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Welcome to the Fiberhood 132

cpfeifer writes "According to this article in the Washington Post, high-end subdivisions are running fiber-optic cable to each house and rolling the cost of broadband, digital cable and local phone service into the home owners association cost. Apparantly home pre-wired for broadband have a better resale value and higher demand in the market."
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Welcome to the Fiberhood

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  • This can be seen... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Taylor_Durden ( 605279 ) <> on Sunday September 01, 2002 @11:23AM (#4180453) Homepage
    At Celebration, Florida []. That's the perfect town that Disney [] created. My neighborhood is just starting to do this, thanks to me :). It really does increase resale value in the suburbs, though, as the computer programmers working in the city move out to research labs and cushier jobs in the suburbs, they want their broadband. The initiative in my neighborhood is expected to increase housing values five percents (about $10,000!). We also expect the neighborhood to gain reputation as a home for high-rolling techies, which should increase values further. A very big gain in money for small investment. I highly recommend it.
  • It's one thing.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    To roll the cost of infrastructure in, but it's another to tie the service in. What if it quite simply sucks? You lose the option of finding another provider.

    Well, I guess this is part of the reason I'd never live in one of these "communities."
    • Re:It's one thing.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by jhereg ( 24114 )
      and in this case you might want to check out
      the service terms: _t_and_c .pdf

      Note the part about how they reserve the right to
      collect info on your browsing habits.

      And of course even though that have all this acces
      you still can't host any services.
  • by jewf1sh ( 318856 )
    The only problem this poses is a lack of competition by local companies. If the costs are all rolled into the association cost, then this wouldn't allow the homeowners to actually choose their cable and phone providers. Although many places already have instances where there is not much choice, there are many others where several companies are competing, and allowing the subdivision to decide this for its homeowners could be a bad thing.
    • I own a single family home so correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the association made of owners of housing in that subdivision. If the provider isn't providing a good internet connection, service, etc. couldn't they just can them and get someone who would provide acceptable service? (unless the association board is taking kick backs from the provider. hehe) I would think though, the internet service is the only one you could really bargin for. Phone and cable is usually a virtual monopoly everwhere you go.
      • From what I've read, it is common for developers to rig the association rules so that they have control over the association. Then you have the prospect of the association awarding contracts to the developer's brother-in-law or whoever can give the developer the largest kickback.
    • Exactly! What is needed is a MIX or NAP where all the utils can interconnect your fiber with their services.

      What seems to be happening right now is either the first util to go in gets the market share, or the management group decides what is thought of as the best service (usually based mostly on price or sales pitch).

      The only problem with a MIX is there is a good possibility that one service may have something you want, but some other service may have something else you want (IE: VOD on one network, really high quality data access on the other).

  • I want to see the day when broadband or better runs side by side electrical cables(so long as they don't interfere with each other) and internet bills are just another household bill When can we see this happen? or will anti competitive behaviour get the better?
  • After reading this article, I have one question, "Why fiber?"

    Give me a new house, smartly wired with high quality cat-5, and a well designed termination closet. I'll add an 802.11[a|b|g] access point or three and its looking like a dream setup to me.

    I can get an entire switched ethernet setup for a fraction of the price it will cost me to get the ATM switches and nics for this place!

    Fiber has a theoretical bandwidth in the Gbps if not Tbps range. This seems like overkill for all my Quake, P0rn, and recipe archival needs.
    • ... and personally, I'd buy a house without the wiring and do it myself. Most of the "several thousand dollars" to rewire the place after it's built is labor costs. This sounds like an easy way to increase a house's value with via sweat equity, and there was a lot less sweat involved with running CAT5 than with the kitchen cabinets & tial in my present house!
      • Ahh, but can you dig a trench down the road to the local phone company box and hook up your fiber? I seriously doubt you could afford to hire that done. In California at least it is illegal for someone unlicensed to do that kind of work and getting permits to do it also sucks. Anyone can climb around your attic/basement/etc. and run a couple of cables. That is the easy part.

        • The orginal post suggestted that fiber was overkill, and I'd have to agree. A fully switched 100MBPS network with 802.1a WAP in the house and 1 DSL or even cable modem pipe up to the house would do fine. Right now I work in a building setup like this, except with a T1 to the home office, and it supports >100 people.

          Though your certainly right. I might pay to get fiber into the house, depending on cost, but take it from there myself.

          • It may support 100 people viewing web pages, but it wouldn't support people like me (programmer) who does more than hins share of uploading and downloading SQL2000 database backups at 100 megs a pop, runs web services using SOAP and XMLRPC and "shares" with friends.

            My cable modem at home (Time warner) is good but I like to come in to work on sundays so I can have the T1 all for myself. You know how long it takes to download the three ISOs for RedHat 7.3 on a T1? 5 hours. I would do it on my cable modem, but that would take more than 24 hours.

            And heck, people are going to be getting DVD and HDTV content via broadband. They'd better get T1 level each.

            And yes, if I had had the options to have fiber in my condo, I would definitely have ponied up 10 grand more. If I stay 5 years, that's $2,000 a year, or $166 a month. For faster than T1? Heck, count me in.

            Remember, there are people that make more money the faster their connection to the net. I would make $500 a month more per month utilizing that connection.

            • You make a good point, and certainly if it makes economic sense for me I'd get the fiber. However:

              1. I work for an R&D organization so it isn't just a 100 people browsing the web & emailing, it's mostly engineers moving schematics, board designs, code, & binaries between us & contractors, customers, & other company sites.

              2. I downloaded the RedHat 7.3 ISOs on my cable modem at home (Comcast) in about 5 hours. That's after they started capping rates.

              Considering the comments you've made, I'll certainly investigate & compare my options carefully before deciding the route to go.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well here's a few reasons why they went with the ATM of Fibre solution:

      1. Distance - fiber doesn't suffer from the same distance limitations. Especially in this case, where it is being run to 45 homes.
      2. QOS - There are other services besides their Internet connection, including telephone and digital cable. Both of these require the QOS levels that ATM can provide.
      3. I'm sure that it is not an ATM to-the-desktop setup. Most home would have a media converter in the basement that would put the ethernet frames over ATM.
    • The reason for fiber: cat 5 is limited to cable runs of 100 meters but fiber's limits are measured in Kilometers.

      Pulte Homes built a new 52 home developement here in Santa Clara, CA and contracted to FiberRide to handle connecting them to the internet. Each house is wired inside with cat 5 to each room. The houses are then connected to a central data center by fiber. This data center houses a Ciena optical switch which is directly connected to the internet.

      Bandwidth is rate-limited at the data center and each house gets as much symetrical bandwith as the owners are willing to pay for. $29/month gets you 200kps. I'm not sure about the upper limit, but I think it's in the 8MB/ps range.

      The initial cost of installing the cable runs and the data center is included with the purchase price of the house just like other utilites. FiberRide has wired a number of other new communities using the same layout and they have several competitors which are in essentially the same business.
      • Wow... how much does 8MB/ps cost? That's like 8x10^6 TB/s!

        Anyway, I wish my neighborhood did something like that. We had a hard enough time trying to get AT&T to put in regular cable TV, let alone cable internet (and this is in a middle- to high-end Dallas suburb).

      • $29 for 200Kbps? That doesn't sound like a deal when you get 1.5Mbps from Pac Bell for $50/month - and if you install yourself, no installation charge, and if you agree to a one year contract, you get the modem free.

        Now I suspect the service you get from a local data center is a LOT better than you get from Pac Bell, and of course your house is wired already, but still, speed-wise, that ain't good enough. The 8Mbps sounds good, but what does that cost? $1,500 a month?

      • Ok, I work for FiberRide (mentioned in previous post), and here's the new pricing breakdown for those of you interested in what fiber to the home costs for a home owner. Remeber these connections are symetric, so you can also serve as fast as you can take.

        200kbps ..... $ 26.50
        1,000kbps ... $ 42.50
        3,000kbps ... $ 67.50
        6,000kbps ... $ 90.00
        12,000kbps .. $135.00
        100,000kbps . $350.00
        Gigabit ..... Coming Soon
        Static IP's are $5/month a pop

        When it comes to what you do with the bandwidth, we currently just ask that it's legal.
    • The future of fiber-to-the home is Ethernet-like passive optical networks.
      • Re:ATM is dead (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Indeed but for the near term ATM is the only affordable solution, when "long haul" ethernet optics (100mbit) cost upwards of $20,000. Plus the cost of the chassis ($5,000) plus PSU's plus fan trays.. all-in a long haul ethernet system will cost $50,000 min per node, but on the possitive side Gbit Ethernet (long haul will cost $70,000). Both of these solutions use non IEEE approved optics so you can forget interoperability.

        Now if you want interoperability 10Gbit Ethernet is the only way to go simply as its the only group of standards to have IEEE defined long haul optics and physical layer. Cost will be $100,000 for the optics, $30,000 for the chassis, another $10,000 for the software (assuming foundry, extreme or cisco switch is used) throw in maybe another $30,000 for the fans and psu's and your sorted. Total cost $170,000 per node.

        Now who says there's not life in ATM for the next few years considering ATM NIC's can be had for under $1000.
    • I have fiber-to-the-home. It's great. It never goes out. I actually GET 10 Mbps throughput (as advertised)... It is rolled together in a package with my Basic Cable + HBO/Cinemax, + Phone Service (w/ 100 minutes LD included) all for about $130 a month. One company, one bill, & a company where people who answer the phone.. Once you've got it, you find it's undesirable to live without. And the price, it's about what I use to pay for 2 phone lines, Dial-Up Internet Access, and Cable TV. So for the same money, I get a lot more. (No longer need the second phone line since the computers no longer need to dial up. But if I did, it's only another $10/mo and I can have up to 4 lines with no additional equipment.)

      The company did some Cat 5 wiring for me as part of the install and the couple of computers in the house plug into a NAT box.

      You wouldn't believe how fast those Microsoft Service Packs download!

      Why Fiber? Because AT&T Broadband couldn't deliver me a dedicated 10 Mbps (in both directions) in their wildest dreams. You think you can get by with less, but when I was a kid, those guys with 2400 baud modems were on the bleeding edge! Then it was 9600, then 28.8k. Now I've got 10 Mbps and wonder if they'll be swapping out my home demarcation unit for one that delivers 100 Mbps instead in a couple of years.

      Hey, at least it's an option for me!
  • Look at Korea (Score:5, Informative)

    by AdamInParadise ( 257888 ) on Sunday September 01, 2002 @11:33AM (#4180490) Homepage
    This wonderful article [] from Wired (the mag, not the website) shows that fiber is already part of the sales pitch of any modern realtor. Way to go, Korea!
  • ...I'd just be happy to see a situation where broadband is actually available in this area. At the moment, despite the fact that I'm happy to pay for it, there's no company which will actually supply it to this area.
    Bah, the UK can really suck sometimes :/
    • ...I'd just be happy to see a situation where broadband is actually available in this area. At the moment, despite the fact that I'm happy to pay for it, there's no company which will actually supply it to this area.
      Bah, the UK can really suck sometimes :/

      The wonders of free market economics. Blame Thatcher. In just fifteen years the UK has become the country with the worst rail and health systems in Europe. I read in the papers today (I don't live in the UK) that the UK is now 'de-privitising' the rail system. What an expensive experiment Thatcherism has turned out to be.

      Whilst I'm ranting about the UK, here's a funny thing. Apparently most people in the UK think that the Euro is a "rip-off" and will result in higher prices for Brits if they enter. And this is the country where almost everything is more expensive than the rest of Europe! People travel to France to buy wine and Germany to buy cars, because they're so expensive in the UK!

      Ok rant over. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about the UK. It's just that some things look weird when you're on the outside.
      • Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about the UK. It's just that some things look weird when you're on the outside.

        Yeah, and on the inside too :)
        Don't even get me started on the states though.. at the end of the day everywhere has its problems. I just felt like ranting about mine here just happen to be broadband-related.
        • Don't even get me started on the states though.

          Careful! You'll be branded a hippy liberal eurotrash socialist communist America-hating appeaser (or some combination of those) if you say negative things about the good old US of A! ;-)
      • Yes, Britain's health and rail systems have many problems. But the blame is not Thatcher. When Thatcher came in, Britain was heading towards defaulting on its debt, and thereby having to choose between cutting services (i.e., the health and rail systems would have to be cut anyway) or raising taxes, which would further decrease incentives for business creation and personal work.

        Now, I am certainly no free-market zealot, but the fact is that when your tax rates keep rising in order to keep public servics available to all, at some point more and more people make the decision to stop working and to just live off the free public services. This of course, in the long run, means that government revenues are not as high as they need to be, and taxes have to be raised again, in a negative cycle.

        On the whole, the British economy today is far better than the German or French economies - and quite the opposite was true when Thatcher came to power. I'd say Britain has done something right. Clearly the majority of voters feel so, as it's been Thatcher, Major (Tory), and Blair (Labour emulating Tory policies) since 1980.
        • Clearly the majority of voters feel so, as it's been Thatcher, Major (Tory), and Blair (Labour emulating Tory policies) since 1980.

          Well, I'm not sure I'd entirely agree. I think Tony Blairs policys are extremely different to Thatchers - his 'third way' which balances free market economics and the social contract. Personally I think he's got it (mostly) right. If you think 'Blairism' is like 'Thatcherism' then you have a very bad memory!
  • talk about expensive to do! The contractor has got to subcontract to a fibre installation company to get the work done and hope that the worksers don't sut it with the back hoes!

    Sounds Like a mess, but probibly worth it.
  • 56-70Mbps? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) on Sunday September 01, 2002 @11:41AM (#4180508) Homepage
    For every user?

    While the maximum throughput can easily be that fast, the total bandwidth they are getting through those lines can't be more than usual 10-30Kbps/user in most of shared systems. They pay $135/mo for that plus digital cable TV + phone, but phone and cable TV are dirt cheap, so they pay $60-80/mo for the network connection -- comparable with high-end DSL, but this is a shared environment, it's supposed to be cheaper just because they buy the bandwidth for everyone at once. And what are the limitations -- can they run servers, do they have mandatory proxies on that?

    Also $100/mo just to "maintain" security and web-controlled sprinklers is insane -- those things are just devices, they run themselves, why the monthly fee?

    I doubt that good HOA (if it's HOA maintaining that and not just some company that is getting a hefty profit from that) will jack up the fees that much.

    • No you can not run a server at least according to
      the Openband T&Cs I see at: _c .pdf
      • If so, how will I see the difference between 256Kbps and anything above? Unless, of course, I constantly download (or watch streamed) movies, in which case the peak bandwidth means nothing, and average bandwidth over a long time means everything?

        It's easy to make an over-expensive setup (that the users will pay for), then charge them for it through the nose (including mandatory service package) yet make sure that their actual use will be the same as with half-decent DSL (so you just buy piddly T-1 for each 80-100 users, with actual cost per user at most $15 and call it broadband).
    • Also $100/mo just to "maintain" security and web-controlled sprinklers is insane -- those things are just devices, they run themselves, why the monthly fee?

      Have you ever tripped over a sprinker head? It happens. When it does, who replaces it?

      A security alarm is great, but wouldn't it be better if a security officer actually came out to your house and tried to catch the burglar if you weren't home? A judge here recently ruled that police have no right to enter your home if the front door is open and the burglar alarm is sounding, unless they get your permission first, but someone working for a security company you're paying a monthly fee to would clearly be able to do that.

      (Hopefully the ruling I mentioned will be overturned; in the mean time local police departments have said they will continue to do their jobs instead of just driving away like the judge seems to think they should.)
      • Have you ever tripped over a sprinker head? It happens. When it does, who replaces it?

        Whoever I'll call from a company that does sprinklers repair. I don't think that $100/mo is a package that both "web-enables" sprinklers and gives an owner free repairs while "not web-enabled" owners have to pay for repairs.

        A security alarm is great, but wouldn't it be better if a security officer actually came out to your house and tried to catch the burglar if you weren't home?

        Remote monitoring of security systems is a separate service, and it doesn't cost $100/mo either.

      • I havn't read the ruling, and I don't have any idea what it was about, but this is probably a pretty good guess:

        House had contraband in it. House had alarm go off. Cops go in and see drugs. Owners move to suppress evidence, citing entry without warrant, no probable cause, etc & therefore contraband evidence cannot be used at trial. Cops say that alarm was an "invitation" to entry so they didn't need a warrant & therefore could use contraband evidence against Owners. Judge agrees with Owners, evidence thrown out.

        If the above was what happened in the case you are talking about, then all it means is that, sure, the cops can go in, but if they find evidence of illegal activity, it cannot be used in court. Such a ruling would in no way prevent cops from entering to stop a criminal -- it would just keep them from busting the owners.
        • Owner was Damon Stoudamire of the Portland Trailblazers, and while looking for a burglar, they opened a crawlspace and found a pound of marijuana. The judge actually ruled not only that the evidence could not be used against him in court, but that the police actually had no right to enter and search the house at all without a warrant, despite the fact that the front door was open, the alarm was going off, and two neighbors had called the police.
  • These neighborhood nazis control how your property looks or what you can do on your own property (learned the hard way) Will they have the same control on the usage of your broadband connection?
    • Well, housing association property values are routinely linked so if one person's yard/house looks like sh!t, then it does lower the property values of the nearby houses. Hence, the restrictions on what you can and cannot do.

      However, in the case of the fiber connection, unless you're setting up a viewscreen in the front yard so everyone can see what web sites you're surfing, none of your neighbors should ever know what you're doing, so it can't lower property values, and therefore should not be included in a list of "prohibited activities".

    • by Weezul ( 52464 )
      The could deside to install filtering "for the children. Luckly, there are enough legal issues involved in filtering at the neighborhood level that the home owners association would likely just offer a filtering proxy as a service.. and (unfairly) make everyone pay for it.

      The good news is that your neighbors are likely a lot of ignorent baffons when it comes to technology, so the few people who (a) are tech savy and (b) are willing to contribute the effort to the neighborhood could exercise enough power to prevent bandwidth caps. Hopefully these people would be honest enough to bill the extra bandwidth to the right people.

      Anyway, the classical home owners association nazis are not a major threat here. Assuming they actually vote on things you should be able to manage things like cost quite effectivly. Heck, I say do this for phone lines too and cut your monthly phone bill in half. The real risk here is that the developer would maintain significant control over the homeowners. You could end up paying more for internet if the developer was taking a cut off the monthly service.. or taking a kickback for forcing the development to stay with a specific provider.
      • The could deside to install filtering "for the children. Luckly, there are enough legal issues involved in filtering at the neighborhood level that the home owners association would likely just offer a filtering proxy as a service.. and (unfairly) make everyone pay for it.

        Actually, no, there aren't really any rules concerning running a proxy (at least in the US). In fact, there aren't really any rules concerning anything in home owner associations, or the Internet, or FTTH.

        It may not be fair, but home owner's associations do tend to have a lot of say in how your house looks and what you can and can't do. The usual answer is "take it or leave it." And, since you singned the contract when you moved in, that is usually just fine.

        What needs to happen is a total decoupling of content and infrastructure. There is no reason for my ISP to provide me e-mail, news access, etc. It takes resources away from what they seem to want to do, which is to run a network, and they don't seem to do it very well, either. Yet, I use it and pay for it. If they would let me drop their e-mail and news access for a reduction in the monthly rate, I would find some other provider for these services (or, better yet, just set up my own server).

    • My take on HOA's, they SUCK.

      You are a bitch to the developers, they pack houses in like sardines (sp?) so you have no choice but to see your 27 closest neighbors. If you had some space for a yard and some trees it should not matter what fucking color your mailbox is. They even limit your shrubbery, I'd would not be surprised if they start banning cars older then 10 years from your driveway. Here in the DC suburbs the housing market is still kicking. I pitty the new owners of the nice $600K 3000ft2 houses on a 3500ft2 lots. Don't have cable? Walk out on the beautiful backdeck of your sunroom and look around, I'm sure you can see at least 15 of your neighbors tv's.

      I'm sure some people enjoy this lifestyle and in some areas of the country it is unavoidable. In the DC area there is tons of land in 5 or 10 acre pieces that would be cheaper and better then the prefab subdivision choice.
  • You can get a gigabit over fairly long runs of cat5 copper, why do you need fiber? Do you actually anticipate having more than a gigabit of traffic to your house? It costs too much to terminate the stuff. People who buy a house just because it has fiber are missing out on reality.

    Not to mention, given that cable providers are going to metered bandwidth on measly 1.5mbps connections, DOCSIS cable modems provide MORE than enough bandwidth for the forseeable future. (That's maxes of 45mbps non-shared down and 11mbps shared up.) But soon enough you won't even be allowed to use that at peak all the time, at least not without paying a lot more money, to the point where you might as well get your own T1, which is... you guessed it, carried over copper.

    Want to do me a favor when you wire my home? Run a LOT of copper, and a couple chunks of coax. The fiber would be cute but I doubt I'll ever need fiber to my door, and more to the point, I doubt anyone will ever provide me anything via fiber which wouldn't be better (and more cheaply) provided over copper.

  • It occurred to me the other day that the natural gas companies are in the perfect position to become the sole utility provider.

    They have to bury their pipes anyway. It's dead easy to also run fiber at the same time. Goodbye telco. Add in some efficient fuel cells for electricity, and the power companies are toast. Heck, they could do damage to auto gas stations by figuring out how to refuel electric cars.

    What I particularly like about this scheme is that power poles would disappear. What an eyesore they are!

    (well, i can dream, anyway...)
  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <> on Sunday September 01, 2002 @12:06PM (#4180582)
    First of all, change comes to the home builders market about ten years after the decision is first raised. It's only within the last couple years that home builders are defaulting to CAT-5 cable..maybe in a few years we'll have CAT-6e or whatever, but anyway...the point is that people have been telling these developers that they are idiots for giving away last-mile easement rights to the local monopolies.

    These developers just assume that they HAVE to do it, or that no one will buy their homes without PacBell/AT&T service (insert your appropriate local monopoly here). This couldn't be further from the truth. One of the deciding factors in choosing where I lived was the availablility of CHOICE. Note I said choice, not alternate carriers.

    What happens if you only have an alternative carrier who runs only fiber to the home, and then setups a boilerplate EULA with terms that you don't agree to? The monopolies have to get permission from the Public Utilities Commission before they change any of the long standing rules and regulations. And, in theory, if they tried to do something devious, like charging you extra for modem versus voice calls (which they tried) we can cry loudly to the PUC and get it defeated (which fortunately we did or the Internet might not have grown at the rate that it did).

    The best thing a developer could do is lay smurf tubes all over the place and then leasing them to whatever provider is interested in setting up service. Then, fill one set of tubes with fiber infrastructer and lease that to whoever wants to provide service (be it data, video, VoIP, whatever) over that fiber. Free open access to whoever wants it. Heck, the local monopolies might even use one of their business-class subdivisions to provide those kinda of services to home level consumers for once. They might even do it at a price consumers can afford.

    But the point is you need choice. Where I live, we have fiber to the home service. But the company went bankrupt and it now my fiber to the home service is being run by the company who purchased them. So far, nothing has changed, but I'm glad that just in case they decide to do somethign stupid...I can always come crawling back to the local monopolies because this development just happens to have wiring for both.

    - JoeShmoe

    • Ignoring the way the wires run to your house, why aren't there associations that run a phone switch, in addition to providing internet access? They could provide far more features (multiline, hold, smart forwarding, voicemail, etc) for far less per month than the phone company would and long distance could probably be negotiated in bulk as well.

      • Running a phone switch might classify them as a CLEC, which would require them to fill out a zillion forms and be subject to regulation. Complying with that regulation is apparently pretty expensive. This was mentioned in a recent /. interview with somebody who's running a DSL co-op.
  • This is a good thing even if it ends up burning a few people or doesn't "fit" with some people's own style.

    People have complained already "lack of competition." Hello? With access to Cable Internet as well as DSL? It's simple for business people to understand that when there are obvious options, and obvious interest in the product, it's an obvious market zone to install services if they aren't already present. The only possible reason I could imagine they [cable and DSL] wouldn't want to enter that market is that the competition would drive prices lower and they wouldn't make "as much" money. Eventually, demand for the service at a reasonable and acceptable price will be met. This is just another step in that direction.
  • So evidently one has to be able to afford a McMansion in order to get a broadband connection -- all because of monopolies on the last mile (Cable and telco).
  • Seen it, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by E-Rock-23 ( 470500 ) <lostprophyt@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday September 01, 2002 @12:27PM (#4180661) Homepage Journal
    For a time, I worked in the construction racket, doing fiberglass insulation. Yeah, seeing the homes wired for broadband is neat, but then again, the quality of the homes I insulaetd lacked HEAVILY. S&A Homes is the biggest culprit. They build homes with warped 2x4s, particle board, and other cheap materials. And then they sell these shacks for somewhere in excess of $200G or more. I swear that the fibre is the most expensive part.

    If you want to go this route and are building a new home, make sure you DEMAND that your home is at least framed in 2x6s (2x10 is optimal, IMHO) and covered in strong plywood. If I were the homeowner, I wouldn't be happy to know that someone can break into my home with a super soaker and a pocket knife...

    Be careful which builder you choose, and make sure you supervise the construction at every step. Otherwise, the resale value won't be shit, fiber or not. Just another case of buyer beware...

    Now, let's see how many ACs flame me because they know better. Seems to be a curse of mine lately...
    • I certainly won't flame you, I used to live in a development in Virginia made by Ryland rhomes, and the shit you'd see in these places. Think stairs only affixed with nail beds and no bolts, peeling roofs only a few years after sale, not to mention the levittown aspect of the whole thing. Blech. I'm very happy to say I live in a solid house, 40 years older than me. I honestly wouldnt' trust the people who built these homes with a network, as they'd find some way to make it as disposably as possible.

      And the fact that 2x6 is considered the bare minimum for framing is the sad part. Also, if you tr4y to surpervise the building in such a development I don't think you get a better home, all you see is all the drunks, criminals and amateurs who have ovverrun these mega developments. And yes, I know that there are honest trademen, but they quickly get away from the Ryland and toll bros as quickly as possible and work on projects that aren't going to nickle and dime them into poor quality work.


    • alternatively you could have your house built with blocks with two layers plus a cavity for the external walls.
    • My brother-in-law and his wife live in a new, slap-together home. Yeah, the home looks good, but it does have an HOA, and we recently got to find out how much of a "deal" it was...

      One night, he was out hitting golfballs into the riverbed (yeah, the clue that the development is built in a riverbed in the Phoenix area, where flashfloods are a rarity during monsoon season - no clues here) from his backyard - when he hit one and it hit a fence post...

      Bounced off the fencepost (and missed him) and hit the house! Went THROUGH the wall, clean through - leaving a golf-ball sized hole, damage on the inside of the house (golf ball bouncing around). There was nothing in between the stucco on the outside and the drywall on the inside - just insulation and some styrofoam board!

      My wife and I, well - we bought a home made from block, in an established neighborhood. Our house is much older (going on 30 years), but it has better construction, looks nice, great neighborhood, and best of all...

      NO DAMN HOA!

  • A customer-owned, fiber, "last-mile" and a carrier-neutral colo is as important as the technology itself. Otherwise the fiber loop will be prey to monopolistic behavior and society will lose.

    Fortunately, the majority of our roads are not toll roads and they are not controlled by private monopolists. Our information links need to meet these same standards. Municipal or customer ownership of the last mile and a carrier-neutral colo are musts for progress.

    PS. Connect our schools and libraries first.
  • As usual, I'll post the URL to the page where my parent's 100 Mbps FTTH project is described.

    It has been slashdotted before (it could stand the load, thanks to []) and have had over 70 000 visitors (not all unique).

    Anyway, the page is at [] and on the page in my signature.

  • From the article:

    Emily Kemp, a telemarketing consultant who works out of her home, said she and her husband moved from a non-wired townhouse in another part of Broadlands to the wired Southern Walk neighborhood for space reasons...

    "Telemarketing Consultant" and really good Internet connection ... I have some suspicions...

  • ...this really isn't surprising. If you build a serious of houses with a shitload of rad mod cons built in (broadband Internet access, 120 cable channels, home security systems) then obviously the house is going to be worth more.

    What is a surprise is that it doesn't appear to be just geeks who dig this stuff.

  • Check out They're pioneers in this field and it's available in a few towns already.
    • Ack, never mind the parent. Dammit. Winfirst was starting a buildup of Fiber-to-the-home in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Denver, Phoenix and a few other cities. I guess they got bought out this year...starting your own network from scratch is expensive.

      • I've got WinFirst, now Surewest Broadband.

        It kicks ass. Its everything FTTH was supposed to be. I'd heard the pipe dreams about how FTTH was gonna change my life and how everything would be reliable and just work -- guess what -- it does.
  • If Max Kipfer does the same kind of job running OpenBand that he did while he ran Cablevision of Loudoun (bought by Adelphia a few years ago), homeowners can expect overpriced service on a poorly-maintained system.

    And since nobody else will likely be able to bury anything in that neighborhood, they'll be stuck with them for POTS and Internet access. Verizon may suck at a lot of things, but they're real good at making sure you have a dial tone when you need to call 911 in the middle of the night. (Fortunately, they can't restrict DBS dishes, so at least there's an escape route for TV.)

  • I don't know much about the copper vs fiber stuff, but I do know that I've got fiber between my house and the CO and I can't get squat for good Internet access. DSL is right out, since it's a copper-only solution. The local cable company doesn't offer Internet access and the satellite company won't think of offering Internet access to anything that's not Windows. (Though I'll admit that these last two have nothing to do with fiber.)

    So, I've got fiber. Yea. Big whoop. What does this matter? How can I turn this situation around without going broke?

    • You probably have a copper loop from your house to a box nearby in your neighborhood, with a fiber line from that box to the phone company's Central Office. The phone company can install a remote terminal at that box, and connect the end of your copper loop to that, so you can still get DSL. The actual DSL part of the line is just from your house to that box; from there the data is encapsulated in ATM cells and sent over fiber, and everything else works as normal. The good news is, your copper loop is under 2,000 feet, so you should have a fantastic connection. The bad news is, a remote terminal may be less reliable (and harder to service) than a DSLAM in the CO, so it may go down from time to time. The other bad news is, the phone comapny is probably too cheap to install one in your neighborhood, but it doesn't hurt to keep asking.
  • I find this article to be about four years too late. Four years ago, a community (Pheasant Run Crossing) in the town of Blacksburg, VA (home of Virginia Tech) already was running fiber to the home. Before they even started the foundation, they had already carved up the roads to lay in the two pairs (4 separate for redundancy) of fiber from the little communication building they had built next to the central mail kiosk. They had ran these pairs of fiber to all the proposed lots that they were building and allowed outside ISP to bid for the contract to provide the internet access. When I was there before graduation, the company that was providing the service was Floyd Communications. A small ISP that much to my surprise was running a serious network and provided some bad ass uptimes. I don't ever recall our network ever being out. With the exception of our own power outage which was only 2 times during 2.5 years that I lived there. Though at the time my friends and I ran a colocation center and also at the time, home of

    The price was great! $30/month for one single static IP. Not DHCP! If you wanted more than one, they provided awesome deals. $27/month for two and even less if u wanted more.

    Each town home had its own Fiber to 10base hub. Yeah I know it's only 10base, but hey, I was still getting 100KBps (not bits)on many IRC dcc bots :-) Each room had its own RJ45 jack so it was straight plug and play. We ran the old Linux kernel hack that provided the original IP Masquerading! LOL :-)

    When I graduated from VT in 2000, and moved up to Northern Virginia (some dubbed the silicon valley of the East Coast) much to my surprise cable modem was not a common thing, and when I asked around about ppl putting in fiber into the home, all the builders gave me the strangest look.

    Go hokies!
  • Avery Ranch in Ausitn Texas is a 4500 home master planned "community". I'm building there. All homes have fibre. Service is from Clearworks []. I'll get a 10MB ethernet drop, plain-ole-telephone, vide entertainment, and security monitorying for about $150/mo. Not bad.

    I can upgrade to a fast-ethernet link for another $100/month. As far as I know, there are no restrictions on the kind of servers I can run on the net. This is unlike TimeWarner which has all kinds of restrictions.
    • I live in Canyon Gate @ Northpointe, another Clearworks neighborhood just outside Houston, TX. I believe this was the first neighborhood Clearworks wired in 1999. We do have fiber running to every home, amusingly they run seperate copper and coax runs for phone and cable TV - even if you get all service from Clearworks (as I do) the cable and phone don't use the fiber - it's for ethernet only (and "only" at 10mbit).

      Service? Well, there have been two outages since I've had them (nearly a year) and both were repaired within 24 (one was a fiber cut, other a failed switch).

      Speed? Easily comparable (and usually better than) cablemodem or DSL service. I have seen as high as 6mbit/sec substained (over the course of a 100meg download), but 1.5-2.0mbit/sec is more the norm.

      I've got no complaints. ;-)
  • With all the former customers for fiber hardware gone south for an extended winter, how many adjacent homes with a common interest in fiber would it take to make it economical, using hardware that ought to be presently available cheap? I'm not talking public right-of-way, but private, if say I and 20 of my neighbors can work out to string a local fiber net between our properties. So the cost would be fiber plus hardware plus leasing a line in plus some Linux boxen for routing and whatever local services the co-op wanted to run. What would the local fiber plus hardware come to? How many ways would a fiber line into the block need to be split before rent on the thing got under $100 a month per co-op member?
    • See, thats the problem - you want to figure out how to make $100 per subscriber. If a 'big company' wanted $100 per broad band link, slashdotters would be screaming for their heads.

      Broad band needs to be priced in the $25 per month range to make it really take off fast.

  • Knowing the way my assosication operated, and all the stories I have heard about various ones around the country, these are the last people I would want controlling my internet. In my experience in condo living, the oldest retirees' are the ones controling it all, since they have nothing else to do. Within houses and new communities, there is one out here in south orange county, CA, that doesn't even allow people to park in their own driveway overnight. Anyone that parks on the street needs a pass from a homeowner. Anyone in violation get a ticket with an actual cash fine, although I think it's only for the homeowners, not for everyone else.

    So what are these associations going to do with my internet access? It will be too expensive, manditory, slow, controlled, serverless to the extreme, with an EULA that will be so restrictive you can't get it out of the envelope it came in.

    Oh well, I hope I am being pedantic and paranoid.

  • is it just me, or is the quality of digital cable terrible compaired to normal, coaxial service?
  • So you've moved into a house tract or condo complex with fiber providing cable television, your telephone service, and internet connectivity. How much is it going to cost to make sure your telephone service meets the federal requirement for uptime?

    The law says your primary telephone service needs to have a full time backup in times of emergency and otherwise shouldn't be going down like a drunken prom date. If you look up many fiber provider's terms of service you'll notice you HAVE to pay for supplimentary copper lines from a regular phone company to meet said requirements. Are these fiber lines going to have backup generators and all that redundant fanciness or will these home owners need trditional copper lines?
  • "...home owner association..." -- that's the deal-breaker. There's no way in hell I'm buying a house in an HOA community and paying US $50 - 250 a month for an organization that, based on past experience, does nothing but tell me what I can't do with the house I just spent several hundred thousand dollars for. "Oh, you want to fly a flag? Nope, can't do that." "Oh, you want to put up an outdoor light that's brighter, clearly illuminates the house number, and turns on and off with the daylight? Nope, sorry." "Oh, you want to build a deck with railing that runs vertically or diagonally so that your children can't fall through? Nope, it must be horizontal. But we do offer bitchin' broadband!" No, thanks, it's not worth the cost or the aggravation. I could put those monthly HOA dues towards my own broadband that doesn't come with those gargantuan strings attached, or I'll get together with the neighbors in our non-HOA -- THANK GOD! -- neighborhood and roll our own wireless coop or something of that ilk.
  • from the pa city council meeting last night
    may cost approx $2K per house to set up fiber to the home + monthly services fee (2 x DSL?)
    high speed data + video + 2nd voice line seen as integral to plan
    in place in 2-3 yrs if decision is a go
    how do these numbers match up with other fiberhood installs?

    if video and 2nd voice line are seen as necessities to make the dollar equations come out right, does that force the choice away from ethernet-over-fiber?

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