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

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the please-sir-I-want-some-internet dept.

Businesses 324

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

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The basics... (5, Insightful)

Kjuib (584451) | about 9 months ago | (#46018861)

Money

Re:The basics... (5, Informative)

aaronmd (314035) | about 9 months ago | (#46018917)

Comcast in our area was willing to run the line to an office if we paid for the cost of running the line. At the time they needed a new distribution hub with it so the cost was $60k+. 2 years later they changed their tune and did it for free in return for a 2 or 3 year business class internet contract.

Chances are good you'd need a hub in your subdivision so it isn't like running a single cable and daisychaining the houses will work. If you can get commitments from enough of the neighbors however, you may be able to get somewhere with the company. 10 homes wanting $100/mo cable+internet adds up to $1200/mo and $14,400/yr. That might get them interested. 5 of you wanting $40/mo Internet only isn't likely to get them interested.

Re:The basics... (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 9 months ago | (#46019335)

1. Order 1 metric ton of gravy.
2. Pour said gravy onto train
3. Make phone call to cable company
4. Profit?

Re:The basics... (3, Insightful)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 9 months ago | (#46018951)

Very much true. Money.

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

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

Re:The basics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018981)

Why not start a mini-ISP and co-location facility in the area?

Run your own cable, teach your own classes from intro to computing to technical repair, and make a mint of of paid cable/internet/wi-fi and perhaps even cellular data services.

Money again, but with a return down the road.

There must be a how-to guide somewhere about running a small ISP. If not, write it as you go along.

It is the American way.

Re:The basics... (2)

Krojack (575051) | about 9 months ago | (#46019119)

Because all the big dogs on your borders will do everything they can to make it a living hell for you. The big dogs would see what you're doing, move into the area and crush you. In the end you will have lost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A few years back my company use to resell AT&T DSL. AT&T would charge us ~$30/month for each account. Now how could we get customers and make some sort of profit on that when the customers can go directly to AT&T to get the same, if not faster, service for $15/month.

Re:The basics... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 9 months ago | (#46019263)

And by "crush" you mean, what? AT&T is going to come in with a backhoe and dig up his lines? Derp! If they wanted into his neighborhood's market, it is currently open, it would cost them less now than if there is local competition. You can't just make DSL cheaper to compete for the customers that want faster connections. Obviously if you're just trying to re-sell what is already available in the neighborhood, you're in a bad position. Totally different than running your own cable.

Re:The basics... (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 9 months ago | (#46019517)

And by "crush" you mean, what?

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

Re:The basics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019437)

He can't, it's covenant controlled which means the HOA has to agree if he wants run any kind of lines, and they probably made an exclusive deal with the DSL provider back when the division was first developed.

Re:The basics... (1)

ChrisSlicks (2727947) | about 9 months ago | (#46019103)

Money is it. They need to have a return on investment, and since the life-cycle cost of buried cable is about 2-4x of overhead cables it would be difficult for them to recoup those costs without charging you all an extraordinary up-front connection fee. If your sub-division offered to pay up-front for the cabling costs I'm sure they would do it, but good luck getting the neighbors to sign on for that one.

Re:The basics... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 9 months ago | (#46019217)

Covenants are there to restrict what you can do with land you... long-term lease from the neighborhood association under the guise of land ownership.

If you don't like the restrictions... don't like on snooty restricted land. If you're not rich enough to just bring your own fiber in underground, why are you living in wannabe snootyville?

Re:The basics... (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about 9 months ago | (#46019291)

If you know someone nearby with decent internet point an antenna at their house and use theirs. With the right antenna on each end you can get a decent connection over a mile away.

If not you could pay to have fiber run to your house and charge the neighbors for wireless access.

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

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019399)

Money

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

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

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

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

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

Good Luck!

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

Re:The basics... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 9 months ago | (#46019499)

Yep
Option 1) Use your vast political machine to convince congress to once again smash the HOA's in the mouth and allow it.
Option 2) You kill enough people in your community they vote to allow it
      a)or vote to pay for the underground wires
      b) or the remaining bleaters all leave and you ARE the
              HOA and you can do what you want.
Option 3) You destroy the local telecom and plunder all of it's accounts of cold hard cash, launder it and use that to take over their infrastructure.
Option 4) Move.

All of them are expensive, some are more expensive than others. If you pick the most expensive and cruel congratulations Bezos has job for you.

Re:The basics... (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#46019511)

It depends on who owns the underground infrastructure.

In many places who ever did the subdivision originally, deeded all of that underground wire or piping to the city, or to the home owners association (if there is one) or to who ever they contracted for putting tin the original DSL. (AT&T apparently). If those owners won't allow use of the in ground infrastructure for a new purpose, you have to build new parallel plumbing.

In that event, the cost of permitting, call before you dig, trenching, tunneling under driveways, etc can be so expensive they would never get payback, and the risk of destroying everything already in the ground is significant Everything from street lamp wiring, gardens, sprinkler systems, water pipes, etc.

I've seen it done, but there usually has to be a city wide project to get this to happen. Enough work to make it worth employing a professional crew and providing months of work.

You might have better luck getting all 22 homeowners to go on on a private conduit installation, with a bigger than needed conduit (or maybe just armored fiber) to each premises, all terminating at some common (and accessible) location. You'd have to pay for the trenching and materials, but it isn't that expensive, especially if you cover the liability aspects.

All it takes is one hold-out to prevent a complete plan.

City laws (2)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about 9 months ago | (#46018863)

Unless the municipality requires them to, they won't. Time Warner in Kansas City is required to support all of KC. Other ISPs that came in later (AT&T, Google, etc...) don't have such a requirement.

I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019099)

There can not be differing requirements in franchise agreements.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019485)

There can not be differing requirements in franchise agreements.

This is a covenant development (HOA controlled), the franchise agreements with the city only cover public right-of-way which ends at the edge of the development.
You'll see this with HOA developments, High-rise condos, and large apartment complexes quite a bit... the local ISP will run the lines across their property for free in exchange for exclusive access to the development.

Re:City laws (4, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about 9 months ago | (#46019259)

Exactly!

I don't know about the details in Kansas City, but in Massachusetts, when Verizon was doing the FiOS roll-out, the typical franchise agreement with each town required that they offer service to every resident within five years of the initial agreement. This typically meant that those with above-ground utilities got it in the first year, and everyone else had to wait until the fourth or fifth year.

You need to talk to your elected officials in town. Find out when the license is up for renewal. It may be a ten-year deal with the town (that's not unusual). Push hard to have the town require universal access to all residents within a reasonable time as a condition on any license renewal.

The simple fact is that, taken as a whole, most towns with a mix of above and below-ground utilities still result in a profit for cable companies when they have to install service to all neighborhoods. Below-ground utilities alone are still profitable, but the payback is longer, so they prefer to invest in infrastructure elsewhere.

Owned (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018875)

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

Re: Owned (4, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | about 9 months ago | (#46018965)

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

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

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

Re: Owned (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 9 months ago | (#46018995)

They should have buried conduit, pulling fiber/cable is cheep digging holes not so much.

Re: Owned (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019205)

They should have buried multiple conduits, each at least 6" in diameter.

Re:Owned (2)

dk20 (914954) | about 9 months ago | (#46019243)

Someone wanted a subsivisiion to look a very specific way (no overhead cables) and didnt plan things out?
When the subidvision is being built laying underground cable is still expensive, but a lot cheaper then when the area is built out.

What exactly is a "a semi-rural micropolitan area"?
A place where "hipsters" live? Oh, i dont live in a subdivision like you do, i live in a "a semi-rural micropolitan area"

I don't. (1, Offtopic)

kheldan (1460303) | about 9 months ago | (#46018877)

If things keep going in the direction they've been going lately, pretty soon there won't be a reason to have internet access anymore.

Simple. Allow no competition. (1)

game kid (805301) | about 9 months ago | (#46018883)

It's simple: assure an ISP that any "competing" ISP that follows them will not offer prices, services, or data restrictions substantially better than theirs; et voila, cable and/or fiber.

Cartels and de facto monopolies are what seems to get them building these days.

Re:Simple. Allow no competition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018923)

Well, it's understandable they might not want to invest a boatload of money just to have everyone switch to someone else. They might as well just plow the money into the ground along with the fiber.

Re:Simple. Allow no competition. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 9 months ago | (#46019095)

For 22 houses? They'll laugh at your bluff.

So... (2)

msauve (701917) | about 9 months ago | (#46018891)

You've got a 22 home sub, and everyone wants better Internet run. Change the covenants, if that's what it takes, sounds like you have the support. It sounds like there's already coax - it's not clear why a cable ISP couldn't run high speed service over that, or why you think they would need new cable.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018943)

Coax? DSL runs over POTS twisted pairs, my friend.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019005)

Indeed. If everyone in the subdivision agrees to do it then rewriting the covenants should be relatively easy.

Re:So... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 9 months ago | (#46019173)

Changing covenants [wikipedia.org] is not easy by design. Covenants are usually imposed by someone else, usually the local government, to allow the project to go forward. If they were easily changeable by the HOA it would be a bylaw not a covenant.

Re:So... (2)

cheese_boy (118027) | about 9 months ago | (#46019377)

Covenants are usually imposed by someone else, usually the local government, to allow the project to go forward. If they were easily changeable by the HOA it would be a bylaw not a covenant.

Covenants are usually created by the HOA - usually by the developer who is creating the homes and has 100% control of the HOA at it's beginning. If the local government wants to impose a restriction, they create ordinances.

To change covenants usually isn't "easy" - but it's doable. The problem is getting everyone to agree to the change. (or at least a lot of the people).
For example here's an article on doing it in CO: http://www.cohoalaw.com/your-governing-documents-should-your-covenants-be-amended.html

The difference between by-laws and covenants is that the bylaws are for the group of people - they specify how often meetings should be, how many people on the HOA board, etc. And those bylaws are often more easily modified.
Covenants are attached to the property and are just about what can be done with the properties (ex. no raising farm animals on the property, all utilities must be buried, etc)

As for the OP - I'd try a letter to the cable company from all the homeowners who are interested - give the cable company the names and addresses of the 15 properties who are planning to sign up, and most likely that'll get them to consider it.
If not - paying for it yourself seems like a good option...

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Aighearach (97333) | about 9 months ago | (#46019381)

In the US covenants are almost always contractual conditions imposed by a private party that are signed as a (perpetual) condition of purchase or transfer. Generally this is where the developer builds a "subdivision" all at once, and forms a "neighborhood association" composed of some of the original owners. They come up with a list of things that can't (or have to be) done with the property; common ones in my area are restrictions on removing trees (without some sort of vote by the association), banning of manufactured homes, parking restrictions on private roads, stricter "quiet hours" than the municipal code provides, and in some cases even a ban on building a house from the same design as any existing house in the neighborhood.

Sometimes even the allowed colors of homes are controlled. It is almost unrestricted. Here in the US, there is actually very limited things that the local government can do with regards to property restrictions. Arbitrary restrictions are generally thrown out by the courts, as are things that restrict your freedom of speech. However, a neighborhood association is not a government, and since the restrictions are contractual in nature, you can include a wide variety of severe, arbitrary, and speech-related restrictions.

Re:So... Covenants (1)

laughingskeptic (1004414) | about 9 months ago | (#46019403)

You are right that they are hard to change. You are wrong that they are usually associated with a government. They are usually associated with the deed of the property. When the property was subdivided, the creator of the individual parcels specified deed covenants that they thought would improve the value of the property. States have laws related to the type of super-majority required to change these deeds (often 90%), but even if everyone in your neighborhood agrees, good luck getting the banks all equally interested in making this change. Then you typically would have to re-close on the new deed and pay the associated costs of that. In other words, pretty much impossible.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019355)

A way to fight it on the ground is ask whomever regulates the utilities in the area who the declared monopolies are in your area for the different utilities and what level of compliance they are for the universal access rules. However, you may be out of luck. The cable ISP in a rural area of our state paid the (grow by the month) penalty, rather than comply with the baseline level of service.

Other than that, I'd recommend making a wireless ISP coop. The running costs can be low, depending on your relationships. That way, the only connection needed is at the edge of the network. Just get some routers and make them form a mesh network, or the like. There cannot be a monopoly on wireless in certain bands. With 22 people, reasonable use levels, no profit motive and generous use of squid, you could provide pretty good internet access for surprisingly cheap and very competitive with U-verse.

Ok, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018893)

so why not bury your own cable and leave enough to reach the top of the pole?

you have the answer already (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018897)

bury the wire yourself.
either then ask them to discount you on hookups, or charge them to use it for delivery :)
bury some other stuff while you're in there!
if that sounds too expensive to split 22 ways, then you understand why the cable operator is hesitant to go out on a limb too. of course, being able to snatch dsl and satellite customers away from the telcos should sound appealing to them.

I'm in the same boat on my street.

Pay them. (3, Insightful)

RealGene (1025017) | about 9 months ago | (#46018905)

Really, it's the only way. Pay them to do the work. It will cost you at least $3-5K per household.
The only alternative is to go to your locality's cable commission, and find out if/when the cable provider's license is up for renewal. Make 100% coverage a non-negotiable requirement for renewal.

DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018907)

or pay them Dollar Dollar bills, YO!

Offer to throw in some money (1)

selectspec (74651) | about 9 months ago | (#46018909)

Get your Home Owners Association (or POA) to put up some of the cost.

Common situation in Seattle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018913)

In my neighborhood in Seattle and in ones where several friends live, we're in the same situation. Comcast doesn't provide service and CenturyLink won't upgrade to fiber. We're stuck with 1 Mbps or slower service due to the age of the buried phone cable at nearly $70/month. The HOA in my neighborhood will not consider helping to fund replacing the buried cable since this isn't a very technical area and not having good Internet access seems to bother only me. I wish I had a solution.

Re: Common situation in Seattle (1)

kenh (9056) | about 9 months ago | (#46019001)

Move.

Re: Common situation in Seattle (3, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 9 months ago | (#46019123)

This is actually a real solution. Internet access is important nowadays. People move for a lot less, like to appear to have better life to their family or get their children into what looks to be a better school.

One would think that for someone who views reliable and fast internet access as an important factor in quality of life, moving to get better internet would be up with those reasons to move in terms of importance.

(I live what I preach. I moved into the house that gets 21mbps connection on ADSL2+ which theoretically maxes out on 24mpbs back when adsl2+ was newest of the new in internet over POTS lines).

Re: Common situation in Seattle (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 9 months ago | (#46019393)

More broadly, move to a place where you own the land you "own."

go public with your own plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018933)

Have your neighborhood organization start talk about become an ISP to the neighborhood and installing its own lines underground. Go public with that. Wait for the ISP's to line up to provide you with overpriced service.

Re: go public with your own plan (1)

kenh (9056) | about 9 months ago | (#46019053)

You may run afoul of the exclusive deal the cable company has for your town...

Would the rest of your town be willing to abandon their current cable company so that your 22 house neighborhood can enjoy better internet connections and no unsightly poles? I suspect not, and I suspect the cable company knows this, so you have no leverage over the cable company to get what you want...

As an alternative... (2)

JonahsDad (1332091) | about 9 months ago | (#46018939)

You could get your subdivision covenants changed to not require all utilities to be underground. Worth weighing the costs of each approach (both monetary and non-monetary).

Re: As an alternative... (1)

kenh (9056) | about 9 months ago | (#46019081)

I don't think they'd be willing to drop poles in your little neighborhood just to pick up a dozen or two new customers...

Have any companies expressed a willingness to serve your neighborhood with above ground services?

Re:As an alternative... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 9 months ago | (#46019087)

Covenants can be very difficult to change. In developments, the local government is usually a party to the covenant and must agree, and sometimes pass bylaws, to changing it. The covenant was probably places on the development to keep its rural flavor. Since there is an alternative, burying the cable, I doubt the covenant would be dropped. If it was changeable by the residents it would be a bylaw and not a covenant. There are ways to remove covenants [wikipedia.org] but they are not easy.

Re:As an alternative... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019107)

"rural flavor" would definitely not imply buried cable.

Re:As an alternative... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 9 months ago | (#46019129)

That was just a guess anyway. The point is that covenants are difficult to get rid of.

Rebranded as UVerse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018959)

How did you get AT&T to rebrand as UVerse? They are starting to put the smack down on a 150 gb data cap, which if they lifted to 250 gb (UVerse levels) would suit my usage just fine. However UVerse "isn't available" in my neighborhood so now I'm contemplating switching.

Simple (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 9 months ago | (#46018969)

Pay for them to do it.

Why not researching a wireless solution? (3, Insightful)

fred911 (83970) | about 9 months ago | (#46018975)

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

Re:Why not researching a wireless solution? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019543)

No, just no. I had Clearwire for a while in downtown Seattle. While the speed was great since it was nearly 50 times faster than CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) DSL, it was actually slower in practice because of the horrific latency and packet loss. I know it's hard to believe, but the typical Seattle less than 1 Mbps DSL line was more pleasant to use than the Clearwire connection that was fifty times faster on paper. Wired is just that much better than wireless.

It's expensive (3, Informative)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 9 months ago | (#46018983)

It's really expensive to bury lines, something like 10x the cost of above ground lines in some cases. The only way you're gonna get them to do it is if your neighborhood ponies up the money. The other alternative is to change the C&Rs to allow above ground, and even then they'll only do it if they're gonna make more money than what it costs.

stopping just short of burying our own cable and hoping they'll at least be willing to run a line to the pole at the end of the street and drop it into our box.

Well, if you want it badly enough, then that may be pretty much what you have to do (or at least bear the cost of it). You're dealing with a for-profit company, not a charity, so from a business perspective why would they spend the money when they have no hope of making enough to cover it in the foreseeable future?

Compete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46018993)

Start your own WISP.

Buy a bulk connection (from them) in their service area and resell it to outside the service are.

Watch how fast they start digging....

You get what you pay for (1)

jgotts (2785) | about 9 months ago | (#46019003)

Move somewhere without these types of covenants and this type of association. Sounds a little bit like you're getting what you deserve or you didn't do the research before moving in.

Ham radio operators have been dealing with this since I was licensed in 1991 and probably much earlier. Move somewhere, they forbid you from erecting an antenna, and you can't set up your station, public service or otherwise.

Re:You get what you pay for (3, Informative)

rjune (123157) | about 9 months ago | (#46019249)

Perhaps you could clarify about being restricted from putting up an antenna:

http://www.arrl.org/restrictive-antenna-ordinances [arrl.org]

Are you being prevented from putting up an antenna by ordinance or by covenants?

Oh no (2)

atari2600a (1892574) | about 9 months ago | (#46019021)

I 'accidentally' 'broke' the existing POTS lines!

Too quick to dismiss DSL? (2)

jsm300 (669719) | about 9 months ago | (#46019029)

Perhaps you have been too quick to dismiss DSL. I assume that currently your DSLAM is not very close to the neighborhood and therefore AT&T can only offer the slower DSL speeds. Perhaps you can convince AT&T to install a fiber fed DSLAM near the border of your neighborhood. If there is fiber in the area this can be done without digging up your neighborhood. With current DSL technology (VDSL2) they could offer much higher speeds (up to 100 Mbit down, but more likely 20-40 Mbit). This can be done over your existing neighborhood phone wires as long as the distance to the DSLAM is fairly short. However, your neighborhood still might not be big enough to make a good case. At the very least you would have to get a significant number of your neighbors to commit to buy a high rate DSL service. Are there other nearby neighborhoods that could benefit? That might increase the chances of it happening. I'm not saying that there is a high probability that you can convince AT&T to do this, but you should at least consider all your options.

Re:Too quick to dismiss DSL? (3, Informative)

linear a (584575) | about 9 months ago | (#46019153)

DSL capability depends on distance to the nearest (hub/station/whatever). We tried that but were barely in DSL range (15,000 feet or so as the cable goes). It ran at 768 kbps max and was pretty bad. If you're closer the speeds etc gets better, if you're close enough to the closest station you can (I heard) get 25 mbps.

Re:Too quick to dismiss DSL? (3, Informative)

jsm300 (669719) | about 9 months ago | (#46019475)

RIght. That nearest hub/station/whatever is called a DSLAM. A DSLAM can be installed near or in your neighborhood and fed by fiber. I have a fiber fed DSLAM in my neighborhood and I subscribe to a 40 Mbit VDSL2 service. I'm less than 1000 feet from the DSLAM, as are most of the people in our neighborhood. The generic "DSL" covers a wide range of service. The fact is that many people can only get 1.5 Mbit (or even only 256 Kbit) service, so they assume that (or 5-7 Mbit, which is the next tier typically available) is the best that DSL can offer.

Problem already been solved before (5, Interesting)

ceide2000 (234155) | about 9 months ago | (#46019031)

There are two options HOAs can access high speed Internet or other telecom services.

Option 1: Poll your neighbors and determine who will sign up for what services if they where available. Write down their contact info, what services they want and take it to a local telco office. Tell them you want to speak with a business sales rep. Tell them your need and provide a copy of the document. They should be able to justify the build-out based on the number of signed service agreements. The standard ROI is two years. So your neighbors will have to be okay with the services they receive for at least two years. This has been numerous times with multiple carriers. So if you get push back from the sales rep speak to their manager. Trust me, they want to make the sale!

Option 2: Install it yourself then contact the provider for bulk services. In bulk arraignments the savings is sufficient to payoff the build-out within 18-24 months if you farmed out the build and maintenance. ROI is much less if you do it yourself. I have some MDU properties with 100/50Mbps service out to each apartment.

Re:Problem already been solved before (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 9 months ago | (#46019151)

Great answer. If you can show up with fifteen homes willing to sign up, they are a lot more inclined to take you seriously.

Re:Problem already been solved before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019553)

Option 3: make your own ISP. It is less ridicules than most people think. I read about an island having the problem that they couldn't even get DSL (in 2013!). They founded their own ISP and went to the company, who has a fiber connection crossing the island. In fact they have some sort of repeater station on the center of the island and the islanders bought a really fast connection at that location. They then erected a huge mast, which provided wiki access to all their customers within a few km. They put up another mast 5 km away (around 3 miles), which is wireless connected to the first mast. This new mast then provides internet for the people in that area. When I read about it, they had 7 masts and 35% of the island was covered. Sure some had to go through 3-4 masts before reaching the fiber, but it still totally beats anything else offered at that location. The interesting part is that because they are that many to share the costs, they get 3-5 times the speed of what they would get in a big city for the same monthly payment.

If this concept should be used by EmagGeek, then it sounds like it would be enough to erect a single hotspot in the "deadzone" he lives in. That reduces the cable problem to a single location and that spot might be wirelessly connected with a major internet hub in the area, completely removing the need for digging. There is a risk that the signal could be "shielded" by tall buildings though, meaning it should be carefully investigated before investing money.

Not all transmitters have to have their own mast. Areas with buildings tend to provide a number of them, such a factory chimneys. My local radio station uses the water tower, which works way better than one would expect. In fact a roof you can go to using stairs is much better than a chimney as service is a lot easier and cheaper.

Alternatively accept living with DSL. There is big money invested in using the existing cables meaning DSL users can really soon (if not already) get very decent speed. I know I can get 50 Mb though DSL, though that is serious overkill for my usage. I'm in the same situation as EmagGeek as the fiber zone ends at my backyard (no kidding, the next road has fiber), but with the DSL in this area I don't think that is a real problem.

Go wireless (5, Interesting)

pcjunky (517872) | about 9 months ago | (#46019041)

Use WISP technology. And before you say our covenant won't allow antennas....

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule [fcc.gov]

Re:Go wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019379)

http://www.ubnt.com/nanostation

Re:Go wireless (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 9 months ago | (#46019497)

Yep. Members of my HOA were harassed by the board of directors back when minidishes started popping up. We invoked the 1996 telecommunication act and dared them to take us to court. They dropped the issue.

WISP will get you the mesh, but you still need a big pipe to the internet. If the neighborhood is close enough to an area that does have broadband, maybe you can work something out with them. Set up a LLC and become your own ISP.

Three words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019059)

Trained attack squirrels.

OTARD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019077)

Wireless provider may be enticed to point a sector your way.
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule

Comcast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019091)

I called them every single day for 4 months. And they finally put a cable down our road with 20 homes on it.

YEAH! I just saw the ad for comcast cable on tv! I want comcast cable!
Waits... Answers questions. Waits.. What! I can't get comcast cable?!?!?! BUT I SAW IT ON TV! I WANT IT!

Repeat for 4 months. They got us cable so i would shut the fuck up and stop bothering them. I wasted far more employee time than that cable costed to install!

But of course now i have comcast cable... SO there is a downside.

Altho endless porn on the pc makes up for it.

Micropolitan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019093)

What the heck is a micropolitan area?

LMGTFY (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 9 months ago | (#46019211)

LMGTFY [google.ca]

Re:Micropolitan? (1)

dk20 (914954) | about 9 months ago | (#46019261)

I'd mod you up if i could....
" semi-rural micropolitan area", what the hell?

Vegeta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019109)

They should just set up wireless towers to cover rural areas one tower can cover OVER 9 MILES. That is what I used until I moved their speeds was not the best but hey 200kbs beats the hell out of 2.6-3.5kbs I have a 100mbps connection today making up for lost time. It took me 26 days to pirate Warcraft III and it took me 30 minuets to figure out it was a piece of shit.

Pay for it. (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 9 months ago | (#46019125)

Our Telcom told me they would put fiber up to me if I paid for it. A mile and a half. I put in 12 pair phone underground wire laid on top of the ground inside 1" black plastic water line 25 years ago and it has lasted well. This was back before DSL when we had 14Kbaud modems or so - ripping faster than the old 300baud modems which were definitely better than throwing rocks or smoke signals. :)

I'm trying to get them to just let me run the fiber through my existing 1" water line pipes which has plenty of bandwidth. :)

Re:Pay for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019295)

We don't know where you live - North Dakota or Florida.

Burying fiber 2 feet down is expensive.
Trenching 6 inches is cheap -relatively speaking.
grass will grow over/around it.

so just get a guy who lays sprinkler pipe and pull the fiber yourself. Get a splicer ( $200 - $500 end ) and you are in business.

Research (1)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 9 months ago | (#46019127)

In this day and age there is no excuse to not have done your research before hand.

Any time you plan to move somewhere (whether renting or buying but especially if you're buying a home) find out what is available for internet at that address.

In NZ we're rolling out fibre to the premises over most of the country but there are lots of places that get screwed and will probably never get it, so RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH.

Property that can't get decent internet should be worth less because it will forever be less appealing.

My recent experiences in this (2)

linear a (584575) | about 9 months ago | (#46019131)

1 Consider getting enough neighbors to split the cost (depends on what the cost is of course). 2 Wait until somebody else pays to get it closer to your area. 3 Get them to give a credit (50% in my case) for future service of the money paid to bring the cable in. Have them agree that's transferable to subsequent owners if the cost is high enough to bother with. 4 Look at alternatives - satelite internet (slow and VERY laggy but otherwise usable, can't do online gaming though). - cell phone data plan (low data caps, good for gaming, drops off sometimes).

It's all about the money (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 9 months ago | (#46019133)

Economics. Burying is going to cost a lot. The ISPs would have to borrow money now to pay the diggers, and hope that they can recoup the cost in the long run. The up-front cost is like $2000 per city lot. The ISPs are unlikely to foot the bill, even though interest rates are at record lows.

You'll have to move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019135)

Most likely the real explanation why the cable company is not providing service in your area is because the HOA wants door fees from the cable company to be able offer service in your subdivision. There is a possibility that there is a signed contract with AT&T and the HOA which gives AT&T exclusive access to the subdivision for the next decade. Some HOA's have exclusive contracts with a Satellite company as well in which they earn kickbacks off of everyone's satellite TV bill in exchange for blocking the cable company from being able to provide service.

HOAs and property management companies are the scum of the earth, as they can lock their residents into an exclusive contract with a ISP/telco/tv company of their choosing and earn a cut of the profits while the homeowners receive inferior service.

Re:You'll have to move. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 9 months ago | (#46019209)

"HOAs and property management companies are the scum of the earth"

The people who CHOOSE to empower them get what they CONTRACTED for. They traded freedom for perceived neighborhood "security".

Call your friendly Electric Coop (2)

Your Average Joe (303066) | about 9 months ago | (#46019137)

As long as the local electricity is provided by a Coop you should be able to get it. You might have to get all your neighbors to sign up as well but you get a Gig fiber connection to your house( called an ONT ) and you pay for whatever bandwidth they decide to sell. Usually 10, 25, 50 and 100 megabit business service. It works really good.

You say your electricity comes from a local monopoly like Consumers Energy, well I guess you will have to wait 2 decades and they might have it, they are just a little behind and have NO incentive to provide extra services to have happy customers.

depends... (1)

Spyder1384 (1171807) | about 9 months ago | (#46019179)

How close are you to an existing cable or fios installation? Within a mile, it might happen, over 5 miles, time to move. I live in a rural area and I can't even get Dsl because there is 0 demand for internet access in my neighborhood (im the only person under 50). I'm. Thankful for a cell signal most days.

Easy Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019181)

We had the same exact situation several years ago. In addition, we were well outside anyone's service area. And yet Comcast ran several miles of hardline on poles to reach our area and then dropped it underground to reach our isolated country road. We all got service with no connection charge. Our current download speed is 30Meg. It turned out we had a Comcast Vice-President of Engineering living on our street.

Offer to help pay for it... (2)

aklinux (1318095) | about 9 months ago | (#46019185)

Put together a Home Owners Association and collect dues. Use the money collected to pay for moving the utilities underground. Or, you may be able to get your city to bond the project. This would mean higher property taxes, at least in your area.

With a 22 home subdivision, there is no way it is going to pay for the utility Companies to do this on their own.

Same situation here! (1)

Jack Kolesar (532605) | about 9 months ago | (#46019213)

I'm in almost the exact same situation as you. What is worse is that I only live in a 10 home sub-division. We have all tried to commission Time Warner who is right on the main road but they keep saying no. I believe they will do it if we pay them and even informally quoted us at some point (several thousand or tens of thousands of dollars if I recall). It's very frustrating to be able to practically see the line from my house and not be able to tap into it. We just moved here so to say that going from 50Mbps on TW or WOW (both in my previous area) to 5Mbps on a good day through Centurylink is frustrating is an understatement. Luckily I packaged with DirecTV for one year to get the fantastic deal of $30/month for the internet portion. Next year it goes to $60/month. $60/month for 5Mbps down and 0.5Mbps up! Now THAT is a monopoly!

Your labor is cheap. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 9 months ago | (#46019215)

Look- you and your neighbors could dig that trench in about 1 day (each person digging their own 2' deep, 1' wide trench.

You could then buy the line for under $500 bucks.

So then it's just a question of getting comcast to hook to it.

You don't (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 9 months ago | (#46019221)

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

burying cables (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 9 months ago | (#46019229)

Utilities companies are cheapskates. In Australia, and I'm sure it's probably similar in America, the power companies here are still reluctant to bury power cables that arc, ignite bush fires and then kill people.

I'm not saying what you are trying to achieve is impossible, but however you attempt to achieve it you are up for a lot of hard work.

Contact the state cable franchise authority (1)

IP_Troll (1097511) | about 9 months ago | (#46019233)

Franchises such as cable providers are required to pull lines to all people is a territory. In exchange for being the only cable company, the cable company is typically required to provide services to everyone regardless of the cost. Google to find out the complaint department for your state franchise authority and place a complaint. I did this is the past and was quickly provided with cable access, even though they had to pull additional lines to reach me.

anther direction (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 9 months ago | (#46019253)

Have you considered getting all the residents together to beat up the HOA or whoever it is that controls the shortsighted covenants, in order to get them to make an exception for cable?

Yes (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 9 months ago | (#46019265)

We got a petition, so they would know how much money they could earn, thus know the investment would pay off. Took a year, we got underground cable. Persistence and organization won the day. This was just over 10 years ago with Time Warner and we all lived on 4 acre lots. 40+ of us.

Here is the $600M answer to your question. You're (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019283)

Excluding the possibility that any portion of this land could be valuable to an ISP to reach another location strategically, The only way to make this work is: Step 1 - do the math on the total annual telecom & video spend for your neighborhood & divide the cost of installing a hybrid fiber/cat6 distribution system by the annual neighborhood spend to determine the number of years (likely between 10 - 20) it would take a contract for exclusive ISP rights in the neighborhood to pay back the cost of infrastructure. Step 2. Have a commercial real estate attorney draft a contract including the structured financIng above but also INCLUDING separate documents which modify EVERY landowners deed, granting exclusive easements across each property for the distribution system (which each owner releases to the ISP in perpetuity) AND simultaneously creates secondary "blanket" easements which will cover all remaining ground surface on each landowner's property which will specifically restrict any other legal entity from crossing those properties with telecom cabling of any kind. Step 3. Take this agreement that guarantees exclusivity for all wireline access to the homes subject to deed restrictions with each individual landowner (that part is critical as this agreement would never work if structured with some kind of homeowners association) to the competing ISP and while you're trying to sell them on it, try and pretend like you will never need customer support of any kind.

wifi??? power-lines??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019301)

I'm no expert in this, and almost certainly this idea is a baaaad one, but it would be interesting to discuss what makes it a bad idea.

What about power-line networking? There are speed limitations, but perhaps less than legacy DSL. If your subdivision was constructed all at one time, perhaps it is all on a single stepdown transformer. Find a single home in the subdivision that can get a decent high speed connection (perhaps one that is close to the periphery, and bury a single cable yourself) and let it feed the rest through the power lines.

A similar alternative would be to serve the whole subdivision with a couple local high-range wifi xceivers.

Both of these technologies have been maturing in capability. But exploiting these bleeding-edge technologies in a setup that is supposed to work with little maintenance for a decade or two is not something for amateurs, and like I said, a bad idea.

(That's why I am posting anonymously.)

Gov't regulation (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 9 months ago | (#46019345)

it's the only way they bother. Either the gov't pays for it and gives it away free for a private company to monetize, or the gov't requires the private company to pay for it in exchange for the revenue. Either way it pretty much boils down to the gov't paying for it.

I'm not complaining. I'm in favor of infrastructure investment. Just don't expect them to bother if it's their money on the line and they're not promised a tonne of long term profits (and a bail out if those profits never materialize). The kinda ppl that run cable companies are rich, and they didn't get rich taking risks.

I love 1/4 mile from a site that has 40mbit DSL (2)

twistofsin (718250) | about 9 months ago | (#46019429)

And can't get shit beyond "1.5" at my house. It wasn't even half that speed when I tried it.

Pay them to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46019495)

All you have to do is fork out the money and they will do so.

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