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Dark Fiber: A Case In Point

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the what-the-market-won't-bear dept.

The Internet 401

Anonymous Coward writes "CNN has posted a story regarding the overabundance of fiber lines that were laid during the 90s gold rush along Oregons Interstate 5 corridor. While over 140,000 miles of fiber has been laid 95 percent of the fiber goes unused and roughly half of the companies who laid the fiber are now gone. The article goes on to further say that even with all that fiber, there is little availability to the consumer because either the local connections aren't there or, because of monopolization by phone companies, too expensive. Even for businesses."

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g to the oatse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855333)

c to the izzex
fo shizzle my penisbird, you tubgirl wanna be!
rock out.

First christ. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855334)

Lololz lenton got banned from everquest kekekekekekekekeke har?

If I didnt' have a day job (3, Funny)

Nevermore-Spoon (610798) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855337)

I'd dig it up and sell it on ebay

Re:If I didnt' have a day job (4, Funny)

nocomment (239368) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855365)

i'd sell it there but I wouldn't dig it up. I'd just ignore the person who bought it from me until they eventually stopped sending me emails.

Proof of monopolies... (4, Interesting)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855352)

The reason 95% percent of lines arne't being used is because that would create more bandwidth, and lower the cost of said bandwidth and the phone companies wouldn't have the justification of hosing you monthly.

Re:Proof of monopolies... (5, Interesting)

dj28 (212815) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855432)

Wrong. This is proof of not being able to afford to light up the fiber. There's a reason why all of it was put in the ground in the 90's. That's because people were pouring money into it without thinking. That gave the companies the money to lay it. Now, the economy is flat, and companies are barely making money on broadband as it is. This isn't some ploy to personally screw you over.

Re:Proof of monopolies... (3, Informative)

mrkurt (613936) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855438)

I think that the telco monopoly is half the story. Fiber is still expensive to access directly, and still expensive to lay out in a LAN, as the CNN article points out. Cheaper technologies, like wireless, might well leap ahead of fiber in the race to more bandwidth. I think most telcos think of the fiber network as their backbone, and they don't really market it as a service for business. This is a situation where the "last mile" is still the problem-- fiber is not laid for the whole network.

Re:Proof of monopolies... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855445)

Well you can buy all the fiber you want. The ITC I work for made a LAN extension that went 7 miles. The dark fiber cost about $8,000 to dig. Then we had to buy $10,000 modules to go into our switches. This is for a LAN extension. If you want to be a DSL provider you better be able to shell out a hell of a lot more (we have paid over a million). That is why it costs so much for broadband, if we got all of our stuff for free we could lower the prices, but we don't so we can't.

Hmmm??? (3, Insightful)

johnkoer (163434) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855354)

This article is just a reminder of how wasteful people were back in the DOT COM boom days. I'm sure that stories like these can be run in many major US cities. It just makes you think.... How much stuff is out there that is just undocumented? How much wasted technology is out there that will never be found.

Re:Hmmm??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855579)

The "dot com boom days"?

How arrogant we've become in 2 short years.

Let me disabuse you of the notion that somehow those dot com "fools" were extrodinarily wasteful.

Why do you think General Motors has recently put triple zero incentives on 13 SUV's. Why do you think Ford Credit (170 BILLION in the hole) continues to offer zero financing? Why do you think stores have clearance sales at the end of each season?

Overproduction is nothing new and it is arrogant to think it so. The reason those companies are no longer around has one and only one cause. Large coporations and the pricing games they played.

Talk to you local phone monopoly and ask why they never have clearance sales when they have excess capacity.......

Re:Hmmm??? (1, Funny)

stinkwinkerton (609110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855623)

What's hilarious is we are referring to the "DOT COM boom days" like my grandparents referred to their childhood... and the boom days were only 3 years ago!

"Grandpa, what was it like during the DOT COM boom days?"

"Well, back when I was a kid, it was like there was no end to the fiber. As far as the eye could see, we laid fiber. Day and afternoon. On the way to work at the crack of noon, I would hop into my company provided BMW and lay fiber. On the way back, I laid more fiber. Did I mention it was uphill both directions?
"Nowadays you kids don't get have to lay fiber so much. You kids got it easy."

Poor me (0, Flamebait)

davidmccabe (516209) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855358)

Quest has a fiber line within a 3 minute walk of my house, but the only thing close to affordable is icky AT&T Cable, as far as I know.

Interesting (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855360)

Makes me wonder if a profitable startup could somehow get rights to what may be thousands of miles of unused fiber around the US. Anyone interested? I'll exchange brilliant, scheming plans for startups $$$

Re:Interesting (2)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855690)

Somehow I don't think the old 1. Buy all the dark fiber; 2. ???; 3. Profit! plan is going to work, no matter how much you spend on each ?.

No way (4, Insightful)

Uhh_Duh (125375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855363)

I just don't believe "those evil phone companies" are causing the fiber to go unused.

I'm sure the exectives sit around in smoke-filled conference rooms coming up with clever ways to keep technology out of the hands of people and make LESS money by NOT selling it. Give me a break.

Phone companies will light up the fiber when it makes fiscal sense to do so. Nobody, ESPECIALLY not a phone company who would stand to profit significantly from cheap fiber, is purposely NOT using this stuff.

Re:No way (1)

1029 (571223) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855418)

Phone companies will light up the fiber when it makes fiscal sense to do so. Nobody, ESPECIALLY not a phone company who would stand to profit significantly from cheap fiber, is purposely NOT using this stuff.

Uhhhh, by waiting to use these lines until a later time, whether for good or for bad, they are in fact "purposely NOT using this stuff."

Re:No way (2)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855428)

The in fact would not make money by selling cheap fiber. That would provide greater bandwidth to more of their competitiors at a cheaper cost, thus giving the independent operators a fighting chance. Simply unaccepatable. Now if they start running out of bandwidth any time soon, then they might use some more lines, so they have more bandwidth to sell out at the same price.

Re:No way (5, Insightful)

Uhh_Duh (125375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855527)

Not half as stupid as your complete lack of information on this subject.

The key point you seem to not understand is that "Lack of bandwidth" no longer drives this market. There's more than enough bandwidth to go around with the leftover from the dot-com boom. Did it ever occur to you that maybe the reason they're not lighting up the fiber is that it's simply not needed right now?

Lighting up Fiber doesn't make bandwidth cheaper in this market since there's no demand. In reality, excess fiber would make bandwidth more expensive due to the increased overhead of having to maintain equipment and staff that aren't doing anything. Also remember, there's more to bringing bandwidth to the home or business than having fiber within a mile of the door.. The cost to trench it in and install the equipment, even if you're tapping from a short distance, is substantial -- well beyond the reach of any consumer or small business.

Furthermore, your arguments regarding anti-competitive behavior are even more ridiculous. If there's one industry where being a monopoly is a massive disadvantage, it's telecom. The Bells get screwed DAILY by the tariffs in place by the FCC (I don't have sympathy for them, they dug themselves into that mess) but business is NOT easy for them. The small-guy is at every advantage in this industry. If the big boys own the lines and the little guys want to use them, the FCC says they have to let them -- even if it means the big-boys taking a financial loss on the deal.

Sorry.. but you have much to learn about the telecom world before you open your mouth on the subject again.

Yes way (5, Insightful)

siskbc (598067) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855436)

Might want to grab an econ book - there are many industries in which a dramatic increase in quantity of product would drop prices so much that the overall net revenue would be lower at higher quantity.

Examples include farming (hence we actually pay farmers to grow nothing), steel (at least now), oil (otherwise OPEC wouldn't set production quotas), and, yes, bandwidth.

To follow your argument, why then AREN'T the phone companies selling the extra bandwidth? It isn't the demand - I would like some cheap bandwidth. It isn't the lack of fiber - as the article says, there's a lot unused. It wouldn't be that hard to tap, especially since most consumers would be willing to pay for reasonable install costs.

No, the reason is the phenomenal price drop that an increase in quantity would bring, nothing more. And you're right, it's not about "evil" phone companies - it makes good sense to do what they're doing. I've never known a company want to DROP their prices, certainly.

Re:Yes way (1)

bluprint (557000) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855614)

To follow your argument, why then AREN'T the phone companies selling the extra bandwidth? It isn't the demand - I would like some cheap bandwidth.

Why then DON'T I come mow your lawn for $5? It isn't the demand -- You would certainly like a cheap lawn mowing, I certainly have plenty of free time when I'm sitting around doing nothing better.

No, the reason I won't mow your lawn for $5 is that it would not benefit me to do so (just as the phone companies don't see themselves as benefitting from lighting up all that fiber).

I guess I'm evil too. :(

Re:Yes way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855619)

You are assuming that the cost of activating and operating that dark fiber is negligable. I don't think that is the case. Re-consult your econ book , and this time consider all the factors. (abundance of dark fiber != abundance of bandwidth).

Re:No way (5, Insightful)

fhwang (90412) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855437)

It's not because the phone companies are evil. It's because they're big, and fat, and it's way too easy for them to perpetuate the status quo.

Have you ever worked at a big company? I've worked at a few, and my personal experience is that in really large companies (say, more than 1000 employees) this very particular organizational rot sets in ... When the people making the decisions are so removed from their customers, they just stop caring. And if there is no competition to make them care, they'll just get fat and sleepy, and their customers will fall behind.

Residential DSL is the perfect example. Here in NYC, Verizon owns the phone lines, so all residential DSL has to go through them. In theory, they're supposed to allow equal access to all res-DSL companies, whether they're Verizon residential DSL or their own competition.

But I know dozens of people here who have DSL -- and nobody I knew was able to get DSL from a company other than Verizon. More than one person told me they tried to go with a smaller company, but the installation experience was really difficult: The other company couldn't do anything 'til Verizon flipped that switch, and somehow non-Verizon customers seem to get lower priority than Verizon customers. Curious, that.

A company doesn't have to be evil to screw you. Often, complacency is enough.

Re:No way (2)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855534)

A company doesn't have to be evil to screw you. Often, complacency is enough.

Your example of Verizon runs counter to this statement, though.

My definition of an evil entity is one who acts in its own interest at the cost of other people's interests. Selling is thus not inherently evil; both parties get something. Monopolistic practices, however, are evil - the monopoly prospers while everyone else loses money.

Re:No way (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855443)

Somehow I don't see it as happening this way.

Ever go to a car lot and see all of those cars just sitting around. The dealer thinks he knows what they are worth, and he is not going to sell them unless he gets that price.

The same goes for the Telco's, and fiber holders. Even if they are way out of whack as to the actual value of the dark fiber.

So they will sit on dark fiber until someone comes along that is willing to pay their insane prices.

Re:No way (3, Interesting)

scoove (71173) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855624)

Phone companies will light up the fiber when it makes fiscal sense to do so.

Except there is little compelling reason to do so...

Folks forget that while running fiber is cheap (relatively so), switching and last mile is not.

I sat through a small community presentation last month on how they want to overbuild the town (population 5,000) with fiber to every home, business, etc. "It'll only cost $2500 per location" was their estimate (double that and take twice as long and you might have a final number:-) ).

Even at their number, who wants to take a $12.5 million risk when at $20/mo. for resi phone service (half of which at most can be allocated for repayment of infrastructure), takes 20+ months for a marginal return? And I'm foolishly assuming 100% marketshare - something I'm certain the incumbant won't let me have, let alone other competitors.

The truth is that the same dollar invested elsewhere generates greater return. Nobody will pay $100/month for phone, even though their current $16-25/month (pre-tax) line sucks. They'll tolerate suck lines at $16-$25 while bitching about it all the time.

Meanwhile, many of these long-line fiber networks still expect the great returns promised in their business plan (written during dot-com). They'll keep asking pre-telco collapse prices until their assets are locked up in bankruptcy.

Look at how many people bitch about taxes, but keep voting Democrat... don't expect a change any time soon in wireline service.

*scoove*

Re:No way (2)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855644)

The reason the fiber is going unused is that there is nothing on either end of the fiber.

It's a like a big garden hose that's not attached to a faucet on one end or a sprinkler on the other.

It's just laying there waiting for someone to spend the billions of $$$ it will take to attach something to it.

what? (0, Flamebait)

tps12 (105590) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855364)

"A case in point?" What does that mean? Why is this even news? A bunch of companies did some stuff and went out of business, but the stuff they did is still around...film at 11? And "case in point?" Huh? What is the "point?"

Racist Europe (-1)

Original AIDS Monkey (315494) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855366)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Islamophobia and anti-Semitism fueled by the Sept. 11 attacks and the Middle East conflict are in danger of becoming acceptable in Europe, the European Union's racism watchdog warned Tuesday.

Presenting its report on racism in the EU, the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) called on leaders of the 15-nation bloc to deal with the underlying social and economic factors it said were fueling racial prejudice.

"Now it seems legitimate to have anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic views on some issues because people have mixed up the whole issue," said Bob Purkiss, chairman of the EUMC.

"The danger is ... how it has now embedded itself."

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked airliner attacks on U.S. cities, people who "looked Muslim," mainly women wearing headscarves, became the victims of anti-Islamic sentiment, the report said.

The escalation of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and social and economic problems inside the EU resulted in a wave of attacks on Jews and synagogues across the 15-nation bloc, it added.

EU leaders were quick to condemn racist aggression against both religious minorities and call for dialogue, it said. But Beate Winkler, director of the Vienna-based agency, told reporters: "Immediately after Sept. 11 we had a lot of positive initiatives by politicians, but it did not continue."

FEAR FUELS RACISM

The report said racism and xenophobia were expressions of EU citizens' fears about issues such as globalization, unemployment and Islam, which the media and politicians failed to present in a balanced way.

Mainstream politicians in Europe had allowed themselves to be pushed into a negative debate on immigration by far-right populist parties, Purkiss said.

"People are playing politics with the immigration issue rather than dealing with the real questions that need to be addressed," he said.

Purkiss said the EU needed to deal with the broader context of immigration, which he said it needed to spur economic growth because of labor shortages as its population ages.

"We need that wealth to pay for pensions," he said.

The report also focused on problems faced by immigrants in the labor markets, saying they were often paid less and given less attractive jobs than EU citizens with the same skills.

Migrants faced problems ranging from direct racism such as verbal abuse in the workplace to indirect discrimination in the form of unrealistic language requirements.

On average, the unemployment rate for immigrants is twice as high as national rates in EU member states, ranging from 22 percent in France to 5.3 percent in Portugal, and many migrants worked in the informal labor market, the study said.

Suggestions for recovery? (5, Funny)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855372)

We should either:

1. Take donations from the open-fiber community to purchase these lines and turn them into open source peeer-to-peer Bluegrass mp3 and ogg file trading networks

2. Turn Oregon into a large Beowolf cluster and assign it the task of figuring out how to decentralized the Internet the Al Gore Invented

3. Dig all the lines up and make the worlds largest light-brite

4. Ask Microsoft to buy into a Ma Bell and bury enough copper lines to nullify the use of the fibers

pm

mmm (3, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855373)

Untapped fiber resources? What a find! Colon blow for everyone!

Re:mmm (2, Funny)

vizualizr (462581) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855461)

Think you're getting enough fiber with your current telco? It'll take 750 miles of your current dark fiber to equalone mile of new Oregon Colon Blow Fiber!

(cut to shot of guy sitting on top of 750 miles of fiber)

nice.

Re:mmm (0, Offtopic)

DirtyJ (576100) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855501)

Thanks, man. That's the hardest laugh I've had reading /. since "Young Korean needs food... badly."

REAL Dereg -- or re-reg (2, Insightful)

siskbc (598067) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855377)

It's time we either tell those colluding bastards to either foster some real competition or the communications industry gets re-regulated. Trust me, I'm no regulation fan, but I'm sick of seeing all the old companies stay off of each other's turf in everything except cell phones.

When you get down to it, the American people paid for those lines in terms of all of the stock lost in the now belly-up telecom stocks, so we should get something back. Huge bandwidth seems fair.

Only problem now is getting some company (or even the government) to make some use of this infrastructure before it's obsolete.

Maybe if the government points out that it's anticompetitive to hoard fiber with no intent to use it that they'll sell it to us at more reasonable prices.

Then again, I can keep dreaming. Thanks Michael Powell.

Re:REAL Dereg -- or re-reg (0, Flamebait)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855474)

OK, you obviously didn't read the article... Most of the fiber is owned by companies that simply don't exist any more.

Huge bandwidth seems fair.

Wow. You know what's not fair?... I haven't had power in a week due to an ice storm. Life ain't fair, fucko. Deal with it.

You wanna make a mint? Go borrow a few hundred million dollars to buy fiber and start your own company. Until then, shut the hell up about "anticompetitive" practices.

I'm so incredibly sick and tired about people whining about "this company ought to do that becaise I think it's a good idea" or "this company is evil because of this". Jesus Christ. That's why this country is so great. If you see a place where a company is making a stupid decision and isn't earning money from it, then you have every right to jump in and tackle it yourself. In other words, put up or shut up.

Re:REAL Dereg -- or re-reg (2)

siskbc (598067) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855689)

OK, you obviously didn't read the article... Most of the fiber is owned by companies that simply don't exist any more.

No, you're the dipshit that didn't read. 95% was LAID by companies that went under. But you may have heard of something called bankruptcy proceedings, and I assure you, SOMEONE owns the damned fiber. I would be surprised if the new owners weren't in telecom, as it would make no sense otherwise.

You wanna make a mint? Go borrow a few hundred million dollars to buy fiber and start your own company. Until then, shut the hell up about "anticompetitive" practices.

Until I see that law degree of yours where you specialized in anti-trust, I'll just assume you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Study the dereg of the telcos in this country - it DIDN'T WORK. And the FCC does stipulate that the telcos have a public responsibility - hence are held to a higher standard than typical companies. Hell, what you say doesn't even make sense - anticompetitive practices are THE REASON someone can't use available fiber and start a low-cost high-bandwidth carrier - the telcos would undercut you until you go under, then raise their prices again. Happens all the time in a lot of industries.

I'm so incredibly sick and tired about people whining about "this company ought to do that becaise I think it's a good idea" or "this company is evil because of this".

Then bitch to the people who said that - I didn't. But if there's a whole hell of a lot of unused fiber, and let's assume that some of it is usable, then it's damned wasteful to NOT use it. And if there is something useful NOT being used, then there aren't too many legitimate reasons for that.

Re:REAL Dereg -- or re-reg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855498)

When you get down to it, the American people paid for those lines in terms of all of the stock lost in the now belly-up telecom stocks, so we should get something back.
The people who put the money in (not the American people: I'm sure there were overseas or corporate investors, and that not all American people bought stock) did get something back: the stock. If this fibre has any value, said value is still reflected in the stock value, so the people who put the money in still have all the value they paid for. It's not anyone's fault but theirs if they paid too much for this fibre. They should have listened to all the people who said the dotcom bubble was a bubble (I remember people shouting this in, what, 1999?)
Maybe if the government points out that it's anticompetitive to hoard fiber with no intent to use it
If the government do this, they've gone mad. It's not anticompetitive to do this! Any competitor could easily lay their own cable.

Where did you get these rather peculiar economic ideas?

12th post (-1, Offtopic)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855379)

12th post!!

Who owns the fiber (3, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855380)

roughly half of the companies who laid the fiber are now gone

So how does the ownership of these lines pass on? Can just anybody take the existing lines, plug in, and make use of them - or do they have to be bought?
If there were one large company that could buy out and connect most these unused lines, they could probably make something out of them. Since they're just sitting unused, I'd imagine it wouldn't cost too much to buy ownership

Re:Who owns the fiber (3, Informative)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855665)

Well, in all honestly, the assets of the now non-existant companies were probably sold off, and that fiber would be part of the assets. Now, whether the company that bought the fiber can do anything with it is a whole other story.

Kierthos

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855381)

Funny makes jokes!

Frost Pot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855382)

Image a beowulf cluster serving Natalie Portman pr0n in SOVIET RUSSIA where 95% of dark fiber under uses you to make profit off of goatse.cx.

Fiber squatting (0, Flamebait)

valisk (622262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855385)

Does anybody have any maps of the layouts? as I am sure some intrepid /.ers could produce a very nice (if technically illegal) fiber network to play with.

Re:Fiber squatting (2)

zaren (204877) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855553)

Just what I was thinking... if the companies that laid this fiber have gone out of business, it might be like abandonware fiber... If no official entity jumps up and says "Hey, that's my fiber!" someone would just have to find it and utilize it :)

10's of Billions??? (1)

Guiness17 (606444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855387)

Can someone explain why they would need 'Tens of Billions' dollars to equip amplifiers and such?

Was this a 'trillions, uh I mean billions, I think' mix-up A LA Dubya Bush?

Re:10's of Billions??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855560)

it is very expensive to equip even a single dark fiber for traffic. back in the days when i worked in the long haul division at nortel, the list price before discounts for a single optical amplifier was hovering in the 100k range. amplifiers were needed every 100km or so depending on fiber characteristics, and after 5 spans or so, terminal sites were needed to demultiplex the dwdm traffic and drop or regen as necessary. for example, a fully loaded 10gb line would required 5 *separate*, and relatively expensive cards to take care of the optical->electrical converstions (4 2.5gb tribs into 1 10gb combiner)..., plus the optical amplifiers, dispersion compensation modules, etc.... at each site along the link. Now keep in mind that a single fiber conduit has dozens of dark fibers - to outfit each and every fiber with say 40-160gbps would require a *huge* number of bays filled with all that equipment. to light up all that fiber could easily run into the tens of billions.

hope this makes sense, i'm typing with one hand.

(and the other hand's holding a sandwich, ya dirty b**rd)

Re:10's of Billions??? (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855661)

What's the cost of, say, 1000 feet of Cat5 Ethernet cable? Now, what's the cost of the switches, routers, and other such equipment to make use of it?

Now, multiply that by lots, and you have the problem with fibre. Little glass tubes? Cheap. Nifty laser equipment and what not to do neat things? Expensive.

Dark fiber (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855388)

Ya know...I laid a long line of dark fiber last time I was in the bathroom...and I didn't have to waste millions of investor dollars to do it.

Of course, I did have to pay for the beans and metamucil...but I think it was worth it.

I have an idea... (2, Funny)

wilburdg (178573) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855390)

<irony>Maybe we can remove all that useless fiber, and use the conduits as oil pipelines, to move oil around the country...</irony>

(many of the pipes were originally burried with the intention of creating an oil backbone for the country, an idea, which never took off.)

Old News (5, Insightful)

geekee (591277) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855392)

This is old news. Companies laid a lot of fiber at once knowing it wouldn't be used immediately. Given the cost to lay the fiber relative to the cost of the fiber itself, this is not unreasonable. The fiber is not lit currently because the tranceivers are very expensive.

Open the opportunity (4, Insightful)

karmawarrior (311177) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855394)

It seems ironic that at the very time there is clearly an abundance of bandwidth, the very companies that could be supplying this are instead locking down their resources - putting caps on cable modem and DSL usage, charging by the byte, putting up rates to lock businesses out of higher quality high-QoS high bandwidth services, closing the door on Internet telephony, and generally doing what they can to ration bandwidth as if there is a serious shortfall.

Much of the problem has to do with the short term needs of bandwidth providers. Many are bankrupt, those that are not still require substantial investment in better "end-point" equipment - routers, switches, hubs, etc. A chaotic telecommunications industry that is at odds with Internet systems (ATM and X.25 vs TCP/IP) is also creating uncooperate rivalries that makes it harder and harder to make efficient use of what's available.

The end result is that we are allowed to use 5% of what could be available without substantial further investment. Caps and per-byte billing is popular in a way it really ought not to be. These entirely unnecessary caps and metering charges immediately destroy many potential benefits the Internet can bring, from being a remarkable force for the distribution of new works of art (music, films, etc), to a point-to-point person-to-person network that far exceeds anything the telephone could have brought us.

Defeating this quagmire of untapped bandwidth and short term commercial interests destroying the long term viability of super high bandwidth digital communications it will not happen by itself. Resources need to be devoted, and unless people are prepared to actually act, not just talk about it on Slashdot, nothing will ever get done. Apathy is not an option.

You can help by getting off your rear and writing to your congressman [house.gov] or senator [senate.gov] . Tell them that you're concerned about the clampdown on bandwidth use that's happening at a time when there is clearly a bandwidth glut. Tell them you appreciate the efforts of telecommunication companies to open up bandwidth in this area, but that in the absense of unlocked resources and free (as in speech) use of what's available, you will have to find less secure and intelligently designed alternatives to the Internet. Let them know that SMP may make or break whether you can efficiently deploy OpenBSD on your workstations and servers. Explain the concerns you have about freedom, openness, and choice, and how arbitrary caps and per-byte charges destroys all three. Let them know that this is an issue that effects YOU directly, that YOU vote, and that your vote will be influenced, indeed dependent, on his or her policy on opening up bandwidth.

You CAN make a difference. Don't treat voting as a right, treat it as a duty. Keep informed, keep your political representatives informed on how you feel. And, most importantly of all, vote.

Re:Open the opportunity (0, Offtopic)

DaBunny (56964) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855551)

Parent was moderated as a Troll? And twice as Overrated?? If you disagree then POST, don't moderate out opposing opinions.

Telcos, monopolies, and me (2)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855395)

Big Telcos bug me. They charge like hell and yet they are always crying about losing money (Last time I checked atleast, could be different now). On top of that, they are a monopoly, how can they lose money? Ick. Greed. And for me, well, I can't offord to start my own local independant telco, so thats the end of the story.

Re:Telcos, monopolies, and me (5, Informative)

presearch (214913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855588)

I worked at Bell Labs for a few years. After that experience, it doesn't puzzle me how telcos can have a monopoly, more
captive customers than they can handle, and still "loose money". It's not lost, it's looted. In front of the building (in Holmdel NJ),
a limo would sit for a half hour or more waiting for the Pres. of the Labs to arrive by helicopter. The copter would land, the limo
would drive him 3000 feet to the door, then take off. Amazing.

The primary concern for management was getting the latest org chart to see their progress up the pyramid. I was a bottom feeder/
consultant and I think there was at least 25 levels of management between me and limo boy. No wonder Lucent is in the shape it's
in. An army of talent, led by a crush of PHB's all trying to move up the food chain.

It was a constant cycle of projects started, brought almost to the point of completion and then boom. A new manager, a departmental
re-org, and all of the work tossed in the dumpster, deleted of of the machines because they were allocated to another department, or
just left to rot. Everyone had stories about how cool this or that project was and then got cancelled. Very few stories of successful,
shipping products. Look at what happened to Unix! They couldn't even figure out what to do with it. Tossed around until it was finally
sold off so they could make the numbers for the quarter.

One bright spot, they did have pretty good coffee.

Gotta have your fiber! (3, Funny)

shoppa (464619) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855397)

I work for a largish non-IT-oriented organization that recently had a committee to allocate fiber bandwidth between various parts of the organization. Each part send a representative to stake out the fiber they needed - or, more appropriately, felt they ought to have. The fire department said they need at least 4 dedicated pairs at all of our hundred locations; police needed at least 6 pairs, etc. Grand total was that if you followed their numbers, we would need over 200 pairs for the whole organization (with only 10000 employees) when in all likelihood the needs could be served with 1 pair.

Dark Fiber (1, Offtopic)

CrazyJoel (146417) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855399)

Maybe 95% of the universe is made up of this Dark Fiber.

It could explain why waistlines are still expanding even though more people are dieting and exercising.

Obviously... (-1, Offtopic)

aengblom (123492) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855407)

Well, obviously we just need more people.

You go Taco! You have some sweet ass timing. Make like a rabbit!

Sorry Kathleen!

<bad joke>
(You just have a sweet ass I guess.. ba-dumb-dumb!)
</bad joke>

What Snoop Sez (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855409)


Posted by timothy on Tuesday December 10, @12:25PM
from da what-da-market-won't-bear dept n' shit.
Anonymous Coward writes "LBC has posted a story regarding da overabundance of fiber lines that wuz laid during da 90s gold rush along Oregons Interstate 5 corridor n' shit. While over 140,000 miles of fiber has been laid 95 percent of da fiber goes unused 'n roughly half of da companies who laid da fiber are now gone, know what I'm sayin'? The article goes on further be like that even wit izzall that fiber, there is little availability da consumer because either da local connections aren't there or, because of monopolization by phone companies, too expensive n' shit. Even fo' businesses." "

( Read More." .. | 8 of 11 comments

Dark fiber isn't hurting anyone (1, Troll)

b.foster (543648) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855410)

At the risk of stating the obvious, dark fiber that was laid to strengthen the internet backbone and inter-LATA communication circuits has no commercial application whatsoever in this day and age. Why? Let's step back and look at the facts:
  • Dark fiber doesn't serve homes or businesses. I have looked at maps of where the dark fiber along I-5 was buried, and I can assure you that it was buried where the right-of-way was cheap - NOT close to any people or commercial entities that could benefit from fiber. Obviously, the last mile problem has not been solved by burying fiber that was just intended to improve connectivity amongst COs anyway.
  • The backbone is fast enough as it is. Although the looming collapse of Worldcom's UUnet is frightening, their IP operations will undoubtedly be sold to competitors, who will keep the network running. The bottleneck is not on the internet; it is between the POP and the average consumer, who is generally too stingy to get a faster connection than dialup.
  • Wireless solutions are taking over the last mile. Between the four wireless carriers who now offer unlimited IP communications on their networks, and the numerous companies striving to blanket the nation's metropolitan areas with pay-per-month unlimited 802.11b hotspots, fiber is quickly becoming yesterday's news. Although for long distance dedicated lines it cannot be beat, fiber has little or no impact on the average geek or consumer today.

Re:Dark fiber isn't hurting anyone (3, Interesting)

JordoCrouse (178999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855537)

The bottleneck is not on the internet; it is between the POP and the average consumer, who is generally too stingy to get a faster connection than dialup.

I really don't see stinginess as the reason there. Virtually everybody I know that still uses dialup does so not because of money, but because the service still isn't available to them. At least in my city, there is still way too much copper in them thar lines...

Wireless solutions are taking over the last mile.

Yeah, but wireless is still insecure, and relatively slow. All the providers know that fiber into the home still remains the holy grail of the industry, so to speak. Its not about reading /. via a PC so much any more, as it is about sexy stuff like streaming video, and VoIP, and its about half a dozen devices in your home with a full connection to the outside world. I don't think its to far fetched to think that your average home in the future will require (and use) 10 or 20 times the bandwidth they use today.

Its like my grandfather used to say, good fiber is never wasted.... :)

Mods on crack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855603)

Who the hell keeps modding this comment Troll? 5 times?!

When Cyberdyne and Skynet get ahold of this ... (2)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855412)

we better all watch out.

Smells Like Space Junk on earth. (2, Insightful)

_Sambo (153114) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855416)

This project made a lot of sense back in the days of exploding .com revenues.

The goal was to connect Silicon Valley to Redmond Washington, and to allow better access to Asia via their undersea fiber.

But this quote tells me that it will not soon be used:
If they need the remaining 95 percent of the fiber in the future, companies will have to spend tens of billions of dollars more to make it usable by placing lasers and amplifiers on the route.

The returns on an investment like this would have to be pretty damn high to make anyone pursue it. And right now, the returns are almost all negative.

They had.... (5, Funny)

craenor (623901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855422)

They had so much fiber, their whole company went down the toilet.

Dark Fiber in the front yard. (5, Interesting)

Tin Weasil (246885) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855440)

Shortly after I moved into my house, almost five years ago, Bellsouth paid me $400 so that they could lay fiber along the roadside in my front yard.

I live in HIGHLY rural area, consisting mostly of lakehouses used as weekend getaway accomodations.

At the time, I thought that the installation of fiber in my front yard might eventually lead to allowing me to get a really high-speed broadband connection. To this day, however, if I were to call Bellsouth, the best they could offer is an ISDN connection, as DSL is unavailable.

But, I guess that it leaves Bellsouth's options open for the future.

Re:Dark Fiber in the front yard. (5, Funny)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855581)

Shortly after I moved into my house, almost five years ago, Bellsouth paid me $400 so that they could lay fiber along the roadside in my front yard.

You should have asked for a drop to be installed that you could hook into, and waive the $400. Pay them routing fees, and be straight on their tier. You just need to negotiate better ^_^

Re:Dark Fiber in the front yard. (2, Insightful)

eht (8912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855584)

Of course DSL is unavailable, it's a copper only connection between you and the colo

Re:Dark Fiber in the front yard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855669)

Was the fiber running to another Bellsouth CO? That would explain why they wouldn't give it to you...

Oregon cable unique (5, Informative)

bpprice (612705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855441)

Actually, the local paper ran a detailed article about this (I live in Portland). This is not a phenomenon that is repeated in other cities; rather, due to Oregon's I-5 corridor being the conduit between San Francisco and Seattle (Redmond) it was assumed by dot-coms that there would be tons of traffic to handle and profit from. Obviously it didn't pan out. And since those companies didn't provide the amps to light the cable, it will cost billions to fire it all up - and that ain't happening any time soon. But it does explain in part why OR/WA have been hit harder by the recession, with plain old unrealistic optimism.

The Washington Post had an excellent article... (5, Informative)

Tsar (536185) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855451)

..."Fiber-Optic Overdose Racks Up Casualties [washingtonpost.com] " back in May of this year. One quote:

Telecom wouldn't be the first to go through such a boom-and-bust cycle. During the railroad boom of the late 1880s, so much money was invested building so many parallel tracks -- or tracks to places that would never support profitable service -- that the entire industry went bankrupt. Much the same story is told of the airline industry, which because of so many losing years has yet to turn a net profit.

Interesting stuff--go read!

Re:The Washington Post had an excellent article... (1)

mrkurt (613936) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855595)

One wonders if this experience isn't an argument for reregulation of telecom to some extent. The rail boom and bust led to the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission (now defunct), and the FCC resulted from the conflicts between radio stations over frequencies and service. If the FCC were more empowered to oversee the operation of fiber networks, it might provide the opportunity to promote more use. But it seems to me that wireless might end up serving the last mile.

What's hindering broadband in the US? (5, Insightful)

tamnir (230394) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855454)

Japan has been laying dark fiber for over 10 years now. Many were laughing at them during that time, but today, we have a 100 Mbps fiber internet connection coming right into our kitchen! For something around 100$ a month. Ok, not super cheap yet, but affordable, specially if you share it.

Five years ago, the top for end users was still 56 kbps modems, that was just the begining of ISDN. Pretty impressive evolution.

Now question: if dark fiber is there, why is it that you still can't get decent DSL internet connection in the US? What's hindering the development of broadband there?

Re:What's hindering broadband in the US? (1)

tamnir (230394) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855519)

May should have phrased that more clearly, something like:

"If the technology is available and sometimes already deployed, what's hindering the development of broadband internet connections in the US?"

Re:What's hindering broadband in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855642)

I was under the impression that .jp doesn't even have flat rates on local phone calls. 100 Mb/s for $100/month? Since when??

Dark Fiber gaffe or proper planning? (5, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855459)

If you were burying water mains and other city services into a new house subdivision nobody would be surprised about the city buring enough capacity for a 100 houses, even though only one has been built just yet.

Most of "dark fiber" articles out there fail to see the same rationale behind the large amount of dark fiber out there. This is proper planning. Network traffic has been doubling every two years or so, this means that 90-95% dark fiber would last you about 6-8 years.

This is perfectly sensible. In fact, if we had to rebury fiber within 6 years of paying billions to rip open downtown Manhattan I would fire my provisioning manager.

Re:Dark Fiber gaffe or proper planning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855532)

Arithmetic according to C: float x = 3.14159; int y = 1/2 * x; Value of y? zero

Why would you assign a float value to an integer valiable? Why not just type it a float? I don't understand the logic behind the content of your sig...Is that really how you code?

Re:Dark Fiber gaffe or proper planning? (3, Informative)

m_evanchik (398143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855630)

As the article itself states, optical fiber can be laid out with excess capacity rather cheaply,"usually with two or more companies each stringing dozens of strands of fiber within the same piece of conduit...."

The big cost in laying fiber is not in the optical fiber itself, but in digging the ditch to put it in and in lighting up the fiber at its end. $570 million was spent laying the fiber, $265 million was spent lighting up just 5% of that.

Businesses went broke because they were overly optimistic in all that fiber being lit up quickly, not because they sunk too much money installing the fiber in the first place.

In a few years or decades, as broadband becomes more ubiquitous, that backbone netwrok of fiber will get lit up.

It's fair enough to blame the local providers, paricularly the incumbent phone-service providers, for being slow in rolling out broadband. But it also should be noted that these companies still need to make money and have been slow in rolling out broadband because it is a service that requires an expensive initial investment to provision and the technology has only recently started to approach the maturity to be provided inexpensively to the end user.

Re:Dark Fiber gaffe or proper planning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855657)

unfortunately, fiber 'ages', at least in relation to current technology. for example, some fiber types are barely able to support traffic in the current 10-40gbps range. in the future, when there is a need for all this dark fiber, it may not be able to support the technology of the times - 160+gbps etc - in which case the argument arises of whether it is more economical to

a) light up more physical fibers with old technology still supported by the fiber

or

b) lay new fiber capable of supporting the higher transfer rates of the day

ie., is it cheaper to buy the equipment to light up 16 10gbps lines, or to lay more modern fiber and light up a single 160gbps line?

food for thought.

Are you sure? (2)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855691)

" Network traffic has been doubling every two years or so, this means that 90-95% dark fiber would last you about 6-8 years."

I thought that was one of the lies that Worldcom used when cooking its books. After all, if this was really true, why did they run out of money?

And even if you somehow believe this mathematical improbability (you'll find that real systems don't display exponential growth often, and when they do there is an asymptote), why would a company making so much money from the traffic not lay enough to last for 40-50 years of future growth? It costs a whole heck of a lot more to dig the trenches (permits, equipment, men) than it costs to buy a bunch of fibre to be buried, as you point out!

So while it is proper planning to bury more fibre than you need today, but the rest of your post is complete hogwash and lies.

does the name enron ring any bells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855478)

this kiddies is exactly why Enronwent belly up....they started a bandwith commodities exchange without realizing that unlike electrical power, the country was awash in bandwith and none of the providers were running short. Thus it made about as much sense as starting an oxygen exhange.
The reason the is so much dark fiber is very simple, its expensive to lay, what with having to dig up the streets and all, and the fiber is cheap, so the companies thinking goemeterically and long term all decided to lay between 10X 100X their current needs on the theory that they then wouldn;t have to incur the expense of laying more for a good 20-30 years.....

business idea (2)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855483)

If only the owners of the unused fibers would sell them. What a great business idea that would be.

I could buy some unused fiber, and my business would run drops to peoples homes. Can you say "OC12 in the living room"?

I wish...

Fiber along Oregon Highways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855491)

About a year ago, I was driving along HWY 26, which runs approx. perp. to I-5 heading for the coast. I saw some fatty wires coming out of the ground, So I pulled to inspect. What did I find? Fiber! If my memory serves me correct, it was 4 or 5 lines a little less then the size of a fist. That seems like a lot of fiber to be going to the Oregon Coastline. I think it's a government conspiracy.

I don't really have a point, but I just thought I'd share. :D

History Repeats.... (5, Interesting)

Mahrin Skel (543633) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855492)

Did we really need 3 trans-continental railways? Nope, not when they were built, and as a result the companies that built them went broke. There simply wasn't enough freight transportation capacity needed at the time.

Fast-forward 30 years, and they were all running at capacity. The fiber is there, it's not going to go away. 5, 10, maybe 15 years down the road, someone who picks it up cheap now will make a fortune off of it.

--Dave

5, 10, 15 years down the road (2)

dpilot (134227) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855627)

Most likely that dark fiber will be therE, but will it be ready to be lit? What are the failmodes of fiber? Even if the fiber is glass, what about the cladding?

Is this stuff going to rot, get moldy, or in some other way become non-functional over the long run? In every place where dark fiber is buried, is there light fiber as well? If a buried bundle is completely dark, how do we know it hasn't been interrupted by Joe Weekend Backhoe, who knows he hit *something*, but also knows that no neighbors have complained?

Maybe the dark fiber can be lit in another century. I'd like to know lifetime factors before putting any money down on it.

Don't You Just Love It (0, Troll)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855493)

`there is little availability to the consumer because either the local connections aren't there or, because of monopolization by phone companies, too expensive. Even for businesses.''
One nation, under the corporations, with liberty and justice for all who can afford... Now who said that before me?

This headline makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855505)

The phrase is "case and point" not "case in point." It means that when arguing a case, a single point stands for the entire case.

@ least it wuz spelld correctlee.

No, you make no sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855591)

The proper phrase is "case in point". If you don't believe me try doing a google search on those two phrases and see what you come up with.

Similar to fiber under the ocean (2, Interesting)

nich37ways (553075) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855512)

Of all the fiber going from Australia to our nieghbours only about 5% is lit at the moment. And as many people have said this is because it is not economically viable for the varying companies to light up the cable as it will effectively ruin them. Most of the dark fiber here is not actually owned by the major providers, Telstra & Optus, it is owned by venture capatalists who betted on their being a huge demand for bandwith. Unfortuantely for them they lost out, noone wanted it and they will lose more money by using the cable than they will from having it lay dormant, until it is useful.

--

nich

With all Oz's censorship and digital spying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855617)

...you're surprised that none of your neighbors want to buy bandwidth from you?

Sound Financial Move (4, Informative)

waldoj (8229) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855514)

Laying far too much fiber is a pretty sound financial move. Laying fiber is expensive. The fiber itself is cheap compared to the cost of gaining the rights to bury cable along a continuous stretch of land, and then actually digging the trenches, laying the cable, filling the hole back up and fixing whatever is at ground level. The theory goes that, as long as they're in there, they should lay insane amounts of cable. Whether or not they're laying the cable from the right points A to the right points B I can't say, but the fact that it's dark or insufficiently used doesn't necessarily indicate that anybody screwed up.

-Waldo Jaquith

Former Oregon Resident (5, Informative)

ItWasThem (458689) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855524)

I grew up in Oregon and only moved just recently to the East coast for work. I can tell you, just because fiber runs down the Interstate, it's no wonder it's still hard/rare to get broadband in most of Oregon.

Phone company conspiracy theories aside, Oregon is anything but flat. Houses are not close together (generally). One of the things that makes Oregon nice is the country side, open space (I know, hard to imagine sometimes if you haven't seen it), and the ability to live more than 5 feet from your neighbor. Other than the larger cities like Portland, there's really no housing developments or sub-divisions to run fiber to or at least not enough to entice phone companies to bother with running the lines over/under whatever terrain.

I think that's one of the main reasons the Personal Telco Project in Portland is really taking off and will continue to do well. Cheap or free blanketted wireless (able to cover several miles, not just a few hundred feet like current 802.11) is the only way I see a lot of homes in Oregon ever getting anymore than a dialup connection. It's just not practical to lay fiber down one person's mile long driveway. We didn't even have local dial up internet access where I used to live (45 minutes west of Portland) until '97 and even then it was 14.4!

Sorry (2)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855538)

In the end, none of this matters. The Telcos own us, the fiber lines in question and fiber lines like them are lost to the world. American politics (laws are influenced by money) and corporate cash pits will insure that the telephone and cable industries will remain as they are or get worse.

Dark Fiber (5, Funny)

scrytch (9198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855546)

Choose not the dark side of the fiber, for dark fiber leads to constipation, and constipation leads to *ZWONNNG* *GLITCH* (sound of a muppet getting its head lightsabered off)

Isn't... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855575)

...'dark fiber' that stuff that comes out of your butt after eating bran muffins?

Well of course it is dark... (5, Interesting)

sterno (16320) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855580)

Even applying conservative estimates to costs of construction, the companies spent more than $570 million laying long-distance fiber cables across Oregon, and they shelled out at least $265 million more equipping the 5% of fiber that is used

It costs almost 10 times as much to light a fiber as it does to lay it according to these numbers. Most of the cost in laying fiber isn't the fiber itself, but the labor and the property rights involved in doing it. So, you may as well lay 95% more fiber than you really need because you might need it some day and it doesn't cost you that much more. You'd be insane to try to terminate all of those fibers though since they cost so damn much.

Furthermore, bandwidth is a matter of supply and demand, and as long as demand isn't increasing, increasing supply will force down prices and make your business less profitable. Let's say everybody started needing DS-3 speeds into their home. Somebody would come in and offer that speed for a hefty premium, but as demand for that service built up, people would come into lower the prices to get into that market. Eventually you end up paying the same amount for your DS-3 as you did for your DSL and you've got a few more of those fibers on the coast glowing.

The problem is that there's nothing driving bandwidth demand substantially above what it is right now. Most people will tolerate modem speeds, and those that won't are mostly pretty happy with DSL or cable. A few of us want more bandwidth, and because we aren't the majority of users we will have to pay handsomly for it. As long as the majority of users are content with the bandwidth they have there is no incentive to expand their networks.

Re:Well of course it is dark... (2)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855687)

Most people will tolerate modem speeds, and those that won't are mostly pretty happy with DSL or cable.

Those that are tolerating modem speeds are usually doing so because it costs them 1/4 of what it would for the cable/DSL; OR they can't convince the local telco or cable company to provide the service in their area [or add the box that gives them IDSL]. Costs, or laziness? I think both but that's a different thread. There's a lot of unused cable - not just fiber - out there. A considerable amount of it is dead telephone lines thanks to dissatisfied customers and new wireless/cellular users.

Dark Fiber...? (2)

zorgon (66258) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855598)

Dang, and I thought this would be about Darth Vader's Metamucil substitute. Oh well.

I know from personal experience and from conversations with telco executives that there are many dark fibers in transatlantic cables. They are there for backup, and for gouging -- I mean "future upgrades." And despite the massive amounts they charge for data, these companies are all in trouble. Serves 'em right. $10K per month for T1, and they didn't back off of this for years. Die. See if I care.

Ummm... (2, Interesting)

Saint Mitchell (144618) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855599)

Since the companies that put it there are no longer around, who owns them? I mean, what would stop someone from tapping into it. Or did ma gobble them up for $.000015 a mile only to not use it. Where's my any-media-ever-produced-any-time-I-want-it-for-nex t-to-nothing? Huh, where is it. I was promised in the early 90s by many many commercials that by now we'd have this. I don't see it. Someone has some explaining to do. What was it they said...and the company that'll bring it to you, ATT. I wonder if I google search for and image of thier CEO with his pants of fire I'll find it.

Not just Oregon. (3, Interesting)

Night0wl (251522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855615)

I live in Washington state, in a small rural town called Omak. Years ago there was a huge hype on bringing Fiber into Okanogan county.
Thousands where spent to lay this fiber, Miles upon miles of fiber. It's been in place for some time now, and is being used by the one local ISP who pushed for the fiber.
Though as in the subject of this article, a majority of the fiber is dark. We have OC-192 capacity, of which at least 2 Megabits is being used. Perhaps more, but not much.

Now, the people who pushed so hard for this fiber are fighting it, trying to lay fault for the expense and misuse of at the feet of various parties involved. All of this blaming in the midst of a community lagging behind in the digital age.

Qwest (1)

kyoko21 (198413) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855626)

A while ago I read an article about how Qwest partnered with a particular railroad company. The name of the company slipped my mind. The article talked about how the railroad company allowed Qwest to laid the fibers next along with the railroad tracks and that they also helped them in doing this. As an result of this joint effort, Qwest would share the profits that they obtained from the usage of these fiber lines. The results and if any profits from this venture I am not sure about. Though it is quite interesting to know such partnerships do exist.

Verizon and Genuity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855634)

The speculation in the press as to why Verizon decided not to exercise their stock options (convertable shares) was that they could pick up stuff cheaper after Genuity went bankrupt. In this case it looks like Level 3 is picking part of Genuity. I'd still have to see where some of that backbone goes. But it would seem that their strategy is to pick up a lot of network capacity on the cheap and *then* enable the demand for it.
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