Archive for December, 2010

Updates on Fiber Projects, Regulation etc

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

It’s been a year since I started my research into building fiber to my home to solve the problem of no willing providers (eg: Comcast, ATT) in my area.

I thought I’d provide some updates.

I no longer have a T1 at home, it has been replaced with a wireless link using the Ubiquiti Nanobridge M5. This allows me to bridge the 3 mile gap (shorter in another direction, but no line-of-sight that way) to pick up another connection. Cost savings: about $200/mo. Speed increase, roughly 10x. The link actually gets ~60Mb/s but the wired part of the network isn’t fast enough to allow those data rates.

I submitted data to the Google RFI, but don’t believe any project in Michigan will be successful. Despite high-ranking U of Michigan alums at Google, I suspect the state laws and climate will not be favorable to such a project.

A lot is being made these days about Comcast and their network management practices.  Constraining how much internet access they buy is a legitimate business action they can take.  I can defend their choice to make that decision.  The problem I have is the monopoly (or duo in some areas) for local internet access.  Some people may have little or no choice what access they receive.  Alternatives such as Cellular aren’t real alternatives with individual software updates around 1GB in size.

If you have a spare $1 to $50 million to spare, I would be interested in pitching the idea of a large fiber project to you. I think there’s benefit as well to provide infrastructure for smartgrid and other communications in parallel with a countywide wired network. If you tie in meter reading (electric, water, gas) there could be significant savings and value.  I do wish that the utility companies (eg: DTE, Consumers, etc) would leverage their existing RoW for placing fiber to deliver further competition to supplement their electric and natural gas business.  I think this combined with changing state laws is the only method that will be viable in the future.

Local schools and counties have unused fiber assets, but are unwilling to make them available as they were paid for out of school budgets.  I do wish they would reconsider to provide additional school funding, but also to make those routes available for less.

I doubt logic will prevail here, but there is hope.  If the current incumbents stumble in a major way, change will become necessary and possible.