better rate due to the need to use *my* infrastructure. I've been speaking to the Verizon customer service reps on and off for several years now, and they expect to have the service in my area "any day now." Uh huh ...

Re:Necessary move (0, Offtopic)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441181)

You tell'em! You're entitled, entitled I say!, to fast internet access! You go to your DC representatives and you tell them your story! Do it!

In the meantime, your "representative" will be lunching with the lobbyist from Verizon who will tell your "representative" the "truth" and therefore you'll get the service that you deserve.

Isn't the political system great?!?

Re:Necessary move (3, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441807)

Work the phones and talk with Verizon's FIOS people. Not the customer support folks, but the technical folks who lay the cable and stuff (if you can catch one of their vans out there laying out cable, talk with the workers). They can get you in touch with managers and supervisors who make the actual go/no-go decisions on who gets FIOS.

My previous workplace was in the same situation with FIOS available literally on the other side of the street, but Verizon unwilling to bring it to their building because it was too far back from the street. After a lot of talking, they came up with an arrangement to split the cost of the fiber install to the building 50/50 (which was still way cheaper than the T1 they were using). Last I heard Verizon decided to just pay for the whole thing. So get on the phone and talk with Verizon.

if and only if... (1)

indy_Muad'Dib (869913) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441123)

id do gladly pay for this if and only if the telco guarantees me full unrestricted access.

no blocking, no caps, no limits on what i can do with it.

Repairs, upgrades, etc...? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441165)

Fiber is a backhoe magnet. If the homeowners are responsible for the last mile, who's responsible for repairing it when the inevitable backhoe strikes? The neighborhood association? Heaven forfend!

No Easement, No Fiber (2, Interesting)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441169)

So, I pay $2700 for a company to "pull" fiber directly to my house/condo. But, according to the article, even though it throws around the word "ownership" there's nothing defining that ownership.

When this company goes belly up in the future, I will lose this fiber because I don't have an easement for it. And because there isn't an easement, nothing gets transferred with the property, except a gentleman's agreement. And what's to stop this company from doing something else with the fiber?

This sounds suspiciously like a cableco/telco that allows you to use another network on their physical line. I own nothing. I have no rights. It also sounds like a subscription music service.

Re:No Easement, No Fiber (1)

erbmjw (903229) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441905)

Just a little bit of info from the article

A private company has recently completed a project to string dark fiber from a colocation facility under the Ottawa City Hall to a neighborhood of 400 older, upper-middle-class homes.

I think a company that is starting it's fiber to homes project from under city hall has already got the easements approved.

Re:No Easement, No Fiber (1)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441959)

You missed my point. Nowhere in that article does it say the homeowner receives an easement for the fiber, or a share of the company, like a co-op.

Without that, when that company dies or gets bought out, its easements will get transferred to someone else, and the homeowners are at the whim of the easement holder. The homeowners are only paying for a service. "Ownership" is a huge misnomer.

Baby Bells RULE! (4, Interesting)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441333)

I'm on a farm in the country (in Ontario) that is serviced by a "baby bell" This is a co-op where all the people on the line have a share in the company.

The neat thing about this is, Bell and Rogers and all the baby bells go to Ottawa to discuss what a proper service rate is. Rogers and Bell, present their case that it costs $$$$ to do their thing. My co-op costs $$$, but because of anti-competition rules the bigger guys their their way with $$$$ and the co-op has to have the same prices.

So I'm paying $$$$ for my phone service. BUT.....

All is not lost, remember the share in the company? Well if it only costs $$$ to run a service that $$$$ is being charged, then the owners receive a dividend at the end of the year! Whee.

Or alternatively we get better service!

Whee!!!

On Tuseday (yup this really is relevant!) they were installing Fiber Optic in front of my house. In the near futures I'll be getting it inside.

Don't forget, I live on a Farm, in the middle of the farming area.

Don't you wish you didn't have to deal with the monopolies?

Re:Baby Bells RULE! (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441701)

Any chance you could have someone from your coop email me info on the process behind forming one?

Re:Baby Bells RULE! (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441975)

All is not lost, remember the share in the company? Well if it only costs $$$ to run a service that $$$$ is being charged, then the owners receive a dividend at the end of the year! Whee.

I might be missing something, but doesn't the government tax that extra $ as it is profit?

Re:Baby Bells RULE! (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442105)

bastid. I hate you :)

ORLY? (1)

h3 (27424) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441343)

> robust telecom competition should prevent the worst of the monopolistic behavior exhibited by telco and cable incumbents

It's 2008, does anyone really believe that?

I like the idea! (1)

mnslinky (1105103) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441377)

This sounds like a pretty neat idea. Make the homeowner somewhat responsible for their own pipe, and let the ISP/service providers run to the peering node. To me, this makes a ton of sense!

Re:I like the idea! (1)

celle (906675) | more than 6 years ago | (#24442145)

How about getting rid of the ISP/Providers and running everyone to a branching backbone thereby getting rid of the middleman.

They should partner with Google (0, Redundant)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441387)

Since google has already perfected the easiest deployment scheme, with No trenching needed! [google.com]

Tm

Re:They should partner with Google (3, Funny)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441741)

Boy, that's some SHITTY service :D

typoinheadline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441437)

In this usage, "underway" should be one word.

"Robust compitition" my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441515)

Any article with "Canada" and "robust telecom competition" in it should be taken with a large grain of salt.

"Robust competition", heheheheheh. "Robust". Hahahahaha!

The Low Population Density Means A Long Wait! (2, Informative)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441789)

The population of Canada is pretty low (about 35 million), spread out across the second largest country in the world and frozen solid for at least two or three months in the warmest areas, it's a big deal if this was offered.

  Some places near me have just got cable access last year because they were so isolated the cable company wasn't going to put up miles of cable for one house.

  I would pay up front for fiber if that meant I would get it sooner...it'll probably still end up being throttled to death somehow!

you FaiL It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24441791)

us the 3ourte5y [goat.cx]

Management ? (2, Insightful)

droopycom (470921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24441887)

So, there will be a new Fiber Management Company (FMC ?) setup to manage your own fiber and arguably the peering point.

Who would this Company report to and how would it too its business ?

Would it report to the Homeowners through some kind of HOA ?

If not, then you just moved the monopoly from the ISP to the FMC.

But if the peering point and fibers are really owned by the HOA, can an HOA really ensure quality service to its member ? Do you feel comfortable with your neighbors handling this ? I mean my HOA is trying to regulate the Satellite Dishes, in the complex, with very little success. And I dont really want my neighboors to have access to my connection logs.

It is likely that the local cable or phone company will be first to connect to your peering point and try to keep the competition out by the usual means.

I'm not saying its a bad idea, but I doubt it will be a perfect solution...

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