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Building a Town-Wide LAN?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the just-think-of-the-lan-parties-you-could-have dept.

Technology 304

The Mainframe asks: "My town (Hanover, NH, home of Dartmouth College, the Dartmouth Medical School, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, non-college population approx. 9K people, double that with the college) is conducting a feasibility study on building a town network. They'd like to deliver fiber to every home within town limits. This fiber will carry (certainly) the internet and (probably) cable-like television programming access. They're estimating that it will cost $40 per month per household. I just filled out and returned my survey (one sent to every Hanover household) in which they asked a number of questions like: 'What would your primary use of this service be?' and 'Would you be willing to pay $40 a month for this service?'. What reasons, other than the obvious benefit of having fiber to one's house, can you think of for making this kind of commitment to the infrastructure?

"I would imagine that there will be an enormous secondary benefit because we will become an attractive town to technically inclined people and businesses. At the same time, Is this a good idea? I, personally, think it would be wonderful, but (as an IT major) the technical challenges of laying fiber and maintaining a network to serve 9000+ citizens are mind boggling. Policy decisions, network abuse, outages, spam, filtering (god forbid), all nightmares that will require a dedicated, 24/7 network maintenance team. Any network engineers out there have any juicy morsels from their work on large networks?

I know the town manager, so I'd like to feed this discussion to her, after moderation has taken its toll (probably at a level of +3), so she can see what the technical community thinks."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732037)


Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732063)


uhhh.... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732095)

...he really didn't when you think it through.

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732101)

please elaborate

Besides high-speed pr0n? (-1, Troll)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732041)

What else is there?

Re:Besides high-speed pr0n? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732054)

What else do you need?

Re:Besides high-speed pr0n? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732163)

Well, we've got sex covered, that leaves drugs [] and rock 'n roll [] .

Seems like we're good to go.

FP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732159)

Wow... I can't believe I actually got it.

I have so many people to thank... where do I begin?

Re:Besides high-speed pr0n? (1)

k-0s (237787) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732226)

/. of course

Clear TOS (4, Informative)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732047)

I think you should lay down a clear TOS. With all the trouble recently, you should make everything transparent from the start.

Re:Clear TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732186)

have you considered the fact that it's FUCING COLD in hanover? perhaps moving would be a better idea.

If the TOS are acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732051)

Then hell yeah. $40 a month is nothing.

Re:If the TOS are acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732203)

Depends on the speed.

Check out Kutztown Pa. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732055)

I believe they have a community internet/cable company, providing some sort of broadband, and I think it's fiber. It is also a college town, of the small liberal arts type. I'm sure googling will give you some info on their setup and history.

Over-estimating the combined intelligence of /. (5, Insightful)

jpnews (647965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732060)

I hope no one is making high-level decisions based on the average slashdot thread. It could be the most expensive mistake of your ever shortening career.

I don't know (0)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732061)

Go ask Senegal.

Gimme! (1)

penguinboy (35085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732066)

Oh, I'd love it! You could have multiplayer FPS games with your neighbors at LAN speeds! What kind of connection to the rest of the 'net would there be, though? A 100 MB/s connection to your neighbors isn't much good if there's only a 1 MB/s connection to the rest of the internet. Could a non-edu get connected to Internet2? That would be even better!

Re:Gimme! (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732169)

I'd kill for 1MB/sec to the 'net. Even 1Mb/sec would be twice as fast as my DSL. Geez, kids these days... We used our 14.4s, and we liked it!

Re:Gimme! (1)

Rosonowski (250492) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732219)

14,400 Baud? Damn kids and their high speed connections?

300 Baud. Awww, yeah.

Or the 3.2/.256 Connection I have now. Mmm... broadband

Re:Gimme! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732339)

You've got 3.2 MBit at HOME? And I thought my 2MBit/512kbit were fast

Re:Gimme! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732378)

Talk about welcoming the new neighbor by shanking him.

Why not use wireless? (5, Insightful)

yppiz (574466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732070)

Dartmouth could cover a fairly large area with a few dozen wireless access points, rather than running fiber to every home.

--Pat /

Re:Why not use wireless? (2, Informative)

Sayten241 (592677) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732149)

The problem with wireless is its relative slow speeds, unreliability, and insecurity as compared to a fiber network. To do this there would have to AP's and antennae's outdoors in order to acheive good speeds, and just think of how easy it would be for lightning to wipe one of those out. Besides, we know that this project would be feasable with wireless, I'm interested in seeing if it can be done with fiber.

They already do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732152)

Dartmouth already provides wireless access in virtually all buildings on campus. Unfortunately, 802.11 doesn't have the range to cover the town with what's there.

Re:Why not use wireless? (1)

luckybob83 (530490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732178)

I agree, wireless would provide for the basis of if you want it, then you get it. Instead of installing it to everyone

Re:Why not use wireless? (5, Informative)

theoddball (665938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732376)

We do.

The college has a policy that every square foot of campus should, in theory, be covered by fuzzy blanket of wireless signal. And I mean fuzzy in every sense--feel good, and the fact that sitting here in my dorm room I get no signal.

The trick with this is that to cover all college land, we bleed over into the town a *lot*. And since it's an unsecured network (anybody who knows the SSID can join), a not-completely-insignificant portion of the town that surrounds the school gets free internet access.

As for "a few access points", the number's well over a thousand just for the school, if memory serves right. The town (small as it is) is still way bigger than the school. Wireless APs are *not* cheap, especially ones that will mesh well into a large network.

Something tells me this network is going to end up tied to the college, using BlitzMail (Dartmouth's own proprietary email system, which eats it.) Of course, speaking as a student, that wouldn't be all bad...there are things at every school that can't be accessed outside their LAN, and that'd make it easier to live off campus.

On the upside, maybe that means they'd finally upgrade our non-I2 backbone. Heh.

Closing thought: Strange that the first I hear of a local issue is via Slashdot...

External Connection? (2, Interesting)

ibpooks (127372) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732079)

What kind of out-of-town bandwidth will be provided? Sure, 100 Mbps to the local POP would be cool, but really useless if the whole place has to share a T1. Would out-of-town traffic be limited on a per-connection basis, or will I have to suffer with slow page loads because my 31337 neighbor wants to run a 64 user Wolfenstein server?

One Word QUAKE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732081)

That town is going to be the Quake Capital of the World!!

We had a heck of a time w/garbage (1)

LiftOp (637065) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732082)

My little town (less than 500) just had one heck of a backlash when we went to municipal (read: mandatory, billed with your water) garbage collection. If half of our citizens felt it was their constitutional right to pile garbage on the back lawn, I can only imagine how we'd do with muni internet.

Hell... (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732083)

I pay like $75 a month for digitasl cable and cable internet, $40 for fibre sounds liek a sweet deal.

team up with some local isp? (4, Informative)

snillfisk (111062) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732085)

How about teaming up with some local ISP for the internet-part? The technical divison of the town could take care of running the fiber network while most of the other issues you mentioned could be outsourced to another company which actually know what they're doing.. My former university (~30k students) ran a city (150k citizens) wide network covering most of their installments in the city and they made it work like a charm. I'm suspecting that this was in cooperation with the local telco, but its absolutly doable.

Will the next Karl Marx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732086)

have to claim that instant pr0n is the opiate of the masses?

ROI? (2, Interesting)

secolactico (519805) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732087)

First and foremost: is this going to be a for-profit venture or a "Public Service"?

Is this $40/month a flat rate or a minimun rate without "extras"? Will everyone have the same benefits?

Obviously, bandwith *will* have to be limited. Who will admin this? City Hall?

Expect AOL to SMTP-block your netblocks as well.

How is the fiber going to be terminated in every drop? Ethernet transceivers? ST/SC/whatever...

Fast net and TV are both essentials (4, Informative)

Audent (35893) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732092)

I attended a session run by Ericsson on fibre to the home (FttH) and its benefits/pitfalls... the obvious upside is the ease with which you can upgrade as/when fibre tech improves (constantly it seems) but you need more than just fast net access to really deliver the goods - TV is an ideal companion because it works even for those that don't care about the net. Tivo like functionality is easily done with FttH, without upsetting network operators (delayed TV in effect - all programming stored on a giant server for several days - watch it when you want).

New Zealand-centric story on it here: 07D7C0F 0E6CDCC256CF60013877F

some case study stuff from Ericsson here: ad band_breakthroughs.shtml

Re:Fast net and TV are both essentials (2, Interesting)

RighteousFunby (649763) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732234)

Tivo like functionality is easily done with FttH, without upsetting network operators (delayed TV in effect - all programming stored on a giant server for several days - watch it when you want).

Over here in Britain, we had a similar service called Homechoice. Everything was on a central server, and you could use your remote to choose what you wanted to watch (even music videos), and it would come over ADSL. It was cheap, being about 6GBP a month. Amazingly, it's still running [] and it also provides broadband into the deal! No signup details on site X-(

If the town owns the wire... (2, Interesting)

JuddRogers (252126) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732104)

they can hire and fire the cable company
and the ISP.

Local control!

Converter box at each TV? (1)

ibpooks (127372) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732105)

I hate having to use a converter box at my television sets. Why would the typical user want to deal with this trouble just "to have fiber" when the same channels can be delivered with good ol' (cheap) coax? Plus, homes are already wired for coax, what would someone need to do to watch TV on the fiber set-up?

I can think... (1)

phyrestang (638793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732106)

Of two possible uses for such a network:

1) Instant LAN party, without the party. "Hey guys I heard Front ST. is loading up Quake III, want to join in?"

2) High quality video conferencing with the hot redhead two blocks down. ;)

Re:I can think... (1)

Jennifer Ever (523473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732193)

High quality video conferencing with the hot redhead two blocks down.

No really, think about that. Now for the love of fuck, go outside.

Re:I can think... (1)

phyrestang (638793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732239)

Good idea, I could probably set up the webcam to my laptop and bring it outside with me... ;)

Skillsets (2, Interesting)

d3ut3r0n (664760) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732109)

By "town network", your post seems to imply that it will be entirely run by local citizens... how close is everyone in your community? Are they typically generations of families there? I could imagine this sort of cooperation working if the skills were local and the population relatively static... but what would you do if key people decided to leave town? Also, do you have a better breakdown of what that $40 per month covers? Will all citizens agree to flat rate fees? A flat rate is good for the 20-something year olds who use gigabytes of data a month, but I'm sure the granny's emailing wouldn't put much of a tax on the system. If you think about how flat rate for electricity would work in a similar environment, you might start to look at pricing models differently.

Block outbound port 25 by default (4, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732113)

Block outbound port 25 by default. Turn it back on by request.

99% of your users have neither the intention nor the desire to run their own SMTP server. They'll use your mail server - that is, they'll talk POP or a similar protocol to whatever server you set up for them. That's enough for them - they just want email, and they'd rather not have to provide it for themselves.

The other 1% of your users are smart and clued enough to set up their own mail servers, and probably have legitimate reasons to do so.

Now, back to your 99% who have no intention of talking on port 25, anywhere. Of them, 10% of your users probably will set up an open proxy, or run an open wireless node. Whether they do so with malicious intent (unlikely) or out of ignorance (highly likely!!) doesn't matter.

What matters is the fact that these nodes will be abused by spammers.

So, if you want the 1% of your geeky-and-clued customers to be able to send email to the rest of the world from their own MTA, it's up to you to make sure that the 10% of your clueless customers can't.

Otherwise, expect your users - clued and clueless alike - will be talkin' to the 550 like,,, and, four big chunks of netspace I - and others - don't wanna hear from, because they have a million open proxies spewing spam for every legitimate customer.

I'm not saying block outbound port 25 for everyone. I'm saying block it by default, and lift the block for anyone who calls the support center and says "I can't send mail. Yes I'm running my own mail server, and I need to run my own mail server for $REASON", where $REASON is basically anything other than "The guy who sold me the Millions Of Addresses CD said port 25 blocking was censorship!" :-)

Re:Block outbound port 25 by default (2, Informative)

techathead (201626) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732369)

I would suggest blocking inbound port 25 instead, as we still want people to be able to connect to the isp's smtp server, we just don't want jane doe to be running an open relay.
My $.02

Re:Block outbound port 25 by default (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732395)

It's not quite that simple. You also have to block incoming port 25 in case they are running an actual mail server and have the smarthost set to the ISP's systems. Then you have to get things like SOCKS (1080) and many other ports that are used to reach open proxies.

The reason that merely blocking port 25 inbound is not sufficient is that the spammers can always use the open proxy to relay through the ISP's mail exchangers. As far as the ISP knows, it's coming from the customer, so the mail usually goes through.

I'd actually recommend a policy of blocking all incoming ports by default, and having a "prove your cluefulness" scheme for gaining full connectivity. Most users do not want or even need to accept connections from the outside. The few who do can be shunted into a separate net block with better scrutiny.

Fiber to Everyone (2, Insightful)

tigerdream (664713) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732114)

Remember also that fiber in the street is fine, but you have to look at the connection at the house. Would this require that all new and existing construction remove coax and install fiber? If not you will have to have the hardware at every house to convert the signal. Overall sounds good, but as usual the Devil is in the Details

How about... (1)

tprox (621523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732116)

A link to my apartment in Merrimack [] ? ;)

Just what we need... (2, Interesting)

Mr Thundercleze (665529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732125)

another entire neighborhood linked together. I live in a neighborhood that has 700+ houses connected by fiber optics. Some of the problems I've had is that during peak usage hours, my internet will slow down considerably (maybe because we don't have a very good server. I don't know specs on it). My computer also seems to be hacked a lot more in this neighbor hood than a non-wired hood. I personally prefer not having a centralized network, but thats just my opinion. Also, the support here is not well maintained at all.

Re:Just what we need... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732308)

" hacked a lot more in this neighbor hood than a non-wired hood."

so your saying you get hacked more when your online.. brillant Holmes.

Don't Want It (1, Interesting)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732128)

Call me a Republican, but I don't want any more government monopolies. Broadband is catching on throughout the country and I doubt that it's not available in the cited town.

First of all, you're assuming 9,000 people will be on this network. Knock that number in half. With the fact that not everyone owns a computer and there will be more than one person living in a house, you've got 4,500 people requesting cable. Why is this potential profit being taken from the cable companies and given to the government? What is the reason for it? Is it that the government has to do it since this is a service the people need but one the private sector cannot provide due to the size or the financial feasability of it? No, certainly not. Cable companies are doing well.

So forget about the challenges of this project - think about the need. I don't see that getting people on high-speed for $40 a month (to the government) outweighs the cost of having the government tightly coupled with my flow of data. Carnivore fans? Are you out there? Pipe in.

Re:Don't Want It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732184)

ure retarded

fiber optic would probably be if the cable companies can't compete...too bad for them

Re:Don't Want It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732242)

you typed "ure"; clearly you are the retard.

Re:Don't Want It (0, Offtopic)

Jennifer Ever (523473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732279)

Well, hey, I'm something of a liberal, and I agree.

Re:Don't Want It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732382)

the reason for the local town to take it, is because the Telcos and cablecos for FSCK'ng everybody on broadband access. For a town to do this is A Good Thing.

More power to 'em! Wish I was there!

Did they have broadband anyway? doubt it. Too small.

Email (1)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732132)

What else would use that kind of bandwidth?

Why local government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732135)

Why not a private company? Moreover, if this is feasible, why hasn't a private company already done it? Maybe this is just the insane libertarian in me talking, but I've worked for local government and they're a bunch of blockheads, on the whole.

Municiple cable company (3, Interesting)

kwerle (39371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732136)

The town I live in, San Bruno, has one of the very few remaining municiply run Cable Companies in the state (US?). It's really great. I used to use them for Internet access, which they farmed out to a 3rd party. Unfortunately, the 3rd party ISP got bought out and moved on to focus on greener pastures. When the cable company decided to move to @home, I took off (seeing the writing on the wall at that time).

Anyway, my advice:
If you figure that $20-$30/month goes to TV, that leaves somewhere between $10-20/month to an ISP. The upside is that the city is going to take care of the cable issues (and hopefully do it well...). $15x3000 (1/3 of the folks actually want internet) is $45K/month. That may not enough to run a new ISP, but it might be a nice additional chunk to an existing ISP.

The real trick is to find a GOOD ISP that is willing to pick up the extra customers. There may be a local (or nearby) ISP that is willing to pick up a job like this. My advice is to try to find a local house that will do it, and avoid the nationals if you can.

On the other hand, if someone was willing to set up a municiple ISP as a not-for-profit, they may be able to do well at it.

Good luck.

Fiber Optic it really that fast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732140)

I am from Palo Alto, CA

there is a fiber optic ring there...and they did an experiment with bringing it into residential areas (very limited number), but the internet speeds were only 7mbps BURST downstream and 4.5mbps sustainable upstream....that sounds like some crappy service if it's using "fiber optics"

i know that fiber optic is FAST...but once you have a lot of people on it and it's actually being brought into your home...what kind of speeds can we expect?


'willing to pay' $40 a month (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732141)

To me the big red light is when they say "give it to everybody" and then start talking about how much they plan to charge you.

$40 a month for broadband is a nice deal, obviously, but in the name of making sure "everybody" has equal access, will they be requiring people to pay the $40 monthly fee even if they don't plan to make use of the available service?

Increase property taxes (1)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732173)

If this is something most of the residents are willing to pay for, they would just raise property taxes. Since $40/mo is $480/year... adding an additional $500/year to the average property tax of a house in that area is pretty minor. Estimating the taxes are in the $4000-5000/year range anyway.

Re:Increase property taxes (1)

rk (6314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732243)

A ten percent increase in property tax is minor? In that case, you wouldn't mind paying my next ten percent of tax increases for me, would you?

Ashland (1)

Kallahar (227430) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732146)

My hometown similar pop, university, implemented a city-wide cable internet system.

Ashland Fiber Net []

The city now offers TV, Internet, and hosting at around $40/mo.


not a LAN, rather a MAN (3, Informative)

JDizzy (85499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732148)

I hate to get technical here in slashdot (cuz I know all the trolls are readings), but a city wide network is called a metropolitan area network. Networks that go from one city to another are called a Wide Area Network (aka WAN), and networks within a building are called Local Area Networks (aka LAN). A LAN does not exist when the network leaves the building, and a WAN doesn't exist until you leave the city/town. Get it right people! City wide networks are not that impressive when you consider the phone company already has you connected to the phone system, and a T1 line is nothing more than a standard phone line.

Some acronyms for ya... (4, Funny)

cmburns69 (169686) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732273)

I posted this awhile ago, but it seems to fit here too..

LAN = Local Area Network
WAN = Wide Area Network
MAN = Metropoliton Area Network
WOMAN = Wide Open Metropolitan Area Network

An online Starcraft RPG? Only at []
In Soviet Russia, all your us are belong to base!

Re:not a LAN, rather a MAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732300)

So the wireless link (that doesn't approach the next town) to the building next door that I thought was part of my LAN is really a MAN?


Would this be optional or a "tax"? (2, Interesting)

Alinraz (533041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732151)

You'll have people that have no interest in this. Perhaps they don't use the net much or are perfectly happy with their $20.00/ month AOL dialup (or whatever they charge now). So do people subscribe or do they get charged with the local taxes, water, garbage or whatever? How do you deal with someone that abuses the TOS...if they have to pay for it in their local taxes or other "fees" I don't think you can leagally cut them off.

Also, if you put a locally run cable company on this, usually you'd end up with a few locals + a few cable channels. Forget any choices with special pay channels or DirectTV or so on. "Wait, I pay $40 a month for this thing and I don't even get TiVo service?"

My sugestion would be to setup a local ISP to handle the accounts and service with infrastructure (fiber) provided by the town and leased to the ISP. The infrastructure could be built using standard tax stuff (find room in the budget, try to pass a bond, etc), but since there's a private ISP running the accounts they can sell the access, maintain the network, and deal with TOS issues.

Just my $.02 of course.

- Alinraz

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732162)

first post dont bother to claim otherwise

Other benefits (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732168)

I think another huge benefit would be that the community would own the infrastructure, keeping you from getting gouged by Adelphia or whatever phone/cable provider is in your area.

Not only that, but it creates local jobs, too -- physical maintenance, system administrators, tech support and such.


Internet 2 (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732170)

It is coming and there will never be enough bandwidth into end points. This is an opportunity to bring in a great deal that can grow as time goes one. Besides, it is 40/month that will help improve the re-sale of your house.

Re:Internet 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732281)

>>that will help improve the re-sale of your house

In New Hampshire? If you are thinking fiber will increase the re-sale of your house when the whole town has it, you are dummer than most on /.

Re:Internet 2 (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732402)

Given the choice of buying a house in town a that has high speed access or in a nearby town that has dial-up, which would you prefer assuming that the houses are roughly in the same cost? Now, if that town is real smart they will make the access from the CO to the house be the only part of a monopoly. And the monopoly comany should not be allowed to provide any thing else i.e. minimize the monopoly.

What to use it for? (1)

BubbaTheBarbarian (316027) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732174)

Future content over the net is going to need a bigger pipe. Besides the fact that you watch this new content, having fiber into the homes and buisnesses will ensure that the town will have the bandwidth to serve up this type of content (think HDTV quality here folks). Beyond that, what could this do for students in your school system and the local college. Having the town wired with fiber will ensure that they have access to resources both now and in the future. Wireless LAN will catch up speed wise, and that could be used in schools for a very rich experience.

Then again, the abuse factor could be large. Any 14 year old guy with a penis and a brian will figure out how to serrve up the cheap porn he got off of Kaazaa to his buddys for a small fee. You might get a town full of wanna be pimps and then get shut down by the RIAA for too much file sharing. Seriously, how would your town like to be on the recieving end of the 97 billion dollar stick that they carry....

War Tux!

Blacksburg did something like that way back when.. (2, Interesting)

truenoir (604083) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732177)

Years ago Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech) did something sorta like this (except it was mid 90's, so internet access period, not broadband). Perhaps a little ambitious, and honestly I can't say I can see any real difference from other towns. But it relates. is the still existing homepage has some other info...

no dsl (1)

Wuss912 (464329) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732188)

just rember unless you have copper to the house dsl is not an option..

Close to impossible. (1)

damu (575189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732190)

For $40/month you are dreaming, have you considered the hardware costs on this? Or will those be passed on to the tax payer through properties taxes? I love the idea, but man there is no way a household is ready for fiber to their doorstep. First, like I mentioned the hardware costs. Second, what will be people do with the bandwidth? If you do accomplish this, you might see a sudden spike of every 0day, pr0n server in the nation concetrated in the sleepy town of Hanover, OH.


fiber?!!?!?!?!!! (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732194)

I pay $70 for regular cable and cable modem now and I thought that was "decent" - but FIBER?!??!!

I would seriously consider moving there were I a little older.

802.16 WMAN? (2, Interesting)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732202)

I have been kicking around the idea of an 802.16 WMAN for the city of Philadelphia and surrounding counties, with the idea that it would be a private network address space with the option for local ISP's to provide Internet gateway services to paying customers. On the upside, local folks could set up their own ftp mirrors, p2p services, etc. without having to pay the high bandwidth costs associated with the wired Internet.

This would of course require volunteer management of the address space, DNS, etc. but there could be great benefits to a free high speed WMAN with commercial (and maybe free?) options for Internet connectivity from there.

who-hoo! (0)

benntop (449447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732207)

As a future graduate student at Dartmouth I can only say that this is a fantastic idea. I wonder though how this would be implemented. Is this a plan through the college, or a municipal push?

If you want feasibility information then a good place to ak might be some of the IT administrators for very large universities. I know that the Network & Telecom folks here at KU service 25,000+ students, faculty, and staff across three campuses. They would have valuable advice about terms of service, equipment, and other lessons that only experience can provide.

And if you need any more help I will be more than happy to help when I arrive in Hanover next Fall!

A decent Internet connection would be nice (1)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732209)

Somehow I suspect a LAN shared out this far would severely restrict bandwidth...

But if they could get a really good connection to the Internet like some sort of big leased line, maybe it could be a viable option for those of us who actually have to campaign [] to try and get stubborn telecom companies [] to provide the option of broadband Internet access in a town that would probably pay 3x the asking price if we only had the opportunity!

Other than that, town-wide LAN parties organised by some sort of central body would be a good enough reason ;)

Our town already has done it. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732224)

My town, Glasgow, Ky, has already done this. There is a nice article about it here [] . More info at this link [] . At $26 monthly or $260 annually, its pretty nice. Service is also offered in most of the county. It's really quite nice, especially for a little town out in the middle of nowhere. : )

My Ramble (3, Informative)

krangomatik (535373) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732225)

I'm guessing that you've probably already included this in your planning, but I'll throw it out here anyhow: See if you can negotiate with your local cable television francise holders to use some of their right of way for your fiber. Or when they do an area build out to pay the incremental cost to put a bunch of strands in the ground for you in addition to whatever they are laying. I think that cable companies are required to offer 'Institutional Networks (I-Nets)' to the localities with the franchise rights during negotiations and from what I've gathered they have ended up in some cases of passing a $1/sub/month "Franchise Fee" onto the customer to pay for these I-Nets. I think they are required to offer this under some federal program or another. YMMV on how easy your cable company is to work with. I've been involved with a tad bit of this from the technical perspective so my knowledge on the politics and other issues is a bit lacking. But from what I've seen cable companies have rolled out provider managed as well as franchise holder managed systems around the country. But the negotiations seem to take forever. And the contracts are usually pretty long term (decade+) and the rollouts often stretch over a few years, but in the end if well planned they seem to be a cost effective way of getting bandwidth around a local region. It sounds like what you're doing may be an extesion of this, where you've looked at what you could get from the cable companies seeking franchise rights and realized that for what seems to be a minimal monthly expense you can wire the local residents up too. IIRC Ashland, Oregon has done something along these lines (I'm actually not sure if this was the City of Ashland, or the county Ashland is in, but I'd guess their City Manager could get you pointed in the right direction).
My only advice is just make sure you have clearly defined goals and that all the stakeholders are on the same page before you start. If all goes well the residents will be super happy. And happy constituents usually means votes, which means someone high up will love you if you can pull this off under their watch :P

Interesting uses: (4, Insightful)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732227)

" What reasons, other than the obvious benefit of having fiber to one's house, can you think of for making this kind of commitment to the infrastructure?"

- Telecommuting. I'm assuming there'd be a huge bandwidth benefit here. As long as you're within city limits, you could hit the company server.

- Personal servers. I'm not talking about web servers, though those would be nice, rather I'm talking about leaving a box on all the time with a huge hard drive in it. I'd liike to keep my music and videos etc on it so that I can access it anywhere in town.

- DoS attacks against things like root servers would not bring down the ability for these people to communicate. The attacks would have to be community specific.

- Disaster relief. It's been proven before that the internet can be resilient to disasters such as earthquake. Useful maybe?

I should probably note that I'm not taking into account the town this is in. I'm imagining it existing here in Portland. Personally, I'd like to have my apartment complex all on a shared lan. I'd like to get to know my neighbors better. It'd be fun to have lan games etc.

Add phone service (3, Interesting)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732240)

Get your town to consider adding phone service to the list. Local calls free, and bulk long distance charges.

When you figure out that everything you buy has, oh, 35% - 100% or so (or more) profit tacked on to the cost, you begin to wonder why everyone isn't doing all of it on their own. Everything.

Ask a town that has done it already.... (2, Informative)

TheTiGuR (115921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732241)

Having recently lived there, although in a townhouse with dish and internet already provided, you may want to ask them what challenges they faced. They are a little larger, non-college town, with a '99 pop. estimate of just over 19,000 ( which has definately grown in the last few years. You can see what they have done at [] .

Do it. (2, Informative)

alizard (107678) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732250)

An internet company in the experimental stages is best off locating next to cheap bandwidth. Anyone who wants to do cheap experimentation on new products that suck up bandwidth should do the same.

I expect that the new centers of commercial growth are going to be the new technology centers that citiLEC Internet access distribution will make possible.

Silicon Valley had their chance to do this and blew it.

The fact that this is going to make life more convenient for the town's citizens, force competition for cable TV meaning lower prices based on experiences from other citiLEC communities is... probably of more interest to the community than a shot at becoming a techology center.

It's a win-win deal for everybody except incumbent cable / telco providers.

I suggest a setup where access is resold to ISPs as it was in the citiLEC in the Pacific Northwest, check the slashdot thread for more info.

You might consider a hybrid network (1)

bdhein (456277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732251)

Recently, there has been a large amount of hype for hybrid networks that use a combination of free space optics [] and WiFi. Basically the free space optical heads provide a high speed mesh @ 1.25GB/s or so, and the WiFi provides the breakout links. There is a paper up on IEEE eXplore [] by Jinlong Zhang: "A Proposal of Free Space Optical Network for Broadband Access" that comes to mind as being useful.

Everybody can broadcast? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732256)

It occurs to me that with a city-wide lan, anybody who wanted to make their own movie would have an effective way of delivering it. Not sure how many film students you have there, but the ability to broadcast video would at the very least be entertaining. I'm curious to see what would come of that.

What an awesome idea. (1)

falsified (638041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732264)

This is great that someone in power has realized what I've realized ever since I got a computer in seventh grade. The Internet is a utility, like electricity or water. It isn't some physical object that you can own or sell.

Having said that, it's a utility like no other. It's the microphone, video camera, post office and infinite Wal-Mart that nobody could have dreamed of twenty years ago. It's a utility that has nothing to do with pure consumption like the water that comes through the faucet. It's a utility of giving and taking.

What better thing could you do for a community, of any size, than to provide what could be described as "the utility of perpetual community"? Let's face it. A networked town would not only strengthen the close ties and "local flavor" that the town surely has, but it would allow every person in that community to more easily access the international community. The residents could then turn around and use everything learned from the international community (maybe this is too idealistic) and, through message boards and town chat rooms, actually discuss these things.

This will almost surely have an impact on local politics. People will be more aware of their local government. "Town hall" meetings popular in small towns could be more realistic because everyone could meet from the convenience of their homes while surfing the web. This is extremely necessary because corruption is an epidemic throughout local government simply because nobody cares.

This has been a rant from a social science major, not a computer science major. Looking at the technical aspects, a few things need to be worked out. First of all, the town will have to find a solution to the inevitable RIAA lawsuit. There can't be any unlicensed p2p within the network. Whether the town would be responsible for not preventing mp3 downloads on the open Internet through this LAN is doubtful. The town could easily say that, without a warrant, they could never do such a thing because it would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment (which it would be, unless I'm missing something from the DMCA or Patriot Act).

Another thing that would be necessary, at least from an advocate of privacy, is a more two-sided TOS. The user will agree not to download illegal material such as warez, child pornography, and so on. The PROVIDER will agree not to monitor or filter any content whatsoever without a warrant or subpoena requiring otherwise. Furthermore, this will need to be demonstrated by the network admins somehow.

Anyway, good luck with this thing!

Re:Whoops! (1)

falsified (638041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732330)

To clarify something...when I said that there can't be any unlicensed p2p within the network, I meant that both users can't be inside the same network sharing an unlicensed file. The admins could prevent that, and realistically, the RIAA would have a decent case for making the admins at least attempt to do so.

However, I think preventing a user inside the network to access Kazaa on the open Internet would be another thing - an unconstitutional act, perhaps, because a government would be exercising prior restraint.

Which leads me to realize another thing. The ISP would basically be the town, if I understand things correctly. Would a spam filter put in place by the town be less constitutional than AOL's fictional filter, or any other ISP's filter? I honestly don't know.

Again, good luck!

Potential Uses (4, Interesting)

canolecaptain (410657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732272)

Here are some realistic potential uses:

- Long Distance related -

1) Video phones. I have kids, and would pay to give them a video phone so that we could communicate via sight instead of just sound. If I lived there, I'd buy one too so that the rest of my family could join in -> virtual teleconference anyone? As someone who also has family overseas, this becomes even more important.

- Local Industries -

2) Distance learning. People in the town could realistically take classes from the university without having to physically attend class. Even better, the class could be taped and purchased for download (digitally) for less than the cost of actual enrollment, but the student base could go way up without major facility improvements.

3) True downloadable video on demand. Local servers in the town, perhaps even owned by the town, but with distribution rights, could sell/rent downloadable videos to the residents. Tivos can already file share within the house - why not across the neighborhood?

4) Yes, online games would rock. More importantly, localized community games would -scream-. How about hosting bridge/chess/etc parlor type games within the community? For a small fee to cover server expenses, a whole bunch of the older generation could play together from their homes, and TALK AT THE SAME TIME. Again, this is another local industry that could be started.

5) Town meeting multi-casts. Now, people don't have to crowd into some small room to discuss town policies. They can watch it online, and use VoIP to conference in (with a moderator of course).

Of course, these are just a few. If you can concentrate on local industries, more useful applications for the technology will appear. Best of luck. Maybe I'll consider moving a little further north if this is put in place. :-)

Sweden (1)

Student_Tech (66719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732280)

Just for a neighborhood [] in Sweden, but they had 100 Mb/sec fiber to the houses. A bit smaller than an entire town, but the basic idea is there. (Unfortunatley the page linked in the story isn't there, but here is the link [] through the Wayback Machine [] .

Rah! (1)

Gantic (460802) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732288)

Did someone say quake?

not their first controversial networking adventure (2, Flamebait)

donkiemaster (654606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732297)

Dartmouth tried to go wireless before the technology was ready and it turned out to be a disaster. The founder of Cisco donated a buttload of money to get them going (he went there i think) but when they set the whole thing up it just plain didn't work. I didn't hear much about it after that, but they were talking about scrapping the entire thing. I bet he is at it again. I have family that grew up there and know the town fairly well, I bet the townspeople will not pay $40/month for this.

Other services (2, Interesting)

Tomun (144651) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732299)

The vast majority of a town's population won't be die hard geeks like us. I expect only about 20% to happlily accept the $40 fee without some obvious non internet benefits.

With a fiber network in the town you can offer very high speed local networking to the people and only limit bandwidth for external connections. Most people wont know what they can do with that, so you'll need to set up a few services that people can start using right away.

A few ideas off the top of my head for people with PCs:

Free video telephony.
Your own tv channel
Local news
Video on demand

The last one being the killer app of course. It would require some kick ass servers or 9000 dvd players at the local 24 hour video store, but trust me, its what people want.

I think you need make all the services you provide available at a flat rate (at least initially) just to promote usage and experimentation.


How about looking at local information flow? (2, Interesting)

danlyke (149938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732319)

When I first got into the Internet back in the early '90s, we were looking for ways to build a local real-time network, and building an ISP was the only way we could think of to fund it. But some applications I'd like to see based on the things we were talking about back then:

  • If every business can afford to have a network, a lot of business that's currently ineffeciently conducted over the phone could be done via the network. Every restaurant with a take-out menu should, at the very least, be encouraged to put their menus on a server in the restaurant.
  • Hopefully some enterprising college student can leverage this into giving approximate wait times, or perhaps tying online ordering into a restaurant management system.
  • It's a dangerous one, but think about what public records could get put online. If there's a server in the town hall, putting minutes of meetings and everything else that gets typed into that LAN should then be easy. For a while we had one of our town councilmembers doing that on his personal pages, but if it can be automated that's so much the better.
  • Encourage manufacturing companies to think about what real-time high speed communication with other in-town companies could mean. "Just In Time" and inventory management becomes that much easier when you can get companies to share production information.

And if that's not bidirectional for $40/month, at least for in-town bandwidth, then do your best to fight it and let the phone companies and cable companies compete for your business. As a public utility, this only has value if it lets people communicate, rather than merely being an entertainment delivery system, ie: point-n-drool cable TV.

Ashland did this... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5732337)

Check out the Ashland Fiber Network. Ashland, OR. []


Invasion (1)

buyo-kun (664999) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732343)

If your town were to do that it would undoubtly cause an invasion of File sharers looking to build a utopia of files. Those who stay behind would be enslaved. This also leads to a scary thought... a power black out... the country would be in flames in a day. One flabby muscle file sharer can easily be stopped, but a million?

This poses some problems (3, Insightful)

just some computer j (594460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732351)

Ok, it sounds great. But, I am sure there is going to be some fine print on this project.

For one, how big is the actual pipe to the Internet going to be?

Two, servers of any kind are going to have to be serverly limited or not allow at all.

Three, Terms of Service. The number one most important thing of this project. The people of this college town, including the college students are going to have to read and sign that TOS. If they read and sign it, there will be less confusion as to the punishment for people that abuse having fast connections. Plus, it covers the City's butt.

Four, cost of fiber optic cable and equipment for the city and the customers. We all know how expensive fiber is. The last mile and Customer Premise Equipment can be prohibitively expensive. Also, I don't know know how many people are going to want to work for a city to support a network of that size. I mean, I don't care where you are, government work is goverment work.

But hey, this is just my opinion, I could be way off..

limit ports (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732354)

shutdown all ports not needed for browsing, and getting email. Open them by request.
Especially port 25. If one person leaves that open, your bandwidth will be sucked up by spammers.

Make it a simple request, via web.

And guess who pays for the fiber going in. (1)

JJahn (657100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732375)

...thats right, the taxpayers!! This wouldn't be a bad idea IF 1. The speed was decent and 2. the tax rate didn't go up to much. However unless they limit bandwidth, 1 is out the window. And knowing how municipalities work, they will jack up the taxes sky-high.

Check out the UTOPIA project (2, Informative)

alphaFlight (26589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5732379)

here's a link [] to a project in Utah that wants to bring fiber to 170,000 households and more than 20,000 businesses.
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