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Houses With Tails

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the how-about-with-roots? dept.

The Internet 307

nnfiber writes "What if home owners could also own their Internet connection? Tim Wu, of New America Foundation and Derek Slater, Google's Policy Analyst, say this can be a new effective way to encourage broadband deployment — an important issue in 'America's economic growth.' In his post, Timothy B. Lee says: 'That might sound like a crazy idea at first blush, but Wu and Slater do a great job of explaining how it might work. The key idea is "condominium fiber," an arrangement in which a number of neighboring households pool their resources to install fiber to all the homes in their neighborhoods. Once constructed, each home would own its own fiber strand, while the shared costs of maintaining the "trunk" cable from the individual homes to a central switching location would be managed in the same way that condominium and homeowners' associations currently manage the shared areas of condos and gated communities.'"

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Won't work (1, Interesting)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25901955)

The housing market is crap already, adding other overheads won't make things better. And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

Re:Won't work (2, Funny)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902223)

And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

Thank you for the early Christmas present, that thought makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Re:Won't work (1, Interesting)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902289)

The housing market is crap already, adding other overheads won't make things better. And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

This has been around forever and was quite possibly more popular back in the dial up days since T1's were the cheapest broadband connections back then. The isp's are getting paid for the fiber or T line so they don't care.

Re:Won't work (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902323)

I guess this would be like the old 'neighborhood swimming pools' we used to have when I grew up...I think it might actually help a neighborhood sell houses these days.

Hmm..do they still even have neighborhood pools anymore? It was great to meet kids around you...have fun during the summers...but, hell, that was so long ago for me, we even had a quality diving board...something I guess most kids of today haven't got a clue about except for maybe seeing one on the olympics.

*sigh* damned lawyers....

Re:Won't work (0, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902345)

The whole market driven economic system is collapsing, all around the world. It's finally becoming apparent that it was never an efficient or effective system, and that any perceptions of efficiency and effectiveness came from a surplus of working adults with no dependent children to distract them from being industrious.

Each week, hundreds of billions of dollars are printed and distributed to a select few individuals. Which means each week, any particular dollar is worth far less than it was the week before. Ownership of stock has proven to be worthless, because all the large businesses that participate in the stock exchanges are bankrupt and worthless, unless they get a bailout, in which case your share of them is devalued to the point of insignificance.

This system doesn't work.

So, why would anyone in their right mind think that moving responsibility for communications infrastructure to individuals and market forces is going to do anything beyond cause the collapse of modern communications?

You privatize common infrastructure, its utility is underutilized, then it is destroyed. Pretty cut and dried.

Re:Won't work (2, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902397)

The 1930's called, they want their economic thinking back.

Agree... internet access should be infrastructure (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902537)

We're well past the point of fooling around with these schemes. If we believe water and sewage should be public infrastructure (and cheap and universally available), then that belief should extend to internet access too. This can be bought about through political action. Certainly, the telcos are very active politically.

Re:Won't work (3, Insightful)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902657)

Its not the markets that are failing, its the mixing of free markets and protectionism that brought us to this point.

Re:Won't work (5, Insightful)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902439)

Have either of these guys ever owned a condo? I made that mistake once - never again. Years to get simple repairs done, friends of the condo board getting repairs long before other people and often before people who requested needed repairs first, etc. etc. ad nauseam. Owning a condo is a good way to see some of the worst traits humanity has to offer. Let an organization like that control the quality or even existence of my net connection? No way.

Re:Won't work (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902615)

And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

nope. there used to be a thing called "community TV" a neighborhood would buy a lot, set up a big tower with antennas and wire all the homes with "cable tv" and everyone paid $25.00 a year to it's upkeep and upgrading.

Cable Tv companies came up with "franchise fees" when they entered into a market. They used this along with lobbying for legislation to make running a non profit free "community TV" system illegal. you had to be a business and pay franchise fees. This killed every system across America as the cable companies came in.

Nobody is willing to lobby state and federal lawmakers to make it legal for neighborhoods to band together and put up a community tv system legally anymore. We just bay like good sheep and pay out $55.00 a month Cable TV bill.

Re:Won't work (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902649)

Besides, I hate my neighbors, don't even know their names, and hope they default on their mortgages and coyotes move in.

Silly to create the organization (2, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#25901957)

just to deal with the 'tail'. Too much administrative work to do on a volunteer basis, too little to do on a paid basis. But it might work with a pre-existing organization such as a condo, coop or home owners association.

Re:Silly to create the organization (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902043)

Why is this too much work? You're not talking thousands of homes, you're theoretically talking at most a couple of hundred which can easily be serviced by two routers utilizing XRRP or some kind of redundant routing protocol. Firewalls would still be left to people in their own homes. All it would do is provide a pass-through assigning Internet facing addresses provided people can get enough addresses for a reasonable price.

The only way it gets tricky is if you have to NAT anything or if you want to go IPv6 on the community facing loop while IPv4 out the Internet. Monitoring companies can keep track of the device once it's install for quite reasonable fees at that.

Re:Silly to create the organization (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902137)

Why is this too much work? You're not talking thousands of homes, you're theoretically talking at most a couple of hundred which can easily be serviced by two routers utilizing XRRP or some kind of redundant routing protocol.

Before long, you will be talking thousands of homes. Some enterprising group of guys will start a small business of 'managing HOA & condo communications'. The various HOAs will contract out to these guys, because it is easier (and may be cheaper) than trying to do it themselves. Eventually, that company will run all of the HOA/condo/subdivision comms in an area or city.
Hey, look...we just reinvented Comcast!

HOAs do this already. Frequently, the HOA is not run by the 'homeowners', but rather a faceless company that provides that same functionality.

Re:Silly to create the organization (1)

eth1 (94901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902477)

Except that Comcast provides content, Internet service AND owns the wires. Your theoretical company would only *maintain* wires owned by someone else.

In other words, they have no agenda for discriminating against competing service providers, so it would be easier to provide a competing Internet service.

Re:Silly to create the organization (2, Insightful)

droopycom (470921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902531)

True,

But still the Management Company does not own anything, unlike Comcast.

So, it would be much easier for another Management Company to compete.

The point is that the homeowners (as a whole) would have more choice -- at least for the Management Company.

But off course, individually, the homeowner will loose some his individual choice and be subject to his neighbors wishes.

And, most importantly it will remain to be seen if your "tails" will be able to connect to more than one ISP. If not then I doubt there will be any benefits.

Re:Silly to create the organization (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902581)

Before long, you will be talking thousands of homes. Some enterprising group of guys will start a small business of 'managing HOA & condo communications'. The various HOAs will contract out to these guys, because it is easier (and may be cheaper) than trying to do it themselves. Eventually, that company will run all of the HOA/condo/subdivision comms in an area or city. Hey, look...we just reinvented Comcast! HOAs do this already. Frequently, the HOA is not run by the 'homeowners', but rather a faceless company that provides that same functionality.

It may be a faceless company, but it's your faceless company. My new apartment has a discounted cable service, discounted PVR rental, discounted broadband access and all because we are many (not just block but association) and got market power. Sure, they probably take their own cut but they squeeze the ISPs to provide either better service or at lower prices to keep us happy with their management. So no, it would not be reinventing Comcast but rather their worst nightmare. Expect them to fight anything like this like crazy.

Re:Silly to create the organization (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902599)

by two routers utilizing XRRP or some kind of redundant routing protocol.

The only way it gets tricky is if you have to NAT anything or if you want to go IPv6 on the community facing loop while IPv4 out the Internet. Monitoring companies can keep track of the device once it's install for quite reasonable fees at that.

I don't think the neighbors are going to understand a thing you just said. So good luck with launching that proposal. Most leaders of homeowners associations are people who want some semblance of power, so bringing in something they don't understand is going to be difficult, because they can't control it. And they usually have a lot more time to politic about these things and are willing to do it.

If I were looking for a house and found out that the internet connection was part of the home owners association, then I would not buy it.

I've seen and had enough crap, from the neighborhood police ( you can't install satellite dishes, you can't park in front of the house, you should cut your lawn to 1.5 inches and can not be higher than 3.5 inches, that kind of crap.)

My favorite rebuttal, was when a neighbor bought an antique truck and installed a 20 foot pole on the back and attached a satellite antennae to it and parked it in back.

I wanted to do the same, but my wife wouldn't let me. She felt it was impractical, since we didn't have satellite TV. Women, they just don't get it.

Then next best was a neighbor who mowed his lawn to the request 1.5 inches and then dropped it down .5 inches to write a message in his lawn, wish I choose not to repeat. But in so doing he killed the grass where the message was and it was much more readable about 3 days out. So he went out and killed the rest of the grass.

Ahhhh, the good ole days.

Houses with tails? (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25901975)

Sounds like a red-light district to me.

Re:Houses with tails? (1)

skeldoy (831110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25901999)

tried tagging the story with !brothel

Re:Houses with tails? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902295)

I live in a condo. If cable were managed as badly as most condominiums we might as well bury the net forever.

Re:Houses with tails? (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902341)

Ding-dong! "Cable guy!"

"Time to lay some cable, baby.

"Do you like how I'm burying my net in your Home-Owners' Association? Yeah, I thought so."

      I've never lived in a condo, but I've seen lots of movies featuring condos, all of which are obviously totally realistic. I can't believe you're complaining.

Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls? (4, Insightful)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25901987)

I don't think so!

As soon as something on the trunk broke due to any reason, all the neighbors are going to come banging down my door as being the "tech-savvy" person.

Neighbor 1: "Umm... the internet won't work anymore."
Neighboar 2: "My emails won't send!"
Neighbor 3's kids: "unmm liek i cn't tlk to my bff jill?"

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (2, Interesting)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902037)

I kind of see this the same but in more of a positive light.

pool their resources

Your neighbor's resources=their money, your resources=your time and knowledge. You could possibly create a full-time and well-paying job for yourself running your neighborhood's network.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (4, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902165)

In my experience, the people who ask others for tech help are the least likely to be willing to pay for it. And they certainly aren't willing to pay market rates.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (1)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902219)

Well, then I guess they would be out of luck, and if they don't want to pay for the service, they can find someone else to get it from. I see nothing in TFA that states that entire neighborhoods would be forced to take part. If there are other options available, they can go ahead and buy a service from them.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (2, Interesting)

nedburns (1238162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902623)

I get this attitude all the time. My reputation as a "computer guy" spread through the neighborhood like wildfire. Next thing ya know, people are knocking on my door at least 3 or 4 nights of the week expecting free tech help.

My best response is to demand an annoying chore in return. For example,

Neighbor: "My DSL isn't working...you got a sec to check it out?"

Me: "Sure! I'll get started after you have finished cleaning my gutters! You've got a ladder, right?"

They usually smile and think you're kidding at first. If you don't budge, you've either got a paying customer (via services) or one less knock on your door when you're trying to eat.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902367)

My mom lives in a gated retirement community, where the overwhelming majority of the population is seniors. Many of them have computers, which they use to do all sorts of things, from browsing the Web to making Skype calls to their family around the country. Few of them are really what you would call "computer literate." Most of them seem to know some guy who lives in the neighborhood who has taken it upon himself to be smarter than your average bear. They might not necessarily pay that guy out at "market rates," but when you start to add up free dinners, free bottles of scotch, etc., plus just being a well-known and respected member of your community, being the local "tech guy" has its plus side.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (3, Funny)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902411)

I agree there's some real value there, but you simply can't live on goodwill and scotch.

Trust me.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (5, Funny)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902559)

Of course you can't live on goodwill and scotch alone.

You also need blackjack and hookers.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902171)

And when you decide to move? The entire neighborhood goes to hell in a handbasket.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (1)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902235)

Then they can continue to pool their resources and hire someone, or educate themselves and do it themselves.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902079)

I'm sure thinkgeek do a T-shirt for that eventuality.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902113)

Neighboar 2: "My emails won't send!"

Quit being selfish. It's not really fair to expect a wild pig to understand the ins and outs of networking.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902365)

I don't think so!

Yeah nerds are all a blight on society, until the people need something computer-related. Nerds should demand this condo-fiber idea never happens, because it will detract from our World of Warcraft time. Techsup is best handled from India, IMHO.

Re:Yeah, and get flooded with "tech support" calls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902395)

Yes, because we all know this same thing happens with community run water districts....oh wait.

Any real benefit? (1)

sdaemon (25357) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902003)

It seems to me that taking the responsibility for the line away from the Telecoms is asking for more problems when something breaks. It's bad enough already when they have to be talked into rolling a truck to fix an issue on lines they maintain. With privately held fiber, I really don't see any advantage. The Telecom, or a private contractor, would still have to be called whenever the private fiber had issues. This seems like it would add middlemen and fingerpointing without really giving any benefit.

Re:Any real benefit? (3, Interesting)

kriebz (258828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902093)

Part of your point, that telcos are lazy and negligent, is exactly why this is enticing. Maybe if the telcos didn't have to install new hardware on private property, the cost to roll out broadband would be cheaper. Of course, without the opportunity to gouge the customer on that new hardware, the enticement might be gone. This could also open the possibility of third-party bandwidth providers like WISPs, and not being pigeon-holed into one of 3 delightfully crappy plans.

Mod parent up. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902105)

Working with telcos is a pain. The problem is NEVER on their side. Why don't you reboot all your equipment first? Did that fix it?

I deal mostly with T-1's and that technology has been around for about 50 years. Yet I still cannot get the providers to TEST the lines when I say there is a problem. HELLO?!? You should ALREADY know there's a problem when one of the circuits goes into an error state.

Now, imagine trying to get the telco to deal with a problem connecting to your network with all your neighbors complaining to you.

From TFA:

The idea of customer-owned fiber may seem odd, but it is important to remember that many items that consumers buy today would have seemed very strange not long ago. Until the personal computer, a computer was something that only large companies owned. For decades, telephones were available only for lease, not for purchase. Home fiber could be the next technology that moves into the realm of consumer property.

No. Those are all devices INSIDE the house. They are NOT the connections themselves.

Lots of homes have water filters and water heaters. But very few homes own the water pipes.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902307)

Lots of homes have water filters and water heaters. But very few homes own the water pipes.

Hmmm? What are you talking about?

You own the pipes inside the house. You also own the section of pipe that connects to the mains.

The chief difference with this is that instead of the city owning the mains, an HOA owns the mains.

Personally, I think it's a stupid idea. If you want municipal Internet access, then make municipal Internet access -- don't try slide it in the back door. The city of Wyandotte, Michigan, has its own municipal cable company, which provides cable TV and cable Internet to all residents of Wyandotte. So there you go. Cities could model after Wyandotte.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902363)

Working with telcos is a pain. The problem is NEVER on their side.

This! It's only gotten worse with AT&T taking everything over. So glad I got into development and never have to plead with AT&T to go replace an F2 pair ever again.

Re:Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902523)

CKT OK: Trouble not found

This is nice, but (3, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902021)

I really don't think that the average consumer is going to care about something like this.

For most, a 5Mbps cable connection is much much much more than they ever will (or can) use. The only thing that will drive high-bandwidth stuff like this is media. Websites like this [hulu.com] are certainly a step in the correct direction, but until we start seeing dedicated media appliances in peoples homes, it isn't going to happen.

On top of that, think of something (other than streaming media) that your average home-owning consumer is going to use that would require large bandwidth. There aren't many. Sure, some of us geeks use services like Usenet or (and I've never seen this in practice, only rumors of it) bittorrent that are capable of filling up our connection but, relative to the amount of joe-sixpack/plumbers there are out there, we are a small small minority.

Any devs wnat to make a "hulu" box with me?

Re:This is nice, but (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902263)

Boxee [boxee.tv] can be used as a 'hulu box'. It is in limited alpha testing, but they do allow signups. It is pretty slick to browse through all of the Hulu shows with a remote, and watch anything on demand.

Re:This is nice, but (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902511)

Isn't this another 'chicken and egg' problem though (besides the one mentioned in the article about ISP's)? Those sorts of appliances aren't going to be successful and catch on unless people have the bandwidth to properly utilize them. If we wait for the devices before we provide the bandwidth, we'll just end up waiting forever, because the appliances don't work in a compelling way without an adequate connection speed.

At the end of the day, I think it (like most other things) all comes down to costs. Can this sort of scheme be developed with a cost competitive with what I'm paying monthly for my cable modem connection? Even if I don't see the need for the bandwidth, if it costs that same either way, I'd certainly take the higher bandwidth option. The fact that I'd have some partial ownership and am cutting those crappy telcos out of some of the picture is a nice bonus as well.

Re:This is nice, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902579)

"For most, a 5Mbps cable connection is much much much more than they ever will (or can) use."

and 512k of memory ought to be enough for anybody

I'm tired of this argument, stfu.

how is this better then ISPs? (4, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902041)

now, maybe as a renter my view of Home Owners Associations (HOA) and condos are a little flawed... but condering there have been cases where HOAs have stopped people from putting up solar panals, fences, planting trees, even a back yard clothes line... what is to stop them from likewise restricting and controlling broadband?

sorry, your torrenting is degrading the value of our community internet, we are going to have to block that.

instead of a half dozen telcos to deal with for net neutrality, you will have thousands on thousands of HOAs

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (1)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902141)

That is actually a pretty solid plan that opponents of net-neutrality could read.

You shut your mouth! Shut it! Never speak of it again! ;-) I keed, I keed...

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (4, Insightful)

tknd (979052) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902287)

Correct. The HOA is not interested in meeting your demands as an individual homeowner. The HOA's purpose is to meet the demands of the majority that show up to the monthly meetings. And guess who shows up to those meetings? The most anal and controlling homeowners. The result is an inefficient corporation that has no customers yet maintains books and funds that rarely benefit the actual homeowners.

However when you have a customer and business relationship, the business has an interest in keeping you a paying customer. Even if you do sign contracts, the contracts will only apply till the end of the term. When you do have a legal issue with the business you have a contract with, you can take them to court and potentially get reasonable recovery. But if you sue an HOA you are technically suing yourself. The business also receives pressure from competitors in a well regulated market (yes this is not true for monopolies). So theoretically you should always have a second choice. With the HOA your only choice is to sell your property and move elsewhere.

Some HOAs might be okay in terms of purposes served and not being run down by anal homeowners. But in my experience, even then the HOA provides little services that you can't manage yourself better. For example consider the common "pool/spa" arrangement. Suppose you pay the HOA $50 a month for this cost to maintain a pool and spa for the facility. The pool will probably be very small and outdoors. Meanwhile if you sign up at a local club at say $40 a month, you can get an indoor pool and access to other facilities. When you no longer need to access the club or are unsatisfied with the service, you can terminate your membership and/or find a new club. Any HOA run service is generally more expensive to maintain and you are stuck with it forever. When you allow a business to fill in this role, however, you will often get better service at cheaper rates or at least varying options of service at different rates. The only advantage the HOA has is that the facilities are located conveniently.

Another example is HOA provided cable TV service. I know someone that has one of these and the contract basically states he can only use the HOA tv service, and he cannot order his own. This means he is stuck with the quality of service the HOA provides. Even if you live in an area where you only have 1 option for TV service, you can at least have options within that service to get access to other services like special channels or different packages. With the HOA this is not the case.

I believe the implementation of HOAs is flawed in the US. HOAs have too much power and are beginning to grow outside of their purpose which was to basically force people to keep their property is decent order. Technically, the local government should be in charge of enforcing rules maintaining reasonable condition of properties, not HOAs. Unfortunately, HOAs are becoming too popular and people would never vote to pay taxes or allow the government to enforce such rules. Which is somewhat contradictory since the HOA dues are often more than what you would pay in taxes as well as more restrictive.

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902317)

Do HOAs have the deed, or do you yourself actually own the property?

How is it that they can have ANY say in your property, when you have the deed?

(i don't know the answer to question 1, so question 2 might be moot)

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902437)

The HOA's authority is included as part of the deed.

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902479)

1) No, they don't

2) You sign a contract with them that gives them the ability to fine you if you do not follow the rules, and authorizes them to palcea lien against your home if you fail to pay the Fee's and Fines.

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902487)

Do HOAs have the deed, or do you yourself actually own the property?

How is it that they can have ANY say in your property, when you have the deed?

(i don't know the answer to question 1, so question 2 might be moot)

I am not sure of the exact legal term, but when you buy the house, you sign the HOA agreement as well. Part of that agreement is that you can only sell your house to someone who signs onto the HOA. The HOA agreement becomes part of the deed.

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902589)

Most of the time the deed or purchase agreement has an HOA clause in it. It is set up that way when the community is established. Just about everyone in the Phoenix area has an HOA and there is no opting out of it. It is sanctioned by state law.

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (2, Interesting)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902359)

No, your view is not flawed. HOAs can act as another form of government, but without the expected restraints because they are private organizations. When I am in the market for a home, a HOA is a deal killer. Restrictive covenants are bad enough. I will not live in a house where someone can tell me that my mower deck is set too high, or too low. When you have a person that will go around measuring the height of lawns, there is no end to the trouble they could cause with a network.

New acronym? HOAN?

Re:how is this better then ISPs? (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902491)

I totally agree with you on the deal breaker, when my husband and I go looking for a house (or more likely a place to have one built for us), a HOA will instantly make us look elsewhere.

Obviously never been to a condo assoc meeting (5, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902045)

Just because you live near each other doesn't mean you play well together. Especially when money is involved. How could you possibly do this and not have someone ticked off for paying more than they think they should. Should my mother who doesn't even own a computer be subsidizing everyone elses usage? Or what happens when someone who believes in the RIAA moves into your neighborhood and then starts enforcing his beliefs on you. Sounds crazy, but how many people get fined a year because they have too much crap on their condo deck, or some other abserd thing. Oh, the arguments may or may not be rational, but that won't stop them. Especially in a neighborgood that spans a large age group. Instead of get off my lawn, it'll be get your porn of my internet.

Mod up time. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902383)

this definitely needs a mod up. summarizes it well.

There's a reason the US started out as a republic.

Please note that prior to Jackson, individual voters did not even elect the president, it was state legislatrues. The founding fathers knew how awful mob rule could be. The last thing we need is for the internet to be destroyed by the "tyranny of the majority"

Re:Obviously never been to a condo assoc meeting (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902631)

This will explain to all how dumb of an idea this is indeed:

Where my parents live is covered by an HA. The townhouses come with decks installed, with short fences surrounding them, nothing special, just a 4' high fence with 1.5" spindles, a 2x4 railing and 4x4 supports. The decks are not attached to each other, nor are they shared, and they are separated by at least 10 feet on either side. My parents wanted a little bit more privacy, but understanding the HA wouldn't want them to raise the fence, they bought wood lattice and tacked it to the inside of the fence, cut so it fit neatly under the railing. It doesn't look bad, although IMHO, it's pretty pointless.

Anyways, within a month, they received a letter from the HA advising them to take it down immediately or be fined as it's against the agreement. They fought the HA, saying it doesn't state you can't install anything on the inside of the deck. In the end, after several months with lawyers and lots of money, now the agreement is modified to have a special "no lattice" clause. My parents lattice has been grandfathered in, and nobody else has it.

Just a sidenote: When my parents moved in they asked me what I thought. I said it was a horrible place because it has an HA. They said they were going to will the house to me so I could live there. I said "Great, but I won't live here. Hopefully it'll sell quickly before the HA comes after me for condo fees, otherwise I'll have to rent it." They thought I was being rude then.

Now they think I'm sensible. :-D

So, apply that thinking process to broadband internet and imagine what you have.

Can't rely on homeowners' associations (4, Insightful)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902047)

"Once constructed, each home would own its own fiber strand, while the shared costs of maintaining the "trunk" cable from the individual homes to a central switching location would be managed in the same way that condominium and homeowners' associations currently manage the shared areas of condos and gated communities."

So, that is to say - not at all? We have a hard enough time collecting homeowner's fees as it is. I can only speculate that it would be harder at a higher cost.

And what are you supposed to do if/when one home stops paying its part? Not upkeep that portion of fiber? Have everyone else absorb the costs?

Re:Can't rely on homeowners' associations (1)

davinep (1124381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902493)

Lightwarrior, I'll infer you represent (or work for) the management company for an HOA. Of course everyone else won't absorb the costs for an individual that "won't pay". You'll send letters warning dues are past due, assess late fees and eventually put a lien on their property.

Re:Can't rely on homeowners' associations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902551)

And what are you supposed to do if/when one home stops paying its part? Not upkeep that portion of fiber? Have everyone else absorb the costs?

Set a backhoe next to the connection to their home and let nature take its course.

Fios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902057)

Why not just get fiber to the house from a normal provider like Verizon? Is this an alternative method for people who live out in the boonies or what?

Re:Fios (1)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902153)

What about biggers cities in the midwest that don't have Fios available yet?

I wouldn't consider Omaha, NE the boonies.

Re:Fios (2, Informative)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902353)

If you would bother to do a little bit of looking first, you would see that FIOS is not available in NEARLY all cities.

I got some tail at your mom's house last night (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902065)

banged your dad like I was Kobe Bryant in an Aspen hotel room

Re:I got some tail at your mom's house last night (0, Offtopic)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902185)

Classy. The subtle twist on the word "tail" along with the allegory towards Mr. Bryant's affairs made this a decent and well thought out troll. Could be improved by getting first post, and perhaps adding some punctuation.

8/10

Re:I got some tail at your mom's house last night (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902373)

I think we've been 'arking up the wrong tree, Fido.

Mutate!
Mutate!

Not Thought Out... (1)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902069)

I don't think this idea has been thought out all the way.

I like the idea, but for neighborhoods with association members that are not technically adept, what will they do to maintain the network? Do it themselves?? I don't think so. If they attempt it, it will be a support nightmare. If they are unwilling/unable, they will have to hire an outside person/firm to help them support the network. We already have this with ISP companies with dedicated IT support staff.

This would work with people living in the neighborhood who know what they're doing, but I don't think this will work on a wholesale basis. And God forbid I move into a neighborhood that has adequate neighbors maintaining the network, just to have them move away later, and have the neighborhood drunk take over the network administration.

Already Happening - Resort Communities (1)

vinn (4370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902073)

This is already happening (and has been for years) in resort communities. Typically the arrangement starts with a central authority, in Colorado I worked with a few unincorporated Metro Districts for example, that owns and maintains all of the infrastructure. The infrastructure provided service to most homes and condos. The arrangement to provide service was made with a property management company that in turn contracted with the individual homeowner associations. The HOA assessed dues and the property management company collected the dues. Then the property management company reimbursed the utilities for their service.

In practice, things were quite as clean. Besides the service provided by the metro district, service was also provided by the local telco if the individual homeowners wanted that instead.

Anyway, resort communities provide a pretty good model for how to do it in the rest of the country.

I'd fund it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902091)

I'd totally chip in $30/mo to get reliable fiber to my condo. I don't know if I could convince my neighbors, but if we have a >90% adoption rate, it wouldn't be that hard as long as it is cheaper than cable. Also, we'd need to have a third party company maintain it for us.. I don't want to be designated on-call for internet issues.

lowest common denominator (2, Insightful)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902095)

Great, all I need is my homeowners' association determining what kind of internet connection I get. What if half of them are happy with dialup? What if some of them don't even want to pay for an internet connection? What if some of them are delinquent on their payments and my connection gets cut off?

How about fuck those guys and let me manage my own connection instead of unnecessarily making it a shared responsibility where decisions are made by a committee of people with no mutual interest?

Re:lowest common denominator (0, Troll)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902205)

I'd be more worried about the clueless moron who sets up an unsecured wireless router in his unit, so the neighbor across the street can download his child porn. Then, since it will all likely be behind a firewall of some sort with a single public IP address, the FBI will be kicking in everyone's doors looking for the perv.

At least as likely is one of the neighbors setting up a spam operation, and getting everyone cut off for spamming (because, again, it'll all be on a single IP address).

Re:lowest common denominator (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902381)

I don't think you understand how this works. You won't all have the same IP address, just like how all your peers in your cable circuit don't have the same IP address...

Good idea in theory... (1)

precogpunk (448371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902109)

While in theory this seems like a good idea when it comes to implementing the plan home owners would be chasing their own tails.

I.e., the community should own the infrastructure (1)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902159)

Duh. That's what I say. Not to you, but to the industry. You are absolutely right. Infrastructure should be owned by the community. Local infrastructure, such as the last mile connection, should be owned by the subdivision (homeowner's association) or town. It is absurd that we allow companies own this infrastructure, allowing us to be victimized by their self-interested deployment schedules. Communities could do it now and have success: all they need to do is become a non-profit ISP, and charge the customer the same way they charge now for water, etc. The community would be in the driver's seat, not Verizon, etc. The reason this did not work with AT&T is because it was a vast monopoly over all communities, and so it had no incentive to innovate. If the community ISPs are local, there will still be many technology providers and they will compete for community-based business.

Re:I.e., the community should own the infrastructu (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902535)

You need to read up on the telephone system someday. We had "community telephone companies" in the 1960's. As the rest of the Bell system modernized with electronic switching, these guys still had mechanical crossbar switches.

Innovation? Nah, there wasn't enough money in a small telephone company to do it. Lots of these places had less than 1,000 customers and one switch.

This has been tried in the past and it didn't work very well. I guess you could say it worked well enough to get some people phone service, but nobody was very happy about it.

Killed by the little costs. (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902189)

Repair costs for physical damage to said "trunk" could be costly. How many homeowner associations have a member competent in fiber splicing? Not to mention the difficulty in finding exactly where physical damage is located. A backhoe trench is pretty obvious, but damage on an aerial run pole-to-pole is not so obvious.

It is easy to say 'homeowner is responsible for their "tail" and the association is responsible for the "trunk"', but who pays the expense of diagnosing every problem which comes down the pipe?

What about one-call utility protection services? Most states in the USA have a one-call utility location service. You need to either register (and mark your own lines when called or pay someone else to do so) or accept that anyone digging in proximity to your lines will believe there are no obstructions. (and thus will not dig carefully.)

Repair, support, service, damage prevention, and infrastructure hardware. Deal with these issues in a comprehensive manner and you're pretty much an ISP. What was the point again?

Bloody stupid idea (4, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902191)

At which point your neighbors will then begin to dictate what content will and will not be allowed on the connection, "in the same way that condominium and homeowners' associations currently manage the shared areas of condos and gated communities" now.

No thanks.

Quiet, you fools! (3, Funny)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902197)

Holy Crap! This is like, a FREE GOLD MINE!

Unlimited tech support opportunities! Exclusive contracts! Clueless users ensuring a steady supply of work! Bottomless pits of fodder for "Customers Suck" and "Stupid, Stupid Enduser" blogs! Angry phone calls at 3AM! People knocking on your door asking you to fix their plumbing and interwebs!

This is a BOFH's Wet Dream!

Already Done With WiFi (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902221)

This kind of sharing at the edges is already exactly what people do with WiFi attached to wired broadband. Lots of people use neighbors' broadband when they first move in, before their own wire is installed. Lots of other people too cheap to pay for expensive broadband are piggybacking on their neighbors' WiFi. And plenty of other people's guests just use neighbors' WiFi because it's easier than plugging in with more cables, especially if the broadband adapter doesn't have extra hub ports.

The problem is that the telcos/cablecos prohibit sharing one's broadband account with the neighbors. They insist on monopolizing the delivery of broadband to everyone, even after years of failing to deliver it to lots of people (usually because it's priced too expensive, but often because the telco/cableco has higher profit elsewhere while they ignore wiring whole neighborhoods).

If people weren't prohibited from sharing their broadband connections, they would include more people in the broadband Net. Some people would offer WiFi, others would offer wires. Competition among them (lacking in the telco/cableco duopoly) would force everyone's prices lower.

The telcos/cablecos would hate it. But so what? We all hate them, for many good reasons.

Re:Already Done With WiFi (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902489)

Absolutely, it is just because the greedy monopoly wants to maximize their profits.

And liability has nothing to do with it, nothing whatsoever. Sure. Because everyone knows that you aren't responsible for anything that happens with YOUR connection. You can't connect an IP address to an individual so whatever happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. Right.

So your neighbor, sharing your Internet connection, decides to use LimeWire to share their 10,000 song collection. Which finally comes to the notice of someone who asks the ISP who this IP address belongs to. Well, it turns out that YOU are the account holder at YOUR address.

No, it would be impossible for anyone to actually be harrassed legally because of this. Everyone knows these days that the account holder has no responsibility whatsoever. After all your wireless router has an SSID of FreeLeechn just to emphasize the point.

Magnify the above by 10,000 and you will begin to understand why ISPs do not allow sharing. Is the legal system behind the times? Sure. But just exactly who would you hold responsible when all the tracks come back to your front door? Trust me, the answer that society is looking for is not "nobody."

But my neighbors don't want fiber (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902225)

Sounds like a horrible idea. Most of my neighbors are renters. I have never even met many of the property owners. Who's going to go in on the fiber connection with me?

While in my utopia a fiber connection would be just as attractive an add on to a rental property as a dishwasher or off street parking, I know it's not that way for most people. Hell, many of the units around me don't even have central air yet.

Luckily under the current system, i can get uverse regardless of my neighbors

money money (1)

cjhanson (1296897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902247)

I agree with the general reaction I am reading.. and at the same time an ambitious group of people could see this as an opportunity to provide an installation and maintenance service to the neighborhoods and other associations. If it became popular and lucrative then surely the ISPs would start offering the same deal to keep their extorti.. er um, "business model" alive. Soon after the ISPs and telco's and cable co's and other monop.. er um, "companies" jump on board, we'll be right back to square one because the fiber lines will be driven up to at least $300 a month.

oh, frickin' great, a wireowners association. (1, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902253)

some bunch of crabby little old twits meet at 3 am in a crack house to set new rules, with no announcement, and you get screwed.

yeah, know all about those condo associations.

Great idea, forget it. (4, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902265)

If would probably think this a great idea, if
I had not lived in appartments or houses with shared facilites - parking spaces, pools, whatever.

1. Everybody treats 'shared' resources with zero respect.
2. Everybody bitches about the cost. Some don't pay.
3. There's a regular shitfest disguised as a 'resident's association meeting' or something. Always dominated by a few activists whose opinions inevitably are the reverse of yours.
4. The people hired by the 'association council' to do installation & maintenance are always more expensive and less competent than people you've picked.
5. Whenever something breaks, it's always faster and cheaper to fix it yourself, so the vaguely competent end up doing everything if they want their hall lights, garage door, cable to work...

So, I can do without the pool, but depend on this setup for my (vital for work) broadband?
Noooooooooooooooo!

Damned if I trust homeowner's assoc. with my pipe (2, Insightful)

NextGaurd (844638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902305)

Homeowners associations are notorious for mission creep - how long before they would want content filters?

Re:Damned if I trust homeowner's assoc. with my pi (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902653)

Too late already here. They are already talking about it.

been there done that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902327)

this is old. when i rented a townhouse, rented an apartment for my undergrad and did the same for grad school the same exact model was being used...verbatim. there are already huge fiber networks doing just this...not just in apartment spaces but even in residential areas. i own a house now and have a 50 Mbit connection to my house in a similar "HOA" fiber community.

It only takes one person to ruin it for everyone.. (1, Insightful)

BlairAtRice (886637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902385)

As with most condo associations, it would be great till the little old lady down the street wants to rip the whole thing out and go back to token ring. Everyone would laugh at her and call her stupid and then she would sue the association for bias against a minority in the group.

Laws governing these associations don't allow them to be pure democracies. It's very easy for one or a few disgruntled individuals to cause major headaches for the majority even if the majority is working in the best interest of the collective.

AKA (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902393)

Let's have the PEOPLE pay for it! This way, the telcos can still buy solid chrome hookers!

Is this a joke??? (2, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902453)

This has been going on for ages in Denmark.

Local community calls up some provider, they dig in cables, each home owner coughs up with the money for the digging+cables (around 10.000DKR ($1800) the houses value increase by the value of the new cables - cables belong to the houses, switch boxes etc. belong to whatever provider you choose.

Seriously US, get with the times!

Japan called from 2003 (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902475)

They want attribution [sciencelinks.jp]

Already being done in Canada (1)

reilwin (1303589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902495)

This reminds me of a previous slashdot posting [slashdot.org] .

Another burden on HOA members. (1)

nomad63 (686331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902505)

If you haven't hold a place in the HOA board, you can not know how much apathy these people have towards absolutely necessary things like taking care of road, sidewalks etc, and most of them are old timers. Do you really want to leave the destiny of your precious fiber to the whim of a handful of geezer busy-bodies ? I sure don't. Not a great idea in my opinion. Having a network admin, paid part time, like 2 hours per month plus incidentals to manage it, is more plausible for this type of outfit.

Have all the residents of a city do it... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902507)

...and you've re-invented the concept of a municipal utility.

Idea already in use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902573)

dumb idea why not just wait until your city gives you free wireless internet as part of their spy on people campaign. As noted previously on http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/11/22/1514250

Clearly someone has never lived with a HoA ... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902627)

No one who has lived with the train wreck a HoA or condo association tends to cause would ever find this a good idea.

the tails houses could tell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902641)

they'll be telling to somebody else?

Take a look at rural electrical cooperatives (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902647)

Rural electrical cooperatives [nreca.org] do much the same thing for electrical power.

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