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Broadband Bits 143

Posted by michael
from the hot-and-cold-running-data dept.
rtphokie writes "In an article covering bringing wireless and high speed internet connectivity several rural counties near Fredericksburg, VA, a county commissioner comments that transportation issues were once considered the top issue in economic development discussion, now it's the lack of high-speed Internet." Reader Darmok0685 writes "UGO has an interesting feature that explores the future of broadband, with in-depth sections that explore such technologies as Broadband Over Power Lines, WiMax, Fiber to the Home, Stratellite, and ADSL2/ADSL2+. It delves into the pros and cons, as well as giving backgrounds on each."
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Broadband Bits

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  • the company that was routing internet over the magnetic filed around power lines (not through the power lines)?
  • I just want fiber in my house for under $1000...
    • What is this obsession with fiber? You still need a big backbone to support the users, and cable can provide more bandwidth than any of the fiber companies are willing to sell you for a long time to come.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "I just want fiber in my house for under $1000..."

      Oh vegtables are much cheaper than that.
    • Re:broadband... (Score:3, Informative)

      by fred911 (83970)
      Verizon in certain markets has it available. 15/2Mbps costs $49.95 a month.
  • I think one thing this article highlights is that government intervention is needed if we (the US) are serious about upgrading our broadband infrastructure.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I think one thing this article highlights is that government intervention is needed if we (the US) are serious about upgrading our broadband infrastructure.

      The last thing any growing industry needs is the death knell of civil servants running the show.

      I can't see what's wrong with the current situation. If you want broadband, you can get it pretty much wherever.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The problem is the home users want to pay next to nothing.

        You have to study telco history to see they have some typical configs. DS0, DS1, DS3, OC3, OC12, and up. this is what telco knows. This is the gear they buy and runs a lot of the USA.

        They could have priced T1s (DS1) a lot cheaper back in the day and owned us all. They (verizon) could have offered SDSL long ago, and failed. The telcos are to blame.

        So the laws changed and in come the CLECs. well we are growing and have some big plans. We start small
      • by tukkayoot (528280) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @08:07PM (#10675674) Homepage
        I can't see what's wrong with the current situation. If you want broadband, you can get it pretty much wherever.

        No, you can't.

        Unless by "pretty much anywhere" you're including huge stretches of inhabited (albeit rural) land throughout the country, or unless you consider satellite Internet a legitimate form of broadband (which I don't think it is... I haven't talked to a single person who's bought into satellite Internet who doesn't regret it).

        I built a 60 foot tower on my property to receive fixed wireless "broadband" (386 kbps) service and it's extremely flaky (sometimes it works fine, often it doesn't work at all, or I timeout a lot.... I think I need a 70 or 80 foot tower). I'm paying double, triple or quadruple what a lot of people are paying for DSL or cable.

        Nothing is wrong with all of this, if you don't consider broadband an important aspect of the national communications infrastructure. If you do think that broadband availability in rural areas should be much better than it is, then the government certainly does have a role to play. Not necessarily running the whole show, but perhaps in mandating improved broadband coverage, paying for part of it and implementing better regulation or deregulation of the industry.

    • eh, thats BS...supply will meet demand and a few hundred IT guys will eventually realize they should quit their nine to five and open up a wireless internet company that could supply thousands

      I REALLY can't understand the logic of "we have a problem, lets call congress!!!"
    • From what I understand... the government's computer/internet for schools program in the late '90s was a disaster. The jobs were a boondogle, money went for carpeting, and kickbacks were plentifull. Of course, It may have been anecdotal talking.

      Anyone here work on the projects?

    • 10 years ago almost nobody had broadband access. It takes time to build an infrastructure, whether through government intervention or market forces. I'm sure with in a few years broad band will be as pervasive as cable tv, due to market demand.
    • Why? Exactly what problem does broadband solve that not having it is such a problem?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Why? Exactly what problem does broadband solve that not having it is such a problem?"

        Not getting First Post.

        Actually for all the Robin Hoods out there. It makes it easier to crow about the demise of the RIAA/MPAA/Book publishers/Girl Scouts.

        Oh, and it means P2P will work better.
      • I have no idea.. I've got Comcast cable service, I have no idea right off what the upload/download speed is, nor do I care..it's fine for how I use the Internet--check my email, surf a bit, buy stuff on ebay and other sites, connect to my office via a VPN, etc.
      • Take a small town in the coal region of Pennsylvania. The only industry has gone, and the town is becoming poorer, older, and more depressed. Anyone who wants a high-tech job is moving somewhere closer to a major city. The schools are underfunded, and kids move away as soon as they graduate. There's no broadband because Verizon or Comcast have determined it's not profitable for them to supply the town.

        Now put in a FTTH system, where people can get 10Mb fiber connections with a static IP for $15/month per r

        • by Anonymous Coward
          "Businesses move in because land is cheap, and they can do business just as effectively as if they were in New York or Philadelphia. People move in because housing is cheap and they can telecommute to their jobs three days a week. The schools benefit from all kids and parents able to be online, allowing them to check progress through a school portal."

          Problem is. there's only certain types of businesses that fit the broadband model being advocated here.

          Unfortunately if it can be done over broadband here, i
    • The same government that:

      Wants to tax the internet?

      Tax online shopping?

      Tax VoIP?

      Denies access to frequency spectrum that could currently be used more efficiently for broadband internet?

      If anything there is STILL too much goverment regulation.

      • The same government that:
        Wants to tax the internet?
        Hmm, tax what? service delivery? Is the internet that different from other services that it, in contrast to power, water, and other utilities, it should be tax free?

        Tax online shopping?
        So, why should purchasing something from Amazon be tax free but going to Borders is taxed?

        Tax VoIP?
        Are you going to want to contact 911 services using VoIP or will you keep your cell and landline for this? Yes? Then you will need to support it.

        Denies acce
        • Look, the reason I'm against any taxation of the internet is that we ALREADY have enough taxes! By taxing the internet and everything I mentioned, it creates a brand new tax system on top of the taxes we are already paying.

          As far as the 911 services, I believe they should simply take it out of whatever general fund already exists instead of tacking it onto phone bills.

          My point is, the tax system is already too complex as is. Adding an additional tax and fee for everything they can think of on the internet
    • How about Incentives instead. I live deep in the rural back country of Utah. I have 768kDSL for $35/month.
      Why? Out state govt had the foresight to offer massive tax incentives for the rural phone companies to upgrage their infrastructures and get broadband into rural Utah. This was done in part to help stimulate the rural economies out here, which are primarily based in agriculture and tourism. However, now with broadband available in just about every little town over 700 people, we are seeing a great
  • It is better, but... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sediyama (527384) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @05:46PM (#10674907)
    Rivernet charges $97.45 per month, with $37.50 going to Verizon, for a 1.5 megabyte-per-second line. Verizon will now charge $29.95 for the same line.
    I heard that in Japan you can get a 100Mbits (http://www.odn.ne.jp/english/course/bflets/index. html [odn.ne.jp] )for only USD 15.50 a month, with the 3 months free of charges!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Rivernet charges so much because it is a true connect to the internet, with all the benefits.
      Such as a public IP and being able to run servers.

      Verizon will give you 192.168.15.34 and tell you to like it.

      I think the japanese can do that because of the size and density of their country. Also the content they read/view day to day is close.

      I doubt they can download a file from the USA at 19mb/s.
    • "Rivernet charges $97.45 per month, with $37.50 going to Verizon, for a 1.5 megabyte-per-second line. Verizon will now charge $29.95 for the same line.

      I heard that in Japan you can get a 100Mbits (http://www.odn.ne.jp/english/course/bflets/index . html )for only USD 15.50 a month, with the 3 months free of charges!"


      I'm sorry, but America complaining that other people are getting better deals with broadband is like Northern Canadians complaining they don't get enough snow because Siberea gets more
  • From the article... (Score:5, Informative)

    by FiReaNGeL (312636) <<fireang3l> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Saturday October 30, 2004 @05:46PM (#10674910) Homepage
    "Of course we need broadband, but the technology moves so fast that we might end up with a system that nobody wants" Risavi said.

    So lets not invest in it... heh.

    Conclusions for every 'future broadband' tech from The Future of Broadband Article :

    The final word on Broadband Over Power Lines [ugo.com]

    BPL has been given a bad wrap by many news sources. At this stage, it is really impossible to tell whether the interference complaints are legit for the actual technology as a whole, or whether they are based purely on BPL networks that were not researched or planned well enough before deployment - some reports even suggest false claims have been made to try and derail the deployment of BPL by pro-radio enthusiasts. With most information about BPL being very dated, it is hard to say what we can expect. There is nothing we can do but sit back and hope this technology can become sturdy enough for widespread deployment, because the potential is almost unmatched.

    The final word on WiMax [ugo.com]

    Wireless Broadband has already taken a huge step forward worldwide. Here in Australia, for example, Sydney is facing almost complete coverage in the near future from various companies adopting various technologies with DSL-like speeds and prices. However, none of the current systems seem economically viable for widespread coverage. Although true field tests have not yet confirmed the on-paper features, with backing from companies like Intel, it is hard to imagine WiMax not making a huge impact. Look out for its retail release sometime in 2005.

    The final word on Fiber To the Home [ugo.com]

    Whilst FTTH is by far the most impressive and feature-filled technology on display here, the likeliness of it ever reaching a wide audience isn't very high, at least not in the near future. Many leading Telco's around the world have decided to merge into a pure IP network in the near future for data and voice, which will fuel the expansion of FTTH. However, FTTH is very much viewed as a technology for new estates and areas, not necessarily current establishments. For the lucky few who will be able to use FTTH in the near future, you can probably expect Telephone, Broadband, TV and other services delivered by a conventional high-speed connection directly to your doorstop. But for the worldwide broadband scene, I wouldn't get your hopes up. It will be a very long time before this makes any sort of widespread impact if any at all.

    The final word on Stratellite [ugo.com]

    Probably the most "far out there" concept in this roundup, Stratellite is actually much closer to reality than what you may think. Sanswire insists it will extensively trial a real air ship in January 2005 after successfully demonstrating the technology in 2004. This is a promising technology that could combine the best of Satellite and wired Internet - fast with low latency and hugely widespread, at least in theory. Whilst it is still unclear how exactly a floating broadband hub could haul its data back down to earth wirelessly with acceptable bandwidth (keeping in mind its potential ability to serve millions of people at a time), rest assured this is a prime candidate for tomorrow's broadband world. Whether or not it will get the industry support required, however, is yet to be seen.

    The final word on ADSL2 [ugo.com]

    Is it too little too late for DSL? Only time will tell just how efficient ADSL2 will be at offering a better service to a wider range of customers. The impression given is that ADSL2 is really more of an add-on to the current ADSL, rather than a completely new revolution. Whilst it sounds li
    • BPL has been given a bad wrap by many news sources.

      Is that wrap as in sandwich? Wrap as in Christmas presents? Wrap as an outer garment?

      Or is this just another of those weird Aussie spellings?

      And since BPL (aka PLC) is 0-for-everywhere it's been tried, I find his assessment rather optimistic.

    • "BPL has been given a bad wrap by many news sources. At this stage, it is really impossible to tell whether the interference complaints are legit for the actual technology as a whole, or whether they are based purely on BPL networks that were not researched or planned well enough before deployment - some reports even suggest false claims have been made to try and derail the deployment of BPL by pro-radio enthusiasts."

      If it doesn't cause actual interference then why would pro-radio enthusiasts be trying to
    • Whilst it is still unclear how exactly a floating broadband hub could haul its data back down to earth wirelessly with acceptable bandwidth

      Gyro-stabilized laser to a downlink station with a big fiber pipe.
    • The problem with satellite latency isn't the distance the signal travels, it's the logistics of packet aggregation. The satelite transmits back to earth in packet bursts. Like AC current. It's on for a second, at really really high dense speeds, and then off for a sec.

      ~Will
    • Old info...
      There is an Aussie slant to the article and while I will adming that doing business downunder is much more expensive than in the US, it can be done.

      As far as wireless being un-competitive, its just some networks. Some are cheaper than DLS. Its just that the gov't just dropped the fee to allow this and its taking months to get the paper work in. Some of us already have base stations ready to go and and we can do it much cheaper than the other players and when you consider nearly 2 million peop
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "In an article covering bringing wireless and high speed internet connectivity several rural counties near Fredericksburg, VA, a county commissioner comments that transportation issues were once considered the top issue in economic development discussion, now it's the lack of high-speed Internet."

    And here, I thought good water, and sanitation was important? Shows what I know.
    • As disinclined as I am to feed the trolls ...

      Sixty years ago, sure, those were serious issues in economic development. Now, sanitation and water are not top issues, because in most of the developed world, they are solved problems.

  • If most of the populace is still trying to suck their bandwidth through a dial-up straw.

    I hope someone on high wakes up and realizes that a fast broadband infrastructure has the potential to reduce energy consumption more than any other technology out there.

    • broadband infrastructure has the potential to reduce energy consumption more than any other technology out there
      Seriously, how?
      • With super high speed broadband available to every geek in the world, the increase in heat output from friction alone is enough to melt the polar ice caps.
      • "Seriously, how?"

        Look at rush hour traffic and consider why it's there. It consists of a bunch of people commuting to work because their presence is required elsewhere. The number one reason most of these people can't telecommute to work is because of insufficient bandwidth. They have or they can only get or afford a dial-up connection. It would hurt productivity to telecommute while using slow speed or unreliable connections. Resolve this problem and that excuse is taken away for the employee a

        • Wow, i was thinking about it, didn't come up with anything like that. Interesting theory.
        • Telecommuting is not the end-all, be-all solution for rush hour traffic.
          Not every office worker can perform their job from home. Nor would every office worker want to perform their job from home.
          As for tele-work centers, you still have the same problem of getting people from home to the centers.

          The main reason is not bandwidth.
  • High Speed? (Score:1, Informative)

    by hardcampa (533829)
    What's high speed internet in the states. Seriously. In Sweden it's 10MBit to 100Mbit. Anything lower is ridiculous and not even worth considering.
    • What's high speed internet in the states. Seriously. In Sweden it's 10MBit to 100Mbit. Anything lower is ridiculous and not even worth considering.

      Through what company would that be? What definition of 'high speed' is used? What type of user is targeted?

      Standard pipes on ADSL in Sweden is between 64kbit to 512kbit upload speed and 128kbit to 2.8Mbit (the 512kbit/2.8Mbit option is through BoNet and IIRC it is available in flats in Linköping).

      The 2Mbit - 1000Mbit type pipes are the type thing Telia
    • Re:High Speed? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Yes, and and how many square miles is Sweden compared to the United States. Population density is an issue when it comes to broadband deployment. Taiwan, Japan, and other very densely populated countries have a huge advantage over more sparsely populated nations like the U.S.
      • Yes, and and how many square miles is Sweden compared to the United States. Population density is an issue when it comes to broadband deployment. Taiwan, Japan, and other very densely populated countries have a huge advantage over more sparsely populated nations like the U.S.

        Actually, USA (~29 inhabitants/square kilometer) has a higher population density than Sweden (~20 inhabitants/square kilometer) does.

        http://www.fact-index.com/l/li/list_of_countries_b y_population_density.html [fact-index.com]
        http://www.photius [photius.com]


        • Actually, USA (~29 inhabitants/square kilometer) has a higher population density than Sweden (~20 inhabitants/square kilometer) does.


          You missed his sarcasm, but that's beyond the point. The United States may have an average population density of 29 people per km^2, but that's done (obviously) by taking total area divided by total population. The problem is that there are a lot of places in the US that have FAR FAR less than 29 people per square km. My senior thesis was on the current state of the mid
          • I don't have any exact numbers but there are vast areas of Sweden that aren't that densely populated either (mostly up north). It is not feasible to give a super fast internet connection to everyone but in the populated areas I don't see why not.
      • Here in Newfoundland, Canada, adsl is everywhere, even the smallest towns have adsl. It just takes a telco who is willing to upgrade their lines.

        One solution our telco has found is to place the DSLAM's in fiberglass shelters in each area and go fiber from their back to the CO. This also gets the DSLAM out of the noisy CO enviroment.

        They offer two packages, one is $34/month for 1.5mbit/512kbit and ~$60 for 3mbit/512kbit. Both of those are in CND dollers which is doing great against the weak USD at 80cents
    • "Anything lower is ridiculous and not even worth considering."

      That's why you have 100mbit.

      EVERYONE with cable internet in the US could have 39mbps access TOMORROW. The modem supports it and the headend supports it.

      It's not an infastructure problem at all. The cable companies could simply "flip the switch" and offer 39mbit access. Now, they might have to upgrade their backend or add more trancievers to prevent massive oversubscription, but they could do it.

      There is a reason that my cable modem is 3mbps.
    • Three megs down, 256kbps up and a dynamic IP.

      Thank $deity I'm moving to Europe once Bush gets reappointed.

  • "Verizon has begun an ambitious rollout of fiber optics to businesses and residences with the deployment of 440,000 feet of cabling in suburban Dallas. The carrier this week announced that it is about halfway through the build-out of a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to every home and business in Keller, Texas, a city of 25,000. When completed, Verizon will string 1.2 million feet of fiber through Keller." "Verizon reiterated plans to pass about 1 million homes in nine states with FTTP by the end of
  • Literally. Geostationary stratospheric 'satellites' sandwiching low-high frequency transmissions to give high-bandwidth/low-latency communications to urban and remote locations alike.

    The current problem with satellites is that because of the distance involved and the use of radio waves (substantially slower than the speed of light communications we get with cables) the latency is horrible. But stratellites stand a good chance of becoming a permanent and useful part of the Internet and its backbone, part

    • I don't get how the use of radio waves matters, the only thing hurting the speed is the extra distance involved with satellite. The fact it's radio doesn't matter since radio goes at light speed. Actually the radio signal's in vacuum most of the path so it's actual faster propagating a signal via radio than say optically down a fiber that has some index of refraction > 1
    • Exactly how...? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Snorpus (566772)
      Exactly how are radio waves in free space "substantially slower than the speed of light communications we get with cables" ???

      I'll grant that using geostationary satellites results in high latency, but the problem is distance, not that radio waves are slower than the speed of light.

      In fact, because of the dielectric in cables, signals are significantly slower (although only about 5% IIRC) in cable than in the atmosphere or free space.

      • If I remember rightly, its not the speed of signal transmission, its the distance travelled.

        Both could use laser, and both travel at ~SOL, but because one has to travel thousands of miles further than the nice straight(er) fibre, it takes longer.
      • Exactly how are radio waves in free space "substantially slower than the speed of light communications we get with cables" ???

        It's not really the radio-wave part that is slower. In fact, in terms of information propogation through the medium, you're right, radio transmissions are much faster than electrical ones.

        However, there are a number of practical/technical reasons which exist with wireless communications that are absent in wired ones:

        -Interference- Rarely an issue with wired communications, ra

    • Uh, you couldn't be so wrong.

      You can't get around the latency problem with geostationary satellites. Speed of light isn't the issue, because it's faster through the air and vacuum of space than it is a coax or fiber optic cable anyways. It's the distances involved to geostationary satellites. Oh, and bandwidth to/from the satellites.

      DirectTV is dropping their satellite broadband, because there's more $$$ in serving HDTV with those transponders...

      And there is no way anyone will be putting stratellites (h
    • Radio waves are light.

      They move at almost c, depending on what they're travelling through. Glass is more dense and so it slows it down a little. Air is less dense, so it slows it down less. Copper is slower still. *Any* cable will transmit data slower than transmitting it. The problem with transmissions isn't that the rate is slower, it's that it's an unknown environment. There's all kinds of interference out there that you generally don't have to deal with when you use cable.

      Also, latency is high for sat

  • The article has an interesting comparison between transportation and wireless access as economic development issues. Are the two really that similar?

    A highway does enable more commerce to and from an area. Are there studies that demonstrate that broadband access results in economic growth even in rural areas?
    • Being on the border between the countryside and middle-class suburbia, while still being within 30 minutes of a major city centre and an international airport are still extremely desirable features of lifestyle living. This has been the major factor which has influenced the growth of most major cities.

      The requirement for broadband adds another factor to the equation. It adds another constraint to the choice of purchasing a house, affecting house and adjacent land prices.

      Are there studies that demonstrat
    • I would say the analogy doesn't hold too well. Except for some web based small businesses, I can't see how broadband can give economic growth. The best it can do is improve the lives and world awareness of those online. Having more computer savy folks is important to an area but I don't think it'll mean businesses will build there.

      On the other hand, the local pr0n shops will tank within three months!

    • Yes, it was the same issue brought up when the Rural Electrification project was initiated...

      It brought all those hick ranchers and farmers out in the hinterlands into the 20th century.

    • I live in a very remote town of 975 in Rural Utah. The next town of 10,000 people is 60 mile north. Grand Jct is 110 miles east.
      Our state was very proactive in creating incentives for rural phone service providers. We now have broadband in 85% of the hick towns out here.

      And what are we doing? Many are telecommunting to companies located in big cities. Others have started their own businesses based around internet services. Call centers pop up in every small town - better than outsourcing to India! M
  • Predictions for 2010 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davidwr (791652) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @06:12PM (#10675039) Homepage Journal
    6 years ago, cable internet was rare and DSL still wasn't available in many urban areas. The 56/53k modem standard was new.

    6 years from now, most people in urban areas will get 1+Mbps connectivity through their existing phone lines or through cable TV, much as they to today. The main difference will be a higher maximum bandwidth along with lower-costs for today's 0.5-5Mbps bandwidth.

    I'm guessing 10-30% of the population will have access to and pay for "very high bandwidth" of > 30Mbps for internet with the balance for other services, probably through fiber-to-the-curb or fiber-to-the-street, shared by a few dozen subscribers at most. These customers will mostly be "converged" customers, with voice, data, television, and who knows what else riding on the fiber.

    Amost all semi-rural areas and non-DSL-equipped urban areas that aren't well-connected today will have SOME option for 1+Mbps connectivity besides satellite. Whether this is airship, "wi-max," extended-distance DSL, or something else, I don't know.

    There will always be areas that are "too expensive to reach" by land or even by 30-mile-range radio signals. These customers will likely be stuck with satellite or (gasp!) dialup unless something better or cheaper comes along.

    How fast do you need to watch a DVD movie in real time? 9GB=72Gb, 2 hours=7200 seconds, that's about 10Mbps. Double that to be on the safe side.
    • There will always be areas that are "too expensive to reach" by land or even by 30-mile-range radio signals. These customers will likely be stuck with satellite or (gasp!) dialup unless something better or cheaper comes along.

      There will be areas that are not profitable to reach. Such is the case in rural Iowa. So what they've done is started up internet cooperatives that are driven by customer service and not maximizing profits. As a result, rural iowa is better connected than the urban areas, where we
    • You people are so closedminded. What about 2k resolution movies with lossless compression? That's going to be a lot more than 10 Mbps. 640 KB was once enough too.
      • 2010 is only 6 years down the road.

        We might see what you describe 6 years after that.

        My grandchildren's grandchildren will have very-real-virtual-reality via neural interface if they want to pay for it.
  • by mat catastrophe (105256) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @06:13PM (#10675040) Homepage

    What needs to happen is that ISPs need to wake up and smell the roses, ala Speakeasy. Allow the user, who is paying for all this anyway, to have port 80 open, to run servers, to have static IPs and the rest.

    At least offer this as a "power user" option through cable and DSL providers. That way, people can actually create websites that are not fed by those banner ad driven hosts.

    And yes, I know how many people probably are not up to the challenge of setting up firewalls and routing tables and whatever else it takes to do all this stuff, hell, I'm not able to really do it either. But, it would be nice to have the option to do it. I can manage apache well enough.

    As it is, most "broadband" users here in the states are crippled with restrictive TOS/AUPs and upload bandwidths of around 256k. Hello? That's broadband?

    As I understand it, people pay for upload. If that's the case, then consumers should be highly pissed at what they are paying. But, I guess most consumers really are amazed that they can download entire albums in ninety minutes, assuming that they find someone sharing it out at that rate.

    Hmm, well so much for this not very thought out rant. I hope you all can make sense of it.

  • Just for some context about Northern Neck read:

    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2002/082002/082 62002/sentenced [fredericksburg.com]

    Nice place.
  • by AsnFkr (545033) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @06:26PM (#10675111) Homepage Journal
    Its funny, I live in Fredericksburg Va and work for a computer shop that tried our damned hardest to offer excellent DSL service to a number of these rural areas. In many cases we found the technology is in the ground and users can in fact get DSL, but Verizon is not willing to "flip the switch" unless there is a huge demand in the particular area. We successfully offered DSL through Verizons lines on our bandwidth for over a year to these people without a problem. All of a sudden Verizon started undercutting us (ie selling to the USER cheaper than they would sell to us) in order to muscle us off their lines so they could take over the market in the area. On top of that any sort of tech support we would need from Verizon concerning their lines would get shrugged to the side and we would end up with understandably angry customers at us, although we had no way to solve the issues. We eventually pulled out of the market all together and went back to just repair/custom builds. The fucked up part is a lot of people that are still in smaller areas ended up getting their service disconnected when we pulled out and now Verizon is telling them that it is technically impossible to carry DSL to their homes even though they had it just a few weeks ago. I happen to be one of those customers, but luckily can get a cable modem...which by the way is half the price.

    Moral of the story is a lot of rural places CAN get broadband, but the recourses that can carry it aren't fessing up to honest answers about it.
    • rural places CAN get broadband

      Well, I wouldn't call Fredericksburg, VA, very rural. It's a bedroom community for Washington DC now. It *feels* rural, but it ain't.

      Now, I live in the Willamette Valley, in OR. I'm about 15 miles from Salem, 10 miles from McMinnville (and only 3 miles from the Verizon CO in Amity). No DSL. definitely no cable TV. Don't worry, I'm definitely rural. Nearest neighbors are about 3/4 mi. from my house.

      Good thing there are places like OnlineMac, which offer wireless broadband.
    • ... and my parents still live there. WiFi may be the best best because the phone infrastructure in many of these rural areas is still horrible. When it rains, the phone lines get crackly.

      CATV was installed in the the mid 80's and hasn't had much done to it since then so it's probably not up handling broadband.
      • Not only that, the cable TV around here is run by Adelphia, which is comming up on their deadline to recover from Chapter 11, and hasn't yet got all of their finances in order. There's a Comcast buyout bid on the horizon, so I heard between you, me, and the wall, so they're not really concerned about their quality of service. Their main tech support phone number has been shut off (540.898.6666).

        Oh, and they're always showing these commercials, telling us how cable is better than satelite because they don
    • Moral of the story is a lot of rural places CAN get broadband, but the recourses that can carry it aren't fessing up to honest answers about it.

      I know how that feels. I am in the middle of nowhere. Rural Oklahoma. The "DSL Box" (as the SBC ppl say) is less than a mile from our house yet SBC has yet to do anything with it. They assure us that DSL will be available soon (within six months) and they will notify us when it is. We call about every 3 months, always the same thing. We'll call you when it's avai

    • I live in the Fredericksburg area as well. Although Adelphia is in Bankrupsy and cox is thinking of buying the market I've been able to get low latency 5 Mb/s downstream 512Kb upstream. AND I live way out in the sticks. There is'nt a substation for DSL in MILES.

      Prestige Cable was bought out by Adelphia (with funny money that Adelphia was cooking up). BUT...before they did, Prestige did a complete overhaul of their system and laid fiber to every curb of every customer. Why they did'nt just go up to the HOUS
  • Wireless has inherent penalties, security, contention, and perhaps most of all the battery life of portable devices with little enough to spare to power wireless circuitry. Wired is perfect for everything that is non mobile, it is secure, it doesn't have a power problem, and best of all it knocks everything else put together into a cocked hat when it comes to sheer bandwidth AND latency. This isn't an article or issue about the various technologies, it is an article about money men trying to carve out mar
  • The max speed is around 75Gbps.. this is why companies such as towerstream who are using WiMax can offer Gigabit connections non LOS within 10 miles of a tower.. cheaper than the telco's.
  • Broadband in power-lines, eh? I guess that would kill cable-internet piracy (or at least strongly discourage it)...

    ...I mean, you couldn't just go outside and split the wire when your neighbor wasn't looking, you would...uh...be electrocuted in the process. :-/
  • My parents live in Virginia's Shenandoah valley, and they just this week ordered DSL. For what they're paying for 384k/128k, I get 3m/768k here in California. But there's just one local ISP, that's also the phone company and cable company.

    I'm not sure exactly what the deal is, but apparently years ago they merged a number of smaller telcos and all of the subscribers got stock in the resulting company, and now they've got a vested interest in keeping out competition. Or so I've heard. In any case, if yo
    • There is a lack of competition because the costs are higher to operate there. Since the costs are higher, the prices are higher. The Universal Serivce Fund pays back telco charges. So people see a phone bill that matches the people from the nearest big city, but nothing suppliments the Internet charge, so that will be higher to reflect the increased cost to get it to a NAP. If you want remote Internet to match city Internet costs, then the governemnt will need to subsidize Internet the way they do phone
  • DSL is the winner. As phone companies have invested so much money in the copper, the possibly can't just overrun this by fiber.
  • I live in Fredericksburg - I pay $79/mo for 128/768 DSL from a company that is basically just reselling Verizon. Verizon refuses to sell it to me direct. And I won't ever give a dime of my money to Adelphia, so I won't consider the cable modem option.

    That said, the DSL service is rock solid - and tech support is great. When I call and say I've pinged and trace routed and the router at IP whatever is timing out, they believe me. They don't ask if I've rebooted my PC yet :)
  • Satellite access (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FlynnMP3 (33498) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @09:06PM (#10675972)
    Having recently moved into a rural area from a densely populated area, I checked into all the options for getting any kind of broadband.

    Wireless DSL was looking good until we found out that the location of the broadcasting tower and where we were had an electrical substation smack in the middle of line of site. No dice for that. Can't get through. WAAAAyyy too noisy.

    So this past month, I took the plunge and purchased DIRECWAY satellite service. The cost is outragious (I had cable access before in the city), $1000 to get the dish/sat transponder/sat modem and to have Hughes flip the damn switch, another $350 to get the dish installed, and a measely $100 a month to have the service. For 2 years mind you, that's how long the required length of contract is. They never mention that part until you listen to the agreement recording to confirm your purchase.

    The Fair Access Policy (such as it is) is even worse. I purchased the middle tier plan - 500meg download in 4 hours (sliding window). Now when I was on cable up in the city, online was my only entertainment, and I used it, quite heavily. The cable company never complained and the particular subnet I was on didn't have a lot of active nodes. But this FAP for the sat system is annoying the holy hell out of me. Heck, the available download speed from the service is 900mbps. That means I can blow the FAP in roughly 10 minutes (math mavens don't crucify me).

    If you exceed the FAP, the download speed is clamped to 24kbps. It takes about 8 hours to reset. I've got a courtesy Hughes gonad squeezer making sure that I'm a good little boy.

    So all in all, I payed nearly 2000$ for always on dialup service with higher latency. (*balloons* *confetti*)

    I'm moving as soon as I can muster it.
    • So this past month, I took the plunge and purchased DIRECWAY satellite service.

      Didn't DirecWAY used to be named DirecPC, and didn't they have a class action suit against them for advertising "unlimited access" and then throttling back data rate until the next month after you DL'ed so many gigs? I knew someone who had the service and told me about this. He was often complaining about DirecPC not working, having problems, etc.
      • Yes. Yes they are. Yes they did have a class action suit against them in which they got ruled against - hard.

        This was their solution. Seriously castrate everybody on the system such that anybody who is even moderately active will exceed the FAP.

        Oh yeah. It's easy to complain about the system. Most of that stems from non realistic expectations from a satellite connection.

        If all I did was browse the Internet and did a few emails, the system would be good. But since I like to *gasp* download and enjoy
    • 900mbps?

      The small m means millibits, so you get 0.9 bits per second? :)

      I suspect your rate is 900kbps. 900 Megabits per second is close to gigabit speeds and that seems unlikely for an internet service.

      I also suspect that a ten minute download of 500 megabytes is inflated. On a 1.5Mbps T1, it takes an hour to download a typical Linux ISO. That is quite a lot of data. Last I checked, the service was limited to 200 megabytes, but either is considerably limiting in view of Linux ISOs.

      I do agree about t
  • Hah, come to Australia.. then you'll know what bad broadband pricing is. I pay $59/m for a 256/64k adsl connection.. Damn this country is slow.
    • $59/m for 256/64? Crap value. Unless your a money tight leecher.

      I'm paying $59 for 512/128 with Internode [on.net] for 16gb (after that is shaping to 64k). Definitely worth it and I haven't had much troubles with it.

      Anyway, Australia IS the home of bad broadband pricing. Apparently Telstra charges hell per MB for AGVC backhaul access for ADSL to the point that 24/7 downloading on a 1.5/256 line will cost $900. Providers are setting up their own DSLAMs where they have the most customers and they probably are gettin
  • by zxflash (773348)
    "Broadband Over Power Lines, WiMax, Fiber to the Home, Stratellite, and ADSL2/ADSL2+." how about getting some real choices for the city dwellers that make up a larger part of the population before we worry about the "last mile"...
    • Maybe because you already have broadband and we should work on at least getting people online before we worry about the poor little New Yorkian who's only got a 5 meg connection?
  • It's the politics that leave the last "country mile" of fiber dark. For instance, here is a CNET story of a Texas misappropriation of agricultural $ub$idie$ earmarked for getting internet to farm communities [com.com] that instead is bringing broadband to slightly exurban millionaire homes where the closest thing to farming is the maintenance of putting greens and fairways.

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