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Test Selling "Last Mile" Fiber to Homeowners Under Way in Canada 196

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the more-individual-control-the-better dept.
Ars Technica is covering an interesting pilot program taking place in Ottawa, CA. 400 homes are being outfitted with fiber optic cables; however, the "last mile" of fiber is going to be sold outright to the homeowners rather than providing internet at a monthly fee. "In the future, it could become commonplace for homes to come with 'tails.' These customer-owned, fiber-optic connections would link them to a network peering point. Without the expense of rolling out last mile infrastructure to every home, many more ISPs could afford to serve a given neighborhood by running wiring to the peering point, leading to more competition and lower prices. Perhaps best of all, the growth of customer-owned fiber could make debates over 'open access' and network neutrality moot, as robust telecom competition should prevent the worst of the monopolistic behavior exhibited by telco and cable incumbents."
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Test Selling "Last Mile" Fiber to Homeowners Under Way in Canada

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:49PM (#24440519)

    I remember back in the day a wealthy friend of mine had a line to his house that he had actually paid for, a quarter T I believe it was -- he was still liable for all full payments (even more), and susceptible to shutoffs at a whim.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by statemachine (840641)

      susceptible to shutoffs at a whim

      Your friend had a fractional T1 and didn't have an SLA?

    • by Burz (138833)

      I won't prevent anything *until* residents start linking their 'tails' together to form local area networks of their own. Maybe from there, they can link those LANs up to satellites, microwave links of a combination of alternatives.

  • Sure hope that this can become an option in the U.S. A couple days of using the backhoe to dig the ditch would pay for itself.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:55PM (#24440617)
      You use a ditchwitch to cut a trench, not a backhoe. It only needs to be a few inches wide. Right tool for the right job.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lilomar (1072448)

        Backhoes are more fun!

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Can a ditchwitch fill the trench back in too ?
        • by mpoulton (689851) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:51PM (#24442187)

          Can a ditchwitch fill the trench back in too ?

          Automatically. You can either run it to cut a narrow trench and deposit the dirt off to the side, or you can run it to automatically cut the trench, lay in pipe or wire from a spool, and drop the dirt back on top. It then requires only a little watering and compaction and you are done. Fast and easy.

      • equipment (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A trencher is good but sometimes the ground has huge nasty rocks. We use all three here on the farm do do trenching, ditchwitch, backhoe, trackhoe. You can even use a ripper plow and then go back over it with the blade and smooth it back out if it is all soft mostly. That's really fast if you have a big crawler to drag it, it's like butter then. Just depends on your terrain and how deep you want to go.

        With that said, I wish we had better options on wireless. It's gotten really old them tards in government s

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ristonj (1195983)
        Which ditch did the ditchwitch witch if the ditchwitch did witch ditch?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by The FNP (1177715)

          The ditch that the ditchwitch would witch if the ditchwitch did witch ditch.

          I'm waiting for my +2 Offtopic.

          --The FNP

      • by rossz (67331)

        I prefer using high explosives. It does a shitty job, but it's a whole lot more fun.

      • by mpoulton (689851) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:49PM (#24442175)

        You use a ditchwitch to cut a trench, not a backhoe. It only needs to be a few inches wide. Right tool for the right job.

        Usually not. Most communications trenches are 18 to 24 inches wide. Why? Because the cable is pulled in 3" or 4" conduits, which must be laid on a bed of compacted gravel (called "shading"), covered with more shade, and then backfilled. This requires working space in the trench. Usually multiple conduits are laid too, and telecom is often co-trenched with other utilities below it. A narrow bucket on a backhoe is the tool of choice. I have never seen a ditchwitch used to install pipe for telecom. Ditchwitches are the tool of choice for small irrigation pipe, small buried electrical feeders, and other really light duty applications. Yes, IAACC (commercial contractor).

      • by Oktober Sunset (838224) <sdpage103@yahoo.co . u k> on Friday August 01, 2008 @08:34PM (#24443145)
        I've never heard of a ditchwitch before, so I just googled for a picture of one, and I have to ask the question: Why on has no one thought to have the hero drive one of these things in a zombie film?
    • It is. Since http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.12/view.html?pg=5 [slashdot.org]">four and a half years ago.
    • by symbolset (646467) * on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:30PM (#24441187) Journal

      Maybe a bunch of us in my neighborhood could get together and arrange something like this. We could string fiber to all of the homes in an area, like on poles or something... Maybe, since we're putting up poles we could get electricity to the homes as well.

      We need a name for something like this that expresses the general usefulness of it for all the customers in the area. I know... let's call it a "public utility district."

      Now how to pay for it... since it affects everybody, maybe some sort of property tax.

      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        Ya'll live in the Tennessee Valley area?

        • by symbolset (646467) *

          You have to have sigs turned on in order for this joke to work. Here, I'll help:

          A public utility district is authorized to provide telecommunications services. - WA SB 6102 2007

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kristoph (242780)

        In fact my new house is in a community (in WA) where, during the plan of the subdivision, they mandated fiber to every home.

        The service provider is owned by the local council. They provide 24x7 support. All hardware, including the hookup and the fiber router is free.

        The only drawback is that every home owner - even those who do not use the service - have to pay the minimum fee, which is $42 per month for 6MB symmetrical / 20MB symmetrical is an extra $50.

        I think this service has been around for about 5 year

    • In the city? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Roger W Moore (538166)

      A couple days of using the backhoe to dig the ditch would pay for itself.

      Ottawa is a city. There tend to be pavements, roads, concrete etc. in the way not to mention a city council that will get rather ticked off if you dig a large trench into the middle of the street. While the idea seems nice in principle is the city going to give homeowners the right to dig up the street to fix their connection if it fails? Are there really going to be multiple companies connecting to the streets central hub to provide a real choice of service? On the face of it it seems rather impractical.

  • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:52PM (#24440569) Journal
    This will be great... so much better than being at the whims of our ISPs (which are going the way of AT&T and comcast - changing policies and restricting access because they can).

    I do shudder at paying for repairs to 'my' section of fibre optics - I mean, what happens when they get cut because someone is out digging in the yard? It is pretty hard to get other people to pay for their mistakes... especially if they're expensive!

    But, I certainly could go for a community network, even if it was partly independant of the internet - it would make p2p much faster, and more difficulty to monitor.
    • "what happens when they get cut because someone is out digging in the yard?"

      The same thing that happens if you're out digging in the yard and the part of the water line that you're responsible for gets broken?

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Why not buy insurance for backhoe incidents? Hell, you can add it to your home owners insurance.

      Personally, I dont think this is at all feasible. The labor of laying down that one line could be better spent laying down 20 lines at the same time and getting everyone on your block. I could see block co-ops working hand-in-hand with local telcos, but I wouldnt hold my breath. At this point you might as well go whole hog and do municipal fiber broadband.

      • Personally, I dont think this is at all feasible. The labor of laying down that one line could be better spent laying down 20 lines at the same time and getting everyone on your block.

        RTFA. The fiber is already installed. Now the plan is to sell the existing fiber to the homeowners.

      • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:14PM (#24441797) Homepage Journal

        The "easiest" solution would be to run a bunch of fibres to some "neutral" point on each block. Although this uses multiple cables, with one cable per end-point in the junction box, it's the same distribution mechanism that cable currently uses. (You see cable junction boxes on some telephone poles, but also as small green pedestals in front of houses and as junction boxes on the sides of apartment buildings.) The "last mile" becomes the "last few feet", with the cable relatively easy (and therefore relatively cheap) to reach and replace.

        If you wanted to do municipal/metropolitan broadband, you'd have 32 fibres run to each block, then a 256-way multicast-capable, MPLS-capable router linking four blocks together. (MPLS, or some other virtual circuit protocol, would then uniquely tag a user's stream, so it can be identified further along.) This would be linked to a switch, in the case of larger cities, which would link up a fairly large set of these 4-blocks into a well-defined subset of the city. You'd then have a set of top level multicast-capable MPLS-capable routers that linked the layer below it onto the public Internet, possibly through multiple gateways. Residents would then "buy" Internet access from the providers as always, but this would only require adjusting a QoS table entry in one top-level router that identified how much bandwidth a given virtual circuit had on the public Internet and which gateway that connection would use.

        For intra-city connections - say, IMing a friend in the next building - you would only go over the metronet, and your connection could sensibly be whatever speed the local fibre could handle - call it a gigabit per second - provided the upstream networks weren't saturated, as you're working over shared pipes some of the way. Saturation can be avoided by placing routers and switches in parallel. You could load-balance between them, or you could have them working wholly in parallel and have very high-speed switches linking the independent metronets together into a collective metronet. In either case, it makes no difference which router a packet comes in on or goes out on, even if the routers are not on the same "tree" per-se.

        If you don't have limited funds, then saturation is inevitable at some point. To minimize the overall impact, routers should be enabled with CBQ or HFSC, such that each virtual circuit has a guaranteed bandwidth (something it can always reach, no matter how busy the network) and a hard maximum bandwidth of whatever the local few meters connection can support, where the guaranteed bandwidth is either an equal fraction of the network at that segment or the hard maximum, whichever is less.

        Could this be done? Yes. It's not anti-competitive, as ISPs still end up selling bandwidth to customers the way they have always done. The metronet doesn't replace the ISPs, it replaces the need for excessive physical wiring and it allows ISPs that provide broadband to do so without buying/maintaining quite so many expensive DSL modems, so it cuts the ISP's costs.

        Is such a model in use? Yes. It's how natural gas and electricity are sold already. It's how DSL works, for the most part, as DSL companies all share the same phone lines. The difference is the line supplier, not the principle.

    • Well unless I am missing something entirely here or having a brain fart (it is Friday afternoon and all) you would still be at the whim of some type of ISP. I mean the fiber goes back and connects to someone's network somewhere, right? And someone somewhere has to give you an IP address.

      My concern would be paying $3000 for this and then the company providing actual access to the rest of the internet going under. So where do I get my refund? Or am I stuck with a "dark" fiber cable in my yard that connect

    • by Renraku (518261)

      Well..

      Repairing fiber is very, very expensive. They'll have to come up with an easy way of replacing the fiber if it gets damaged, or most people won't want to pay thousands to replace it when they break it. Replacing fiber is quite a bit cheaper, the hardest part is just getting the fiber into its armor and running the armored cable. Since we're not talking about OC48-grade connections, one or two strands in a thin shell would suffice.

    • You can fix it for rather cheap. Call up the local FBI office or if you want an upgrade the This Agency Does Not Exist. Tell them you need it repaired. It will be. And you'll receive additional "upgrades" at no extra cost!

    • by monxrtr (1105563)

      I do shudder at paying for repairs to 'my' section of fibre optics - I mean, what happens when they get cut because someone is out digging in the yard?

      That's covered by the contracting ISP that's servicing the line in their monthly rates, just as it currently is covered by the monopoly contracting ISP. Multiple companies compete to provide the service, the winner gets the privilege.

  • by garcia (6573) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:54PM (#24440595) Homepage

    Paying $2700 for a fiber connection may seem like a lot, but plenty of people spend more than that on other high-tech gadgets. High-end gaming machines and laptops still cost more than $2700. And, Wu notes, a fiber connection will probably sell with the house; a couple thousand dollars is a pittance compared with the amounts many customers pay for remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, new windows, and the like.

    I have fiber running less than 100 feet from my house. Why the fuck can't I just access that? I realize that they are talking about Ottawa Canada here, but why can't someone just ask me if I want to pay money to tap into the cables that are so close to me? While I don't believe $2700 is at all reasonable for what they are asking (especially in the United States) and I couldn't tell you more than a handful of people that would even know what Fiber to your door means let alone have it be a selling point, I still want someone to come to me and say, "hey, you can use that McLeod fiber that is right there -- today -- enjoy."

    Ah, my dreams.

    • Can't just tap it (Score:5, Informative)

      by statemachine (840641) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:14PM (#24440939)

      A fiber isn't something you can just tap into without negative results. You'll need to cut it then add a splitter.

      Assuming it went perfectly, you've just
      1) Killed the network for everyone using that fiber for the time it was cut
      2) degraded the signal(light) for everyone
      3) ponied up for several (10's of?) thousands of dollars in equipment because that signal won't likely be usable by low-end short-haul consumer equipment.

      Now imagine all your neighbors doing that.

      You'll need some type of remote terminal for your neighborhood.

      Even in the old days of vampire taps on coax there were limits.

      • by Bobtree (105901)

        Please mod parent up. You can't just tap an existing active fiber optic line any more than you can just take a sip from an open fire hose.

        • by Tmack (593755) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:34PM (#24441257) Homepage Journal

          Please mod parent up. You can't just tap an existing active fiber optic line any more than you can just take a sip from an open fire hose.

          Better "series of tubes" analogy: you cant just cut a hole and screw your garden hose to the nearest water main, you need pressure reducers, check valves, cuttoffs, a meter, and other pipe fittings, and it reduces the service level to everyone else on the same pipe, and you have to take it out of service to put in the T.

          With fiber its that * 10, generally your fiber will run with with everyone elses' (and maybe even along side the backbone) to a fiber hut somewhere down the line, where they all patch into transceivers and fiber-mux's to be piped back upstream or around the ring. Sure, the backbone itself might be laid at the edge of the road 20' from your door, but the nearest fiber hut could be a few miles down the road. Same reason you dont normally see the houses directly under high-tension power lines running taps to them...

          tm

    • by bockelboy (824282) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:59PM (#24441577)

      Doesn't always work like that.

      My university is about 2 miles from the fiber backbone which connects Denver to Chicago. I believe it's the primary line from the East Coast to West Coast. Tons and tons of capacity.

      However, after doing a cost analysis, the university bought IRUs on fiber to a peering point about 150 miles south of us solely because the cost of tapping in to the nearby fiber would have been insane. In fact, that was the last option - it would have been cheaper to buy fiber from here to Chicago, 500 miles away.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)
      And, Wu notes, a fiber connection will probably sell with the house; a couple thousand dollars is a pittance compared with the amounts many customers pay for remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, new windows, and the like.
      .

      If you are looking for a return when it comes time to sell your house... all I can tell you is that the odds are better in Lotto.

      The choices you make in tech - like those you make in interior design - are personal. The buyer sees your dream house, not their dream house.

  • by atfrase (879806) on Friday August 01, 2008 @04:58PM (#24440657)
    When I read this, the first thing that came to mind was that in theory, you could do a similar thing with electricity, and then maybe the electric company wouldn't have to be a sanctioned monopoly anymore.

    And then that thought went the other direction: maybe the broadband internet access market will start looking more like the electricity market, rather than the other way around.

    As things stand now (in the US at least), broadband competition is all but non-existent for the same reasons as more conventional utilities: the prohibitively high infrastructure cost for competitors to enter the market. If this experiment doesn't enable viable competition, maybe it's time to think about applying the regulated-monopoly idea to internet access.
  • This is kinda' like a patch panel, I take it. Have a junction point for distribution of media and have it in place so that you can light up paths as you need them. Good idea, so long as no one gets the bright idea of proprietary junction boxes or something.

    I know I wouldn't mind buying a house with my own fiber uplink to a distribution point, as it's probably cheaper when it's part of the 'package' with a house purchase than having it run by a contractor. Since it costs just about the same to run a si
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:00PM (#24440703) Homepage

    Like say some idiot knocking out your connection because they knocked it out with a backhoe. Or even the city tearing up the street, and saying you have to pay to relocate your fiber.

    It's a hell of a lot easier for someone that owns a LOT of the fiber to hire lawyers and get someone else to pay for mistakes than it is for one person.

    • by Chirs (87576) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:21PM (#24441057)

      The ideal would be for it to operate like any other civic infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc.) where the homeowner is responsible only past a certain point (demarc point, property boundary, etc.) and the utility company is responsible for the rest.

      Realistically, bandwidth _should_ be a utility.

      • by Vellmont (569020)


        The ideal would be for it to operate like any other civic infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc.) where the homeowner is responsible only past a certain point (demarc point, property boundary, etc.) and the utility company is responsible for the rest

        So how would that be different than it is now? I don't own the water pipes outside my home, nor the power cables. I don't WANT to own those things, nor does it really make much sense to do so. If you own it, you're responsible for fixing it. Nobody is goi

        • by Chirs (87576)

          I'm fairly sure I own the sewer pipes out to the edge of my property, but I get a certain number of free service calls for root cleaning.

          I own the power cables from my side of the meter.

          I own the phone wiring from my side of the demarcation point.

          The fiber could work the same way...the utility is responsible for the common sections of the network.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        The ideal would be for it to operate like any other civic infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc.) where (...) the utility company is responsible for the rest.

        Yeah, except I've never had to bother with what the utility company has on their end. I've never turned my hose up full and heard the water works say "we can't deliver more water". I've never turned on the stove and heard the power plant say "we can't deliver more electricity". Nor have the sewage ever had a problem taking away what it should. But I

      • by Solandri (704621)

        I think it works better with power, water, and gas because breaks in those things are actually dangerous. I've run into gas and power problems in the past on my property which should've been my responsibility to fix. But (except for one really expensive fix) the utility company fixed it on their dime anyway. I suspect they'd rather spend a couple hundred dollars repairing something than end up with the bad publicity and possible lawsuit of a house blowing up or a person being electrocuted because they re

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Just in case you didn't know, phone lines can pack quite a punch. The electrical signal sent down the line is enough to make those old 30 pound black phones ring. My dad decided to do all the internal phone wiring in his house, and he says that from actual experience with being shocked, that you should be pretty careful when messing with phone lines. Wikipedia says the ringing signal [wikipedia.org] is generally over 100 volts.
      • Realistically, bandwidth _should_ be a utility.

        I have never, EVER heard the whole bandwidth issue be stated as perfectly as this. But it's true - in today's world, broadband is third only to water and electricity. I bet most people would sooner give up other assumed niceties before going to dial-up or something equally absurd.

  • It should be interesting to see how maintenance is handled. Can't wait until something goes wrong and you have a $15,000 bill to dig up the road to the "peering point."

    • by 4iedBandit (133211) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:16PM (#24440981) Homepage

      I know this is Slashdot, but if you had bothered to read the article you would have discovered that the cable would be managed and maintained by a management company. So the cost of maintenance would be shared among the community. Just like existing home owners associations today.

      I currently pay a monthly fee to my association and it covers lawn care, water, sewer, snow removal and garbage removal. This would just tack on "fiber internet connection" to that list.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by argent (18001)

        I currently pay a monthly fee to my association and it covers lawn care, water, sewer, snow removal and garbage removal.

        Me too. It also pays for them to dig a hole in my yard, not fill it in, then send me a nasty notice threatening me with fines if I don't fix the hole in my yard. Depending on them for Internet access, too? God almighty!

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Ok, so the whole HOA gets the bill.

        It still resolves into the same nonsense.
        It's just a smaller hit for each individual.

      • by westlake (615356)
        you would have discovered that the cable would be managed and maintained by a management company.
        .

        so you pay $3000 up front for the install ---

        + plus a monthly - unregulated - maintenance fee

        from a company that that doesn't have an interstate fleet of trucks and repair crews.
        every time your street floods and you lose service, it's Hurricane Katrina. "we will get there when we get there."

        + plus the bill from an ISP who has his nothing much to gain in the long run from undercutting his nominal competito

  • This is great! Now, the phone companies will be able to blame the customers directly for their troubles!!!

  • I would definitely pay to have fiber drawn at my house.

    I think a peering agreement is way easier than using an ISP.

    This increases competition and provides infinitely more options to customers.

    For instance, I could peer with a large network provider and ask for 100Mbits both way. The price would drop significantly since it's just a simple network connection after that.

  • Limit the monopoly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:02PM (#24440737) Journal
    I have suggested many times, that a monopoly should be created from the block level green box, to the house. That monopoly should not do anything BUT that monopoly. Nothing else. Then it should allow up to 50-100 providers to come to each box. Any smart company who goes block level to CO will then sell hookups to others. Of course, competition means prices will be kept low.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Deadplant (212273)

      Absolutely, although I would suggest at least neighbourhood level aggregation, not blocks.
      (depending on what size of blocks we're talking about here)

      Also, if this organization is to be a monopoly then it will have to be heavily regulated.
      A co-op or condo-association model might work better and be more efficient.

      • Actually, have the co-op offer up 5-10 year contracts for servicing it. That way, another company can compete OCCASIONALLY.
  • Pitch in... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:05PM (#24440795) Journal
    with your neighbors and buy it together, then share it with a wireless mesh network.
  • Necessary move (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Migraineman (632203) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:21PM (#24441053)
    In my neighborhood - suburb of DC - I can't get Verizon's FIOS because I live in a low-ish density single-family community. I live 7500 feet from the CO and have DSL. The townhouses on either side of me have FIOS, as do the apartments across the street. Apparently there isn't enough incentive to bring their fancy fibers my way. I'd love to run privately owned dark fiber to a co-lo where the bastards *would* take my money. I'd expect a better rate due to the need to use *my* infrastructure. I've been speaking to the Verizon customer service reps on and off for several years now, and they expect to have the service in my area "any day now." Uh huh ...
    • Re:Necessary move (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Solandri (704621) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:15PM (#24441807)

      Work the phones and talk with Verizon's FIOS people. Not the customer support folks, but the technical folks who lay the cable and stuff (if you can catch one of their vans out there laying out cable, talk with the workers). They can get you in touch with managers and supervisors who make the actual go/no-go decisions on who gets FIOS.

      My previous workplace was in the same situation with FIOS available literally on the other side of the street, but Verizon unwilling to bring it to their building because it was too far back from the street. After a lot of talking, they came up with an arrangement to split the cost of the fiber install to the building 50/50 (which was still way cheaper than the T1 they were using). Last I heard Verizon decided to just pay for the whole thing. So get on the phone and talk with Verizon.

  • Fiber is a backhoe magnet. If the homeowners are responsible for the last mile, who's responsible for repairing it when the inevitable backhoe strikes? The neighborhood association? Heaven forfend!

  • by statemachine (840641) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:30PM (#24441169)

    So, I pay $2700 for a company to "pull" fiber directly to my house/condo. But, according to the article, even though it throws around the word "ownership" there's nothing defining that ownership.

    When this company goes belly up in the future, I will lose this fiber because I don't have an easement for it. And because there isn't an easement, nothing gets transferred with the property, except a gentleman's agreement. And what's to stop this company from doing something else with the fiber?

    This sounds suspiciously like a cableco/telco that allows you to use another network on their physical line. I own nothing. I have no rights. It also sounds like a subscription music service.

    • by erbmjw (903229)
      Just a little bit of info from the article

      A private company has recently completed a project to string dark fiber from a colocation facility under the Ottawa City Hall to a neighborhood of 400 older, upper-middle-class homes.

      I think a company that is starting it's fiber to homes project from under city hall has already got the easements approved.

      • You missed my point. Nowhere in that article does it say the homeowner receives an easement for the fiber, or a share of the company, like a co-op.

        Without that, when that company dies or gets bought out, its easements will get transferred to someone else, and the homeowners are at the whim of the easement holder. The homeowners are only paying for a service. "Ownership" is a huge misnomer.

        • by erbmjw (903229)
          Then maybe you really didn't RTFA cause it says

          Higher takeup means lower pricesâ"strands could cost as little as $1000 if half the homes buy in. Homeowners can pay a lump sum or make monthly installments over three to five years. Once the final payment is made, the fiber strand would be the property of the homeowner.
          The firm that's doing the work is not an ISP, but a company focused on building and managing dark fiber networks. Under an approach called "condominium fiber," it plans to manage the netw

          • Again, fiber strand does not equal easement.

            And yes I would assume that in order to own the cable easement rights would have to be granted to the home owner who has paid off the cable cost.

            You're assuming a lot. The article makes no mention of easements, so I'm rightfully figuring this is a marketing ploy. Owning a fiber strand is worthless if you don't have the right to put it there.

            If this company really is selling easements, then I'd certainly love to be wrong. But I wouldn't make a $2700 investment without that information.

            • by erbmjw (903229)
              You're also busy assuming that the article contains all relevant legal terms and conditions of ownership of the cable --- so you're assuming extraordinary journalistic behavior and impeccable research

              The City of Ottawa and Société de Réseaux Dédiés Privés Inc have entered into a municipal - telco agreement -- so once again -- I really think they have been granted the required easement rights and yes I do think that the home owners get to
              • If anything, the links you posted are hurting your argument:

                From the first link:

                11. THIRD PARTY ATTACHMENTS

                11.1 ****** may allow a Third Party to attach its equipment and to charge and recover a fee from the Third Party provided:

                (a) any lease or license agreement requires the Third Party to comply with all laws, statutes, by-laws, codes, ordinances, rules, orders and regulations of all governmental authorities in force, and that the Third Party shall obtain and maintain any and all permits, licenses, official inspections or any other approvals and consents necessary or required for the placement or operation of the Third Party's equipment; and

                (b) ****** does not charge a fee for the Third Party's use of the Service Corridors.

                and

                20.5 This Agreement creates contractual rights only between the City and ****** and not an interest in the Service Corridors and ****** covenants and agrees with the City that ****** shall desist always from any registration of this Agreement or of any right howsoever arising under it.

                The above is just boilerplate utility right-of-way. And it only mentions *attaching* third party equipment.

                From the second link (SRDP's website):

                SRDP offre tous les services requis pour assurer la construction d'un réseau privé tel l'ingénierie, la mise en plan, les droits de passage et la surveillance de chantier.

                I was just checking that they also said rights-of-way in their primary language. :)

                But I saw nothing, in English or French, that mentioned selling easements as part of the project in the article. Would you enter an agreement without the easement being spelled out? I wouldn't. It's no

  • Baby Bells RULE! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iplayfast (166447) on Friday August 01, 2008 @05:39PM (#24441333)

    I'm on a farm in the country (in Ontario) that is serviced by a "baby bell" This is a co-op where all the people on the line have a share in the company.

    The neat thing about this is, Bell and Rogers and all the baby bells go to Ottawa to discuss what a proper service rate is. Rogers and Bell, present their case that it costs $$$$ to do their thing. My co-op costs $$$, but because of anti-competition rules the bigger guys their their way with $$$$ and the co-op has to have the same prices.

    So I'm paying $$$$ for my phone service. BUT.....

    All is not lost, remember the share in the company? Well if it only costs $$$ to run a service that $$$$ is being charged, then the owners receive a dividend at the end of the year! Whee.

    Or alternatively we get better service!

    Whee!!!

    On Tuseday (yup this really is relevant!) they were installing Fiber Optic in front of my house. In the near futures I'll be getting it inside.

    Don't forget, I live on a Farm, in the middle of the farming area.

    Don't you wish you didn't have to deal with the monopolies?

    • Any chance you could have someone from your coop email me info on the process behind forming one?
    • All is not lost, remember the share in the company? Well if it only costs $$$ to run a service that $$$$ is being charged, then the owners receive a dividend at the end of the year! Whee.

      I might be missing something, but doesn't the government tax that extra $ as it is profit?

      • by chihowa (366380)
        As he said, it's either reinvested in the business or returned as a "refund" to the same people who paid it in the first place. No profit involved.
    • Don't you wish you didn't have to deal with the monopolies?

      Why? It sounds like you have to deal with a monopoly too. Of course, it's one that you own shares in, and which only provides services to its shareholders, but it sounds a lot like a monopoly to me.

      A monopoly isn't always a bad thing, it's just easy to abuse.

  • by h3 (27424)

    > robust telecom competition should prevent the worst of the monopolistic behavior exhibited by telco and cable incumbents

    It's 2008, does anyone really believe that?

  • by Easy2RememberNick (179395) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:14PM (#24441789)

    The population of Canada is pretty low (about 35 million), spread out across the second largest country in the world and frozen solid for at least two or three months in the warmest areas, it's a big deal if this was offered.

      Some places near me have just got cable access last year because they were so isolated the cable company wasn't going to put up miles of cable for one house.

      I would pay up front for fiber if that meant I would get it sooner...it'll probably still end up being throttled to death somehow!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by stevo3232 (794498)

      True, but a very large amount of the Canadian population is concentrated in the Quebec-Windsor corridor and aside from that, within a few major cities. Servicing all of Canada with broadband will take forever, but getting 2/3 to 3/4 with very high speed access shouldn't take very long at all.

    • by p0tat03 (985078)

      spread out across the second largest country in the world and frozen solid for at least two or three months in the warmest areas

      Correction. The west coast of Canada is rarely frozen, and in fact snows very little.

  • Management ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by droopycom (470921) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:22PM (#24441887)

    So, there will be a new Fiber Management Company (FMC ?) setup to manage your own fiber and arguably the peering point.

    Who would this Company report to and how would it too its business ?

    Would it report to the Homeowners through some kind of HOA ?

    If not, then you just moved the monopoly from the ISP to the FMC.

    But if the peering point and fibers are really owned by the HOA, can an HOA really ensure quality service to its member ? Do you feel comfortable with your neighbors handling this ? I mean my HOA is trying to regulate the Satellite Dishes, in the complex, with very little success. And I dont really want my neighboors to have access to my connection logs.

    It is likely that the local cable or phone company will be first to connect to your peering point and try to keep the competition out by the usual means.

    I'm not saying its a bad idea, but I doubt it will be a perfect solution...

  • go into every (not sure) home, etc in Palo Alto? And now its experimental? Another example of more brain dead telecom companies.

  • by zerofoo (262795) on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:00PM (#24443291)

    Here in the US, Federal, State, and Local governments either directly build roads, or hire private companies to build and maintain the roads.

    Why can't the US do this with fiber? Competing ISPs, could provide service over the fiber to end users, and tax dollars would pay to maintain the fiber "roads". Your monthly ISP bill would cover the services provided over the fiber (data, voice, video...etc).

    I'm sure many will argue that they don't want their tax dollars paying for someone to download music and porn, but your tax dollars already pay for roads, even if you don't drive.

    A reliable, public, fiber infrastructure will be as important to the US in the future as telephones and electricity are now. We need leaders that are smart enough to see that.

    -ted

  • The country code, if present, is never immediately placed after the city name for any place in Canada or the US. Otherwise Ottawa CA would read as Ottawa, California (and I don't even think there is such a place).
  • Is either in new housing developments where the builder puts it in when the streets are being laid out, or in a HOA where there are decent number of homes and the HOA wants to fund it off of homeowner dues,

    Alternatively small townships or cities could go back and retrofit fiber to every home then build a small NOC and then provide enough interconnects to allow the various providers equal access to provide services to the community and then each resident can truly choose what they want in a package from Comc

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