Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×

Comment Re:blame the caller. (Score 1) 145

If I call back a number I don't recognize, you can be damn sure it's from something like Google Voice which, because I don't have a number specifically attached to it, usually gives "unknown" for the caller ID, and I can take whatever action I see fit according to whether I get a person, IVR or voicemail when I make the call.

It also helps that I have a number from an area I've never lived in or even been to so that I can be relatively sure any numbers calling me from that area code are spam.

Comment Re:Uber is dead on arrival (Score 1) 206

I said I wouldn't put it as an asset side on the balance sheet. I would put it as a liability - in part because they depreciate faster than a lead brick, but as they also have the highest chance of going wrong, usually for reasons outside my control.

At least with other things which depreciate badly (say for example, computers and servers etc) I can usually control the things that go wrong (redundancy is easier in computers and servers than in a car) and in the case of computers/servers, they are merely a conduit for something which is of value (i.e data), whereas most types of vehicles don't really have a secondary use or component of value. I can transfer data from one computer to another and the data retains its value even if the metal and plastic bits holding said data don't. Can't really do that with a car.

A vehicle should almost certainly be a liability on *your* balance sheet because you don't own yours outright, so you're still on the hook if something happens to it - whether your fault or not.

A car might become an asset if I can use it as collateral against something (which I most likely can't unless the loan seriously under-values the car which wouldn't make financial sense anyway), or if it happens to appreciate in or retain a significant portion of it's value - which for most cars is unlikely.

Comment Re:Uber is dead on arrival (Score 1) 206

Mainly because I don't have a calculator handy for working out the finer details of depreciation (a car isn't something I'd put as an asset on a balance sheet anyway), so I'm merely assuming a linear/equal cost per month assuming 10 years of ownership on 2x $20k cars.

Even if I were working with $50k cars the expense I would still not be anywhere near your monthly spend... doing the math in my head, I'd have to be at around $100k per car to get to that level.

Comment Re:Uber is dead on arrival (Score 1) 206

Well, first-off I'm not paying anything off over 3 years - no finance costs, no monthly payments - I paid in cash because even though financing is ridiculously cheap in the US (often 3% or less if you're buying domestic), I'm not particularly interested in it, even though certain people will debate whether doing this is a good move economically or not because cars depreciate so badly.

Secondly, being that I am in the US - my cost for fuel is probably about 1/4 what is costs in Aussie (what you pay for a liter I pay for a gallon) - $80 worth of fuel would be about 3.5 tanks full on one of the cars (~35ish gallons) which would work out to about 1,000 miles/1,600km easy - or about a weeks worth (the other car is a bit more thirsty but it's not my daily runabout so only goes to the pump about once a month or so).

As for the others, here are some comparative costs:
Registration is about $100/year in this state (or about $8 more if I wanted a custom numberplate)
Servicing costs maybe $300 a year per vehicle (although I replaced and upgraded a bunch of parts in 1 of the vehicles so this year at least one of the vehicles will cost a bit more)
I just put new tyres on one which was about $400 for a set of Kumhos (the other car had new tyres when I got it so I don't know the exact replacement cost for those yet), and based on my mileage I should get about 2 years out of them.
Insurance varies by ZIP code but for my area with my record I'm paying well under $100 a month and getting more coverage than the state requires and I have AAA (AA in Australia/NZ) which is about $120 a year.

So all in all then, I'm looking at about $6k a year, $7k tops and if we include the price of the cars over some arbitrary time period (like 10 years because I'll drive them until they break) that might go as high as $8k. Even with these fairly generous numbers it's still a helluvalot less than $1k a month and I'm doing more than 1,500km a week most weeks.

If you want somewhat accurate stats, fuel buddy tells me that since April 20 when I acquired the latest vehicle, I've spent $1459.64 on fuel, service and tyres; $170 on insurance and AAA, and $207 on vehicle costs ($20k over an assumed lifespan of 120 months + this years registration). I've done 8,146 miles or about 13,000km so far, which works out to a cost of about 22.5 cents per mile or 14.1 cents per KM, which, if I were doing 500km a week would come to $70.46 all inclusive, or still less than $300 a month.

Comment Re:Statists will not go quietly into the night (Score 1) 330

So your healthcare will pay a couple of million to cover you for 24x7 homecare when you are crippled in an accident? or loss of ability to work and provide for your family etc etc? you must have an awesome healthcare system.

That's how most healthcare systems work in developed countries, granted, it's much more difficult to pay a grand total of 1% of income as tax in most countries compared to the US.

Growing up in NZ we had ACC (which the US-Friendly National party is trying to get rid of), when I ended up in Finland we had Sociaali ja terveysministerio (pronounced how it's spelled, because Finnish) and now I'm in the US I have... basically nothing because even with the super-duper-bestest private insurance I'll still get wallet-raped... if I get sick, I'd better be able to get to the airport so I can get on the next flight to Cuba, Panama or Mexico (there's a good chance it'll be cheaper to do that than pay even a "small" deductable).

Comment Re:Uber is dead on arrival (Score 1) 206

I notice he is using dollars and kilometers, which unless he's only converting one unit suggests he is either Aussie or Kiwi.

Even with fuel costs as high as they are in those countries compared to a place like the US (about $2.10/liter or US$7.50/gallon last time I was there), I think he is paying way too much - his hire-purchase agreement must be horrendous.

I'm a Kiwi in the US and drive easily 1,000km a week (sometimes in a day) but spend probably half what he does (...for 2 cars, for that matter). I'm not in surburbia, though, just the midwest.

Comment It's alright for heavier drivers (Score 1) 113

I have 2 cars - one gets about 15-16mpg and has a 20 gallon tank + 3 gallon reserve; while the other gets about 30mpg and has a 10 gallon tank + 0.6 gallon thimble because... at 0.6 gallons I'm not sure why they bothered. But anyway, depending on where I'm going there might be 40 or 50 miles between towns and/or gas stations so it can be important to know whether I should stop and fill up in town A even though I might have 1/4 or 1/8 of a tank; or if I'll make it to town B but probably be on fumes (I also have AAA premier just in case, but so far, so good).

Because I drive between 500 and 1,000 miles a week on average (sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes I do that much in a day) - all up I spend probably $400 a month on gas but I'm brimming my tank 3 times a week or so. Gasbuddy is useful for me simply because it can help me decide where to fill up based on where I'm going and helps me schedule breaks because some interstates are a bit monotonous.

And I use it with a hotspot (actually 2 hotspots - because mobile coverage from any given carrier isn't always perfect) so most of the time, the only wifi it's going to be detecting are my hotspot SSIDs, and as for bluetooth... I have some Bluetooth headphones but that's about it, so whoopdidoo.

I use Gasbuddy in conjunction with Fuel Buddy to track my mileage and other auto-related expenses, but I can see why you'd not really need to bother with such an app if you are only driving 20-50 miles a day and only filling up once a week or less.

Comment Re:Whats left unsaid... (Score 1) 120

Remember this thread started with a conversation about the cost of going to 1gbs. Customers that are having to move from say 30-200mbs to 1gbs+ are going to want more than 1-2mbs dedicated. They are going to want much more than 300gb / month total. Your numbers are way too low for connections that fast. For example residential traffic in the USA is becoming much more steady because of things like Netflix. Netflix needs about 7mbs and that's not including other traffic in the household. And that's all running comfortably on today's 50mbs type connections not for near future when Netflix is using 8x as much and people are pulling down multiple streams.

You're quite right, but even then the increase in usage per subscriber doesn't necessarily correlate with the increase in speed, that is to say, a 50mbps customer going to 100mbps doesn't necessarily double their usage - it may go up by 20-50% or it may even stay near the same as it was before. A much larger jump, say, going from 2 or 4mbps to 100mbps might have that effect though.

We know that home providers right now are underprovisioned. 7pm to 11pm they are only able to deliver 4mbs per home on average, while at times like 4:00 am they can do 18mbs / household and customers express satisfaction. And again that's with many customers buying as little as 10mbs. We know that 2mbs dedicated is less than 1/2 what customers are getting now in the worst markets.

My .2 multiplier I think is fair for good quality peak usage (what the original poster wants). But even if I am to high it is nothing like a .001-.002 as a multiplier. 1000x to one overprovision you just aren't delivering anything like 1gbs of bandwidth.

That's why my numbers are padded to account for 10mbps dedicated which is what I'm working from - that works out to a contention ratio of 100:1 for gigabit connections (a stupid metric, IMO) and comfortably allows 1.5TB per month per subscriber if you're assuming an average of 50% utilization on your trunks with some room for burst/peak.

Individual providers would of course tweak numbers according to their customers habits and availability of capacity to other networks, route costs and so forth, but again, what we're talking about here is large ISPs have cores in several separate areas of the country, so what we're talking about is 130tb/s of core routing and interconnecting bandwidth spread across *all* the major ISPs (let's call it 20tb/s and some change each), divided by region (say 5tb/s per region) which is very doable - if I'm in California, I don't expect my ISP to be trying to deliver say Netflix from their Atlanta core unless said ISP is terrible at routing, I'd expect it to come from San Jose or whereever.

Then you're looking at distributing bandwidth from those large areas to any given point over trunks which get progressively smaller as you get to smaller towns - n*100gb turns to 100gb which becomes n*10gb which becomes a single 10gb link for a small town because obviously a town with 1,000 households doesn't need 100gb or indeed 13tb/s to it - and that 10gb link would contended by say 1,000 households (100:1) which roughly works out.

As for my house. I have about 8 copper lines running to my house. I have a switch box which connect the outlets to up to 3 of those incoming lines. I also have an older system using lead wires inside glass. 2 of those lines were setup for DSL. 0 of them are supported by the phone company today. All of that is abandoned infrastructure.

Alright, but how long were those lines in service?

I would suppose that *IF* the ROI on that wiring was 5 years, it's because back in the day, Ma Bell charged a fortune for everything because they could - telephones were somewhat of a luxury, long distance was expensive as hell and so on and so they basically had huge margins.

However, margins are a lot thinner these days but that doesn't change the fact that they're installing infrastructure assuming it's going to be there for 2 to 5 decades, not 5 years. As it was with copper in the 70s and 80s so it is with fiber today and it is still such that in order to upgrade a network all you really need to do is change out the equipment on the other end of the line which (on a per subscriber basis) really isn't all that expensive.

As for ROI... Remember where I started. 5 years to pay off the original investment (no profit) then Y years of profit. The goal of infrastructure is not to break even,. not to have an ROI of 0. Your $120 box is a perfect example. You are renting it at $5/mo which means a 24 mo breakeven point not 25 years. A 25 year payoff would be you renting the box for $.40 / mo, a 50 year payoff $.20/mo.

Yes, and my numbers reflect that. The amounts I'm talking about are for the modem and port at the DSLAM *only*, whereas you're kind of bundling the wiring and modem in to a single ROI timeframe which doesn't really work because it doesn't account for the advances in technology which inevitably occur without having to change out any of the wires.

So yes, you have a $120 modem which has an expected lifespan of 5 years = average cost per month of $2. At $5 rental per month it's getting paid off in 24 months and the rest is profit.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that yes, a 12 year ROI on modems/equipment would be unacceptable, but on wiring it's probably about right (depending on your market and all that) and these things have to be counted separately, which is what my numbers were trying to reflect.

BUT what I'm also trying to explain is that when you have $2,000 worth of wiring which has an expected lifespan of 25 years, the average cost per month of just under $7. Assuming this worst case scenario, the amount of the customer bill attributed to that is probably at least $15, so that would make the break-even time would be 12 years (not counting finance and interest costs but that gets too complicated to go in to here) and anything past that point is profit. However, as we know if we're wiring high-density it's much less because a single feed is reaching multiple households and that $2,000 becomes $500 or $300 or whatever the case may be, and when that happens as it would in the case of the project in question, we're looking at maybe a couple of dollars per month as the cost for the infrastructure, not the $33/month you mentioned.

Comment Re:Whats left unsaid... (Score 1) 120

A 5 year ROI is basically unheard of in an infrastructure build - 20-25 is about where it's at, because it's expected to last 50 (or more)

No it isn't. 25 years ago the home internet infrastructure didn't even exist. A few years later it would have been extra capacity at LECs since people were using the cooper phone lines more hours per day. A few years after that it would have been DSL and coax connections capable of 5mbs or less. All of which are totally worthless now. Payoff in 60 months was on the high end, the company needs to make some profit on their infrastructure spend. If people start demanding faster relative speeds that means faster upgrades the spend goes from 60 months down to 36 or so. I'm not picturing 300 months for decades if not a century.

You say that 5 years is about the maximum but here's the thing though: most of the copper in use for the DSL and cable networks is a decade or more old. Sure, it wasn't designed or installed with even an inkling of what was to come, but your twisted pairs are probably nearly as old as your house - which could be 20, 30 or even 50 years.

I can't speak for you, but my house in the US was built in the 1930s, and the internal telephone cabling looks like it was installed in about the 70s or early 80s - and many of the pedastals in the town say either GTE or Verizon on them, so I would speculate that the cables from the CO or pedestal are well over a decade old, possibly nearing 2 decades, and certainly have not been replaced in the last 5. So the ROI timeframe was almost certainly more than 5 years and I would personally be surprised if it were that short, and that is the expensive part of building a network.

The less-expensive bit (the DSLAMS) "only" runs at around $100 per port for VDSL gear (that's Alcatel Lucent pricing, YMMV according to your vendor, FTTH pricing isn't too far off - 100mb modems can be had for about $53 each in quantities as low as 1,000 for stuff with 100mb ports and anywhere from $115 to $350 for gigabit stuff depending on the vendor) - and that amount of money even over 5 years amounts to a fairly trivial amount per month.

Other than that, you'll have some OPEX for powering and maintenance along the way but to make DSL happen it's not really *that* expensive if the lines are already in place. It's all the legal stuff, permitting, digging, labour (and in some countries, bribes) that really run up the bill when building a last-mile network. Or also, in some case, if you're not allowed to trench or build your own poles, paying the monthly or yearly fees for pole access can also end up pretty expensive, but with a high enough penetration rate the amount per end user isn't terribly significant if you're paying $50-100 or more per month.

we don't need to care about the 500 miles in between towns - the middle mile is already done (for the most part)

100 towns * 5000 residential homes each * 2 gb/s * .2 average usage = extra 200k gbs of traffic or 200 pb/sec of traffic. That's a big deal.

Your numbers are a bit off by a couple of orders of magnitude because ISPs tend to contend traffic - by what ratio will vary by provider but very few of them will have 100% of the bandwidth they sell on the middle mile (I'm fairly certain almost none do, I know bengie's ISP in rural where-ever-he-is does as he has mentioned this in many discussions on similar topics, but his ISP is probably the exception which proves the rule).

I know that up until recently (late last year), the local ILEC had 2gb/s for a town of 30,000 people (about 10,000 households) and several surrounding smaller towns (for a total population of maybe 75k) - while offering DSL speeds ranging from 3 to 40mb. Sure, it was not always great during peak hours, but those links have been upgraded to a couple of 10gb/s links (in part because as of about 2 months ago, said ILEC has a pilot gigabit FTTH program on, but also to alleviate congestion). I don't have exact numbers on what the local cableco had but IIRC it was in the vicinity of 10gb/s although they too have upgraded - they currently offer speeds up to 150mb/s and from what I've seen, that is near enough to achievable most of the time.

But joy of joys, all they needed to upgrade was the equipment at either end (and possibly some intermediary repeaters), not the entire fiber infrastructure between A & B. Again, at a fairly insignificant cost when spread out over the customer base in the area.

So what we are actually talking about is not 200k gigabits, it would be more like 200 to 500gbits all up - and of course, in a country like this one we're spreading that over between 4 and 8 regions with their individual cores/hubs in each. The current middle mile absolutely does have capacity to support traffic increases but that may vary by area and may also depend on who owns the fiber: some middle mile providers will only sell rated amounts rather than wavelengths or dark fiber, some are prohibitively expensive while others are not, and as we know, not all areas are built with redundancy.

Or since we are talking nationwide. America has 130m residences.
130m* 2gb/sec * .2 usage = 52 ebs of traffic. Our middle mile is remotely close to handling that.

We don't even have the technology to support a middle mile that large even if we were willing to spend a fortune. Now of course your point about delivering fiber capable of doing say 10gbs and only delivering 100mbs now is true. Any new infrastructure being put in in 2015 should be able to go faster than 1gbs. We agree there.

Again, calculations are still off by an order or two of magnitude. To be on the safe side, we'd need committed bitrate of about 1 and 2mb/s per subscriber (~300gb per month), irrespective of the actual speed provided (actually, while some users do use more than this, obviously, most users use well less than 300gb - but it's a nice round figure so I'm running with it). Given this information, we're looking at around 13tb/s.

But even if we multiply that amount by 10 so we can be sure that links are running well below capacity, you're only looking at about 13 million megabits or 130,000 gigabits or 130 terabits nationwide - and again, you don't need that 130 terabits all in one place, it can be spread out over several regions, so all this combined with core upgrades barely even make a dent when spread out over millions of subscribers as the larger players tend to have. That too assumes that the ISP doesn't take advantage of peering, caching/CDNs.

But going back to the original figure of 13tb/s, this actually sounds pretty reasonable given the scale of the networks of the larger providers, especially when spread across multiple regions of the country. To give you an example, Comcast announces traffic levels (non-specifically) of 1+ terabits (which suggests 1-2 - presumably this is border traffic since it's a BGP announcement and likely has an order of magnitude higher than that amount being routed around the internal network). Comcast offers plans in many markets of 100mb/s, so, I would suggest that Comcast is contending border traffic at somewhere between 100:1 and 1000:1 not counting private peers and whatnot.

Now, when upgrading bandwidth to the end user, what does Comcast need to do? It needs upgrade the middle mile to that market, maybe upgrade the CMTS, and maybe ship a new modem to the user. All of which are (fairly) trivial costs compared to running new cable, which it's unlikely to do unless it decides to change course.

The same cannot necessarily be said for the telco/DSL providers - to get much more out of them they *do* need to change to FTTx but again, the major cost is in the laying of last mile fiber - a once off piece of infrastructure, the capacity of which can be upgraded by changing the equipment at either end. They will not need to lay new fiber in 5 years to handle a speed increase from 100mb/s to 1gb/s or 1gb/s to 10gb/s and so they are surely looking at RoI of a decade or more. Even then, telcos in some areas are still trying to squeeze whatever they can by offering VDSL as a sort of stepping stone because it's cheaper for them and what *may* end up happening in some of these "FTTx" deployments for the lower income people is exactly that: fiber-fed VDSL equipment goes in the basement of the multi-tenant building supplying services up to 100mbit/s at a (relatively) low cost compared to putting fiber throughout.

Then there's G.FAST, which may or may not be a thing in the US - it remains to be seen.

I'm having trouble with your pronouns who is us? You seem to be shifting from a NZ perspective to a USA perspective.

I'm a New Zealander with interests in India (where I technically reside) and the USA (where my S/O is and I currently am). Hope that clarifies a little bit.

Anyway... that's the economics. If American towns think they can get 50 years out of a fiber buy then they can certainly pay for it. But they don't so they won't. And that's the point of my posts. People think internet is cheap to provide while the reality is it is very expensive to provide and they are paying a fair estimate for what it costs given a reasonable payoff matrix. If you think the matrix is grossly mispriced then invest in telcos because they are sitting on a goldmine or own your own fiber / become an ISP. Which it appears you have.

Absolutely. As mentioned, the major cost is all about digging and labour - upgrading equipment every few years at a cost of around $120 per port, it really isn't as big of an ask as you're making out - over 60 months it's around $2 per month. Then there's modem rental which even at $5/mo (which is below what most providers charge) could well pay for both those upgrades *and* the modem without adding meaningfully increasing the customers bill (and certainly not by the amounts you mentioned in earlier posts).

Make sense? (Sorry about the rambling/long winded reply)

Comment Re:Whats left unsaid... (Score 1) 120

It's a combination of more than just stupidity and corruption - many other things are at play, in my view.

A 5 year ROI is basically unheard of in an infrastructure build - 20-25 is about where it's at, because it's expected to last 50 (or more). Besides, it's fiber - the infrastructure required to put in 1gig vs 10gig is basically no different - you replace a device on either end when it comes time to upgrade, no extra building required.

One thing we also have to remember (which is often not cited or taken in to account by the naysayers) is that we only really need to concentrate on the last mile when thinking about a build like this - we don't need to care about the 500 miles in between towns - the middle mile is already done (for the most part) and has reasonably healthy competition (unless Zayo keeps buying everyone, then that might disappear), so in the vast majority of cases there's probably already fiber that can easily supply n*10gig or better to a CO/fiber hut/cabinet/etc.

Population density on a nationwide scale is a BS argument and personally I've never found a good argument other than FUD from incumbents and lobbyists as to why *any* built-up area of nearly any size can't have reasonably priced 100-meg or even gigabit Internet if they'd just build that last mile fiber.

Hell, why not start in smaller towns? No doubt there would be fewer issues with building and permitting, not to mention less resistance than there is in a place like NYC (landlords, city council etc). These are often the towns [incumbent] forgot, and by the time they realize, it'll be too late for them to do anything.

By comparison, NZ's fiber build is has a CPPP of about US$2k - the cities are generally low density and the entire thing is on a fault-line so in many respects they face some similar problems to the US, except on a smaller scale (fraction of the size, fraction of the population). More to the point, you have towns even with populations under 1,000 being wired with fiber. Last I checked, some parts of the build are even ahead of schedule and at the end of last year they had a competition to find the town most wanting of gigabit service - and the town that won got it along with the privilege of saying first in the southern hemisphere and so on. No additional build was required to jump from what started out as a 100mbit/s service to reach a 1gbit/s service over and above what was already being put in.

So what's different between us and the US? We as a nation are generally enthusiastic about fiber and most of the country is all for it, in part because it was sold to us as an investment in the future - to beyond 2020. Unlike here where the concern is for this year and next, at best. Which is probably why Frontier expects nearly $300 for gigabit service which allegedly became available where I am just a couple of months ago (though I've never seen a truck-roll for it, I had been waiting for it to be announced for nearly 2 years already, as the deal was struck in Q3 2013). FWIW, they only wanted about $150 for 100mb service - which is 2.5x more expensive than the cableco and about 1/3 what I can get a 100mb dedicated fiber circuit (complete with 4-hour SLA) for.

Comment Re:Whats left unsaid... (Score 1) 120

That doesn't excuse poor access in places like NYC, LA, Seattle, Chicago (you name it) - the conditions in those localities are similar enough to places like HK, Singapore or Tokyo that there's not a sufficiently significant difference in the actual technical ability or financial outlay for companies (or municipalities) to install properly high speed Internet and charge what users pay in a place like HK.

Comment Re:It's the end of the world as we know it! (Score 1) 307

Yeah. Okay. And how many companies are sitting on vast blocks that are only partially tapped?

Almost every university, for starters... Several of them that I know have /16s even though they only need maybe a /19 - or, arguably, even just a /23 or /24... because does every single machine on their network need a public IP? Not likely.

The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice.

Working...