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Lawrence, KS To Get Gigabit Fiber — But Not From Google

timothy posted about a year ago | from the kickstarting-of-a-different-kind dept.

Google 83

symbolset writes "Just 40 miles west on the Kansas Turnpike from Kansas City Kansas sits Lawrence, KS. With the slow rollout of Google fiber in their neighbor city, it was looking like their 89,000 people were not going to get the gigabit fiber to the home for quite some time. Up steps Wicked Broadband, a local ISP. With a plan remarkably similar to Google's they look to build out fiber to the home, business, and so on with gigabit speed and similar rates, symmetric bandwidth and no caps. Wicked Fiber's offer is different than Google Fiber's, with more tiers — with cute names. The "Flying Monkey" gigabit plan is $100/month, "Tinman" at 100Mbps is $70/month. They offer TV as well but strangely put Internet streaming and Roku to the fore. They are even using Google's method of installing first in the neighborhoods with the most pre-registration to optimize efficiency, and installing only where there is enough demand. It seems Google's scheme to inspire competition in broadband access is working — if Wicked Fiber gets enough subscribers to make it pay. If this succeeds it may inspire similar ISPs near us to step up to gigabit fiber so let's root for them."

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83 comments

I question their longevity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555307)

I question the longevity of a company named 'Wicked Broadband".

Re:I question their longevity. (1)

aicrules (819392) | about a year ago | (#43555445)

The name is just a symptom. I remember initially DSL being just SBC in my area. Then resellers got to brand it their own, and make whatever value proposition they could to try to be the one you'd choose. A brief explosion of ISPs with all manner of weird names. Some were good companies, some were terrible. But now, at least in my general area, if I decide to go with DSL, it's AT&T. I can't say for certain there aren't any branded resellers, but if there are, they aren't in my area. Similar thing happened with dial-up. I remember pages and pages of dial-up service providers to choose from back in the day. Now there are a small handful of very large providers. Same thing with cars right? Car analogy is always good. Seems to be a pretty common way that a product category expands these days.

Re:I question their longevity. (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year ago | (#43556135)

Most of those DSL providers were likely competitive local exchange carriers, not resellers. The baby bells made their life hell since they had to "share" their central office with them and allow their equipment to be set up. Most of the CLECs went bankrupt because of it.

Re:I question their longevity. (1)

lorenlal (164133) | about a year ago | (#43556217)

I remember working with a couple of those resellers, and SBC a lot in those years. I hated SBC with a passion.

The resellers treated me much better. Unfortunately, every once in a while one of my clients would lose their internet connection... The reason? At the SBC telco office, the loop would suddenly go missing.

It did eventually stop, and it was about when they became AT&T... So either the reseller fixed up their problem, or complained to the right people. I'll never know if they were telling me the truth, but I was quite quick to believe it.

Re:I question their longevity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561543)

I'm willing to bet SBC incompetence mixed with not wanting to admit it was their fault. I remember having a 56k circuit to a remote office that would go down periodically. We'd call SBC to report the problem, go through the usual questions and answers and it ended with them asking if it was okay to test the line (they always asked because the process of testing it would bring it down for the duration of the test- which was fine, since the line was down anyways). Sure enough, every time the line would eventually start working again and within 10 minutes SBC would call back saying they tested the line but couldn't find anything wrong. That was fine, though, it was working again.

It got to the point that when it'd happen we'd mention we needed to call SBC not to "fix the line" but to "test the line" since we knew they'd either never find the problem or never admit what it was. My boss used to joke that it was some guy on his lunchbreak tripping over a cable or someone accidently unplugging something. Ah, fun times...

Re:I question their longevity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561465)

Except part of the problem there was the FCC changing the rules on everyone. Granted, a lot of CLECs went under or merged or got bought up because the prices got too cheap and too much competition that many didn't make it- but that's to be expected. Many of those that were left, however, got screwed once the ILECs were able to charge whatever they wanted for using their lines again. Then, only one or two really large ones (i.e. Covad) were able make deals that kept them alive... for a time. So really, we can thank the FCC for focing us to have only two options for broadband if you're lucky (cable or your local phone company).

Re:I question their longevity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555955)

Not if they sell fiber to Boston.

Re:I question their longevity. (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | about a year ago | (#43556155)

I don't. Larryville is home to college kids, the type of weird that aggregates around universities, and some rednecks. The name definitely appeals to 2 out of those three demographics, and at least plays off of the "Wizard of Oz" vibe for the 3rd.

Re:I question their longevity. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43556717)

Why would rednecks care about the Wizard of Oz?

Re:I question their longevity. (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year ago | (#43558637)

> I question the longevity of a company named 'Wicked Broadband".

Why? Wicked AT&T has been around for a long time.

STAY OUT of my asshole! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555335)

IM WARNING U

stay out of my asshole

I WARNED HIM!

You can't handle the truth!

You have to ask me nicely!

stay OUT of mY A$$HOLE!

WHHHEEAAATOOOONNN!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555351)

the wesley crushers

wesley crusher - mint gay in box

Just 20 miles away (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#43555439)

I bet that, somehow, even though we're only 20-30 miles from Lawrence, it'll be years before Topeka sees this. Maybe Google will take a second look at us, we did rename our city for a month after all.

Re:Just 20 miles away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555687)

And for that, Google gave Topikachu the honor of having its service renamed after the town for one day. It was a lot of fun topekaing information on alta vista that day. I think asking Google to build fiber there after they named themselves after you guys is asking a bit much.

-- A Kansas Citian

Re:Just 20 miles away (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year ago | (#43555929)

  1. 1) Find a friend in Lawrence in line of sight.
  2. 2) Get some really good, gold plated Pringles cans.
  3. 3) Get the highest powered WiFi rig you can.
  4. 4) Surf away.

Re:Just 20 miles away (3, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about a year ago | (#43556445)

  1. 1) Find a friend in Lawrence in line of sight.
  2. 2) Get some really good, gold plated Pringles cans.
  3. 3) Get the highest powered WiFi rig you can.
  4. 4) Surf away.

I didn't know Monster Cable made Pringles!

Re:Just 20 miles away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43568901)

actually, that's pretty much what happened once for Lawrence Freenet. They hooked up a guy living outside the city limits. They share people in common with Wicked, so it's possible they'd find a way. The folks in charge are very clever and forward thinking, so it doesn't surprise me that they'd make good sensible technology choices. Lawrence was entirely irritated that Google didn't come here (Lawrence) and that gave Wicked the opening they needed to succeed.

Re:Just 20 miles away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43556495)

It's the Lawrence FreeNET people. Check the whois information on the domain.

I was never all that impressed with them in the first place. Best of luck for trying though.

Re:Just 20 miles away (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year ago | (#43558807)

Or, if you can find any actual company with a real product to sell, buy some 802.11y gear, pay the (theoretical) hundred-buck fee for a 10-year license to use the 3.6GHz spectrum, and do it with complete unambiguous legality.

Now, finding actual 802.11y hardware might be a bit of a challenge... the last time I looked, it was *still* commercially-nonexistent circa 2-3 months ago.

Re:Just 20 miles away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561605)

LOL

http://www.ubnt.com/airmax#rocketm
3.6 GHz

That stuff has been out for YEARS. Same for Cambium: http://www.cambiumnetworks.com/products/index.php?id=pmp320

Re:Just 20 miles away (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year ago | (#43564731)

Interesting.

So, why,exactly, doesn't anybody who sells such hardware actually include the magic "802.11y" or "802.11y-2008" *anyplace* where Google might find it and associate it with their products? Is all 3.6Ghz Wimax 802.11y-2008 by definition and reality, or is it kind of like the situation with Zigbee-vs-802.15.4, where you have hardware that could technically be compatible if the firmware supported it... but doesn't?

costs still too high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555443)

$100 a month? $70 a month? That's still way too high.

Re:costs still too high (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555473)

Way too high? That $70 a month is only about $10 a month more than what it costs to get a 5mbps connection around here. Probably a bit more depending upon the taxes involved.

Re:costs still too high (5, Informative)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#43555475)

I'm paying $60 a month for 20 Mbps - $70 for 5 times as much? $100 for 50 times as much? Not to mention by 'Symmetric bandwidth' I assume upstream = downstream speeds. It's no Google but it still isn't a bad deal.

Re:costs still too high (3, Insightful)

Cammi (1956130) | about a year ago | (#43556003)

I am paying $100 a month for a "10MB" DSL going 56k speeds. Welcome to Juneau, Alaska. You actually have it good!

Re:costs still too high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43556723)

Symmetric bandwidth is the thing that interests me. Right now I've got 16/2. I could pay like up to $40/month more to get either 30/3 or 50/5, but that's not a whole lot better in my eyes. As it is, the 16 is pretty good for my needs. Most things download in a few seconds, and I can get an hour long 720p TV show in under 15 minutes. I'd much rather keep the 16 down and get 16 up

Re:costs still too high (1)

Technician (215283) | about a year ago | (#43556799)

Google is competitive, and maybe placing itself in the path of court challanges for porviding free internet as an anti competitive move. For about the price of 3 months of a competitive providers triple play package, you can get a pay once lifetime connection. This would eliminate poaching and may be an issue that may produce court challanges. How do you compete against free?

Re:costs still too high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43557559)

there is absolutely nothing, anywhere, ever, against offering your product for free. This is a complete and total misnomer.

There is however, plenty of things that get violated if you use your free offer anticompetitively. That's not to say you can't compete, you just can't prevent *others* from competing.

Re:costs still too high (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about a year ago | (#43556979)

I'm paying $60 a month for 20 Mbps - $70 for 5 times as much? $100 for 50 times as much? Not to mention by 'Symmetric bandwidth' I assume upstream = downstream speeds. It's no Google but it still isn't a bad deal.

I get 15Mbps for ~ $55 (fairly consistent according to tests), it's one of the lower tiers around here with Cox. I'm not sure I would want any faster as I doubt I'd see much benefit. We stream Netflix and other stuff all the time plus I work from home. Never had an issue with the speed of the connection, even with multiple users. So yeah, another $10+ for 5x as much sounds good, except when you wouldn't notice it.

Re:costs still too high (2)

dejanc (1528235) | about a year ago | (#43557523)

I'm paying $60 a month for 20 Mbps - $70 for 5 times as much? $100 for 50 times as much? Not to mention by 'Symmetric bandwidth' I assume upstream = downstream speeds. It's no Google but it still isn't a bad deal.

Just to compare prices worldwide, here in Serbia, I get fiber to home 20/10 for $28.20 and could get 120/60 for about about $70 (around 54 EUR). Gigabit plans are available ("where available") but prices are not advertised publicly. So, the prices they get in Lawrence, KS are as good as in third-worldish (for lack of a better word for a European country which is neither Switzerland nor a part of EU) Serbia, and I am not sure what to make out of it...

Re:costs still too high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43558953)

And a house in Lawrence, KS costs half as much as a similar house in New York, NY(if you're lucky - it could be as much as 4x as more in NY) - there are differences in the prices of things based on the wealth of the people living there.

Re:costs still too high (1)

ryanmetcalf (898126) | about a year ago | (#43562277)

There are currently 3 ISPs in Lawrence:

-AT&T
-Not going to cover AT&T tiers, it's been covered in other threads

-Knology (formerly Sunflower), which has 4 major tiers
-Gold $72.95 (50mbps/unkn up)
-Paladium $57.95 (variable/variable)
-Silver $47.95 (18mbps/2mbps)
-Bronze $32.95 (3mbps/1mbps)
http://kansas.knology.com/internet/

-Lawrence FreeNet
$37.98 (byo modem) for (10mbps/10mbps)
$47.98 (modem inc) for (10mbps/10mbps)
http://www.lawrencefreenet.org/index.php [lawrencefreenet.org]

Source: I'm a resident

Re:costs still too high (4, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43555621)

I'd pay that and giggle happily while doing it. I'd love to pay 100 dollars a month for great service rather than 50 a month for shit service.

Re:costs still too high (1)

Chickan (1070300) | about a year ago | (#43555683)

I second this notion. I pay $60/m for 40mb/2mb, and it is really shitty during peak hours. I can barely get 1-2mb down during the evening Netflix rush. And God help my latency if the wife decides to watch Netflix while I'm trying to game, goes to absolute shit. 500+ ms ping, seriously? We need more competition, it is completely ridiculous what we put up with as internet here in the states.

Re:costs still too high (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555843)

They also offer 10/10 for $38. Not a very sexy speed, but that upload beats what most of us have.

Re:costs still too high (1)

lorenlal (164133) | about a year ago | (#43556251)

...And sadly the download probably does too.

Assuming it actually delivers that speed, of course.

Re:costs still too high (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43556427)

Around here the fastest you can get is 5mbps/896kbps and I think the unbundled price ends up being like $60 a month when you include taxes, but I'm too lazy to pull up the Centurylink page. In some parts of the city, the best you can get is 1.5mbps/896kbps. Although that might have changed, I see a lot of Centurylink trucks out and about and they may have made the upgrades necessary to improve the situation in those neighborhoods.

Re:costs still too high (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43558305)

"$100 a month? $70 a month? That's still way too high."

If you don't need it, don't pay for it.

But in reality, it's not high at all compared to Comcast and Time-Warner. Comcast can cost around $70 for "up to 20 Mbps", and you'll be lucky if you ever actually get near that 20. Time-Warner charges about the same amount in some areas for 12 Mbps!!!

So the point isn't "it's too high", the point is: "it's a lot LOWER than those others".

Re:costs still too high (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43558347)

I should add that even that 12 Mpbs from Time-Warner is spotty. That should be plenty of bandwidth for incoming Skype voice; but in fact it cuts out a lot. Not a good deal for near $70 / month.

Cherry picking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555623)

They can do this because they can cherry pick neighborhoods to bring service to. In the past, Telcos and cable MSO's were required to wire to everyone regardless of population density or any other demographics. Now, affluent areas will get good service and the other side of the tracks ... well, not so much. Free market at work!

Re:Cherry picking (1, Flamebait)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43555837)

I'm not sure if this is already a rule, but I say if there are only two or three competitors, we stop using terms like free market, capitalism, and competitive markets, and instead call it something else. I'd suggest "socialism" since using it as a slur to describe things you don't like even if it's not actually socialism seems popular. We'd have to rename things that are actually socialism of course, but we probably need to do that anyway.

Re:Cherry picking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43557673)

"capitalism" is already a slur on slashdot, so I guess why not?

Re:Cherry picking (4, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about a year ago | (#43555861)

I hate to tell you, but the incumbent providers can cherry pick too, and have for quite some time. My neighborhood has no cable as an option, but its a mile in any direction. And good luck even trying to figure out who at ATT you can talk to about getting a remote DSLAM in your neighborhood so you can get decent internet speeds.

Re:Cherry picking (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43556467)

As somebody has already said, the current telecos do that as well. The speed ranges in Seattle last time I checked were anywhere between 1.5mbps to a max of about 10mbps, IIRC. With little rhyme or reason as to where the good service would be. I know my neighborhood is farther from their equipment than Capital Hill, but the connection speed here was substantially faster.

Re:Cherry picking (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year ago | (#43609955)

The cherry picking started years ago though. Sure the incumbent telco (BT for me) will give you a copper pair that will support voice calls and 14.4K (or was it 28.8 I don't remember) dialup and if you pay enough they will sell you expensive leased line services. But broadband is only available to those the telco thinks it profitable to offer it too* and even where it is available the speeds can be terrible.

I'm pretty sure that here we never had any requirements for the cablecos to wire up everyone round here but that is something that may vary between different places. I'm not too familar with the US but I know there are places there that don't have cable.

Interestingly there is a group here in the UK who reckon they can run a viable buisness offering gigabit fiber (and it's point to point fiber, not PON) in a rural area using blown fiber and running it across farm fields rather than along roads (much lower digging costs that way, but it requires the farmers to be cooperative, lukilly farmers want decent internet too). It will be interesting to see how they fare and whether copycats will pop up.

*basically those who either live in a cableco area or where there is a phone line available that is both short enough and not via DACs

bad track record (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555637)

The company rebranded themselves from FreeNET and have a really bad track record delivering what they promise. They have "free" wifi all around the city including hotspots that haven't been maintained for years. One would hope that Google does their research and comes to Lawrence despite the local attempt.

Re:bad track record (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555801)

They're going to Provo despite the failed attempt for the municipality to provide fiber.

Need to consider privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43555795)

100Mbps would be great, but the idea of Larry and Sergei and Google's marketers having a complete, interleaved clickstream-AND-clicker history of everything I do, archived and data-mined for eternity (think of Target and the 16 yr-old mom to be) makes me want to belch.

This Lawrence outfit is independent, which is a plus. But sometime down the road they'll be acquired, and whoever buys them will get their customer Big Data repository.

Re:Need to consider privacy (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43556243)

You seriously think this is any different from now? The incentive here for Google is for people to hit more pages per unit of time. More pages means more impressions which means more ad revenue for them. What's more with the increased bandwidth, it's less likely that people will be blocking ads to speed up the download of the pages they're viewing.

Google already tracks pretty much everything you do, if you haven't specifically set things up to prevent that, this wouldn't change that. For those that care, you can always use a VPN and after the increased bandwidth probably not see too much reduction in speed.

I'll believe it when I see it (1)

pudknocker (516571) | about a year ago | (#43555827)

I am a former Lawrence resident and still live nearby. The company has had a couple of names in the past. Though some are hopeful, few take the announcement seriously It is hard to see how the company can get the financial backing to do a significant deployment. No need to feel envious.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#43556657)

last time someone tried this the cable company (comcast i believe? or time warner?) )got it shutdown.

now in that case, it was a small town deciding to do it for themselves and set up a new provider, rather than an existing provider like in this case.
but if the local cable monopoly can stop that, they can probably stop this.

i figure the only reason they couldnt stop google was because...it's google and its harder for the local 800lb gorilla to stop a fellow 800lb gorilla than it is to stop a 5oz mouse.

Gigabit Squared (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43556033)

Here in Seattle (and other places), we have Gigabit Squared (https://www.facebook.com/GigabitSquared) that is trying to put in Gigabit speeds into various neighborhoods. Will it happen? Will it be affordable? Only time will tell, but at least we are starting to get choices.

Re:Gigabit Squared (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43556285)

And as somebody who lives about 3 blocks outside of the deployment zone, this isn't likely to do me any good any time soon. What's more there's no guarantee that the service will ever be available outside of those test areas.

Centurylink is doing a better job than Qwest did, but the city seriously needs to sue them and Comcrap for lieing about the future deployment plans for fiber optic as they don't seem to be planning to do so, even though they told the city they would be. OK, technically it was Qwest that claimed they were going to be doing something about the connection speeds and didn't do crap, but either way we'd likely have FTTH by now through a municipal provider had they not lied about their plans.

High Speeds Low Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43556221)

I just don't understand what all the fuss is about. Yes, we achieve high speeds and download without buffering, yet there always seems to be a catch. The catch being the cap. Maximum amount you are allowed to download per month. The faster we go the more we will download and therein hides the money grab bag. Sure, you can go over the cap for a fee. It just seems to me the faster we go the greedier we become in regards to always on digital content.

Just my 2 cents.

Re:High Speeds Low Caps (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#43559517)

Apparently you didn't even make it to the third sentence?

With a plan remarkably similar to Google's they look to build out fiber to the home, business, and so on with gigabit speed and similar rates, symmetric bandwidth and no caps.

Awesome! (1)

LeoDeSol (1323269) | about a year ago | (#43556277)

It is great to see this starting to take off. Between Google offering to buy some cities fiber networks, and now at least two companies coming up with a similar plan due to Google, the future of US broadband access is starting to look a little brighter! We might even have 1Gb to most homes by the time other developed countries have 10Gb. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

Google fiber is working (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#43556443)

Google Fiber is working and doing what it is mean to do, get the US out of the Internet stone age by forcing other companies to get real about Internet service. Bandwidth is insanely cheap anywhere except residential or small business because they artificially limit their own capacity. Google has years of experience managing fiber (they bought a /lot/ of the dark fiber back after .com crash) and knows there isn't any legitimate reason to keep things as they are.

Cable companies have been pushing back at Google (youtube etc) claiming that they use too much of their available bandwidth and trying to justify charging Google extortion money for extra bandwidth. Google has a choice, they can pay the extortion money to companies that refuse to honor network neutrality or they can spend the money on rolling out their own fiber. Google is demonstrating to the cable companies that their position is not insurmountable and that if they have to they will simply go around them.

Re:Google fiber is working (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#43556635)

Google Fiber is working and doing what it is mean to do, get the US out of the Internet stone age by forcing other companies to get real about Internet service. Bandwidth is insanely cheap anywhere except residential or small business because they artificially limit their own capacity. Google has years of experience managing fiber (they bought a /lot/ of the dark fiber back after .com crash) and knows there isn't any legitimate reason to keep things as they are.

Cable companies have been pushing back at Google (youtube etc) claiming that they use too much of their available bandwidth and trying to justify charging Google extortion money for extra bandwidth. Google has a choice, they can pay the extortion money to companies that refuse to honor network neutrality or they can spend the money on rolling out their own fiber. Google is demonstrating to the cable companies that their position is not insurmountable and that if they have to they will simply go around them.

Astutely observed, sir, but I would add that all of that makes a compelling case for a public utility model, wherein one (quasi-governmental) entity owns the pipe (fiber, whatever) and sells access to it on an even playing field. Having competing companies all stringing their own fiber is madness. Having them all competing to offer service over one piece of existing fiber is much better. No?

Re:Google fiber is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43556875)

Google Fiber is working and doing what it is mean to do, get the US out of the Internet stone age by forcing other companies to get real about Internet service. Bandwidth is insanely cheap anywhere except residential or small business because they artificially limit their own capacity. Google has years of experience managing fiber (they bought a /lot/ of the dark fiber back after .com crash) and knows there isn't any legitimate reason to keep things as they are.

Cable companies have been pushing back at Google (youtube etc) claiming that they use too much of their available bandwidth and trying to justify charging Google extortion money for extra bandwidth. Google has a choice, they can pay the extortion money to companies that refuse to honor network neutrality or they can spend the money on rolling out their own fiber. Google is demonstrating to the cable companies that their position is not insurmountable and that if they have to they will simply go around them.

Astutely observed, sir, but I would add that all of that makes a compelling case for a public utility model, wherein one (quasi-governmental) entity owns the pipe (fiber, whatever) and sells access to it on an even playing field. Having competing companies all stringing their own fiber is madness. Having them all competing to offer service over one piece of existing fiber is much better. No?

No. That's what the telco monopolies told the FCC back in the day. And then they proceeded to serve their own needs first and keep dragging their feet on their competitors. They also began charging the public the same price +$1 that they were charging the competitors (the law didn't allow them to charge the same or less). Once the competitors all dropped out because everyone signed up with the telco because they were "faster" and "cheaper" and "more reliable", they raised the prices massively to the point where what was $20-$30 per month is now $50 and no better than it was at $20 (about 6Mbps still). At least Time Warner Cable here, while charging me $55-$60 for the higher tier, actually raised it from 5 to 10 to 20 to 35 and only increased my bill $5 over a 10-year span.

Re:Google fiber is working (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#43559087)

No. That's what the telco monopolies told the FCC back in the day. And then they proceeded to serve their own needs first and keep dragging their feet on their competitors.

This is only possible because the telco monopolies were not quasi-governmental like the Post Office. It's only the "government is evil" crowd that's prevent the actual sane utility model from taking root where it should. Imagine if you had to get your electricity from the likes of AT&T or Verizon without the public utilities commission to beat the utilities into line - it'd be a nightmare.

Re:Google fiber is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43556889)

That only works if the owner of the network can not sell service to individuals. Once the middle man is cut out of the picture there is no competition.

Re:Google fiber is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43557475)

Exactly!! Without that caveat, you'll end up with a monopoly/duopoly like we have in Canada. Bell owns the telephone lines and commands the lion-share of the business. Rogers the same for cable. Prices up here are absurd!

Re:Google fiber is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43558267)

Or you have the government own it, contract the operating and maintenance out if necessary (it's not always necessary) and an independent regulator regulating it, and have the citizens regulate the regulator.

You don't have to make significant profits from it. Most corporations don't charge their employees for internet access. The corporations make the big bucks from other things.

To me in this day and age, if your internet service is a high margin product it means you're either niche or something is wrong. Mainstream internet access should be a commodity level service - it's not rocket science.

Re:Google fiber is working (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#43566941)

Astutely observed, sir, but I would add that all of that makes a compelling case for a public utility model, wherein one (quasi-governmental) entity owns the pipe (fiber, whatever) and sells access to it on an even playing field.

That has always been my idea. For these last-mile problems have a public utility own the last mile, and ONLY the last mile.

So, either the government or some highly regulated utility owns the fiber to the home, up to the termination point in the central office. They then charge customers to use those lines, and they charge service providers for rack space. Service providers can then engage with consumers to provide them internet service, cable, or whatever. For non-shared lines like twisted pairs and fiber the utility just charges a flat monthly maintenance fee that covers their costs to fix lines/etc. For shared lines like typical cable-based networking they would charge by the byte and rate period, just like electricity. Service providers could charge whatever they want as long as they're up-front about it, and competition would control things there. Since the last mile is a solved problem, there would be quite a bit of competition - in order to provide internet service all you need is a router, a service contract with your upstream pipe, and a monthly fee for rack space in the central office (at cost).

Imagine a botnet cluster of those (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43556855)

DDoSer's dream! Get a small handful of compromised systems sitting on GigE and let loose with the flood.

Don't Use The Kansas Turnpike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43557021)

Not because the turnpike is bad or anything, it just won't take you to Lawrence. Use I-70. Just in case somebody's planning a trip to Kansas.

Lawrence FreeNET (2)

skivvies (979561) | about a year ago | (#43557859)

The guys that run this company are a bit sketchy. They've been involved in other internet provider companies in Lawrence that never delivered what they promised. Most in Lawrence are a little leery of this deal.

Re:Lawrence FreeNET (1)

Luciano Moretti (2887109) | about a year ago | (#43558091)

Worst case they fail and Google buys the fiber roll-out cheap like they're doing in Provo Utah.

Re:Lawrence FreeNET (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#43559655)

Lawrence resident here.

Considering the mediocre level of his wi-fi mesh ISP business, I actually think getting bought out by Google is part of his business plan for this new fiber service.

Fuck s4 gnaa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43558281)

may well remAin

Yeah... skeeve (2)

Average (648) | about a year ago | (#43558285)

As others from the area point out, these guys have a track record of big dream-can't implement. "Lawrence Freenet", "Community Wireless Corp", "Wicked", etc. Spotty customer service record at best. Several different schemes to try to beg money out of city hall.

The reason this rinky-dink stuff keeps working? The town is desperate. Highly educated, highly tech-savvy. But, the local cable provider was owned for years by the local newspaper. They had bandwidth caps in place 15 years ago! And not a 'throttle' if you went over. A 'holy crap $300 bill' if you went over. The cable company got sold a few years back, but it's historically been bad enough to make you wish TWC/Cox/Comcast would take over. AT&T is the incumbent telco, but only pulled U-Verse to a couple neighborhoods before stopping.

I put in my $10, expecting that it's a scam and I won't see anything as a result. Consider it my sign of complaint. But, I used a one-time credit card number to send the $10... that's how little I trust these guys.

Re:Yeah... skeeve (2)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#43559733)

The cable company got sold a few years back, but it's historically been bad enough to make you wish TWC/Cox/Comcast would take over.

As someone also in Lawrence and who has worked for two of those three companies you mention as an Internet support rep I can tell you, no, you DON'T want Time-Warner or Cox to take over this area.

My main complaint as a Sunflower/Knology subscriber is the caps, but having one of the big three take over would just mean a jump in prices, and I bet they would leave the caps in place since they were there before just like Knology did -- their other markets don't have them, only Lawrence because we had them to start with so they knew we were already used to them.

Betrayal (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#43558591)

Putting up with the 'Wizard of Oz' shit from outlanders is bad enough, but when fellow native Kansans do it... When I become Emperor, such actions will be punishable by firing squad.

Eff L. Frank Baum (who never even lived in Kansas).

Obviously missed plan tier: supernatural (1)

Y2K is bogus (7647) | about a year ago | (#43559299)

Maybe they'll come home more often now that they have the bandwidth to research and do remote investigations with Skype!

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