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The Internet Networking United States

Houses With Tails 307

Posted by timothy
from the how-about-with-roots? dept.
nnfiber writes "What if home owners could also own their Internet connection? Tim Wu, of New America Foundation and Derek Slater, Google's Policy Analyst, say this can be a new effective way to encourage broadband deployment — an important issue in 'America's economic growth.' In his post, Timothy B. Lee says: 'That might sound like a crazy idea at first blush, but Wu and Slater do a great job of explaining how it might work. The key idea is "condominium fiber," an arrangement in which a number of neighboring households pool their resources to install fiber to all the homes in their neighborhoods. Once constructed, each home would own its own fiber strand, while the shared costs of maintaining the "trunk" cable from the individual homes to a central switching location would be managed in the same way that condominium and homeowners' associations currently manage the shared areas of condos and gated communities.'"
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Houses With Tails

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  • Won't work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AndGodSed (968378)

    The housing market is crap already, adding other overheads won't make things better. And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SirLurksAlot (1169039)

      And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

      Thank you for the early Christmas present, that thought makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by genner (694963)

      The housing market is crap already, adding other overheads won't make things better. And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

      This has been around forever and was quite possibly more popular back in the dial up days since T1's were the cheapest broadband connections back then. The isp's are getting paid for the fiber or T line so they don't care.

      • Re:Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:39PM (#25902323) Homepage Journal
        I guess this would be like the old 'neighborhood swimming pools' we used to have when I grew up...I think it might actually help a neighborhood sell houses these days.

        Hmm..do they still even have neighborhood pools anymore? It was great to meet kids around you...have fun during the summers...but, hell, that was so long ago for me, we even had a quality diving board...something I guess most kids of today haven't got a clue about except for maybe seeing one on the olympics.

        *sigh* damned lawyers....

        • by philspear (1142299) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @04:13PM (#25902681)

          *sigh* damned lawyers....

          Yes, they do suck, but lawyers by themselves don't do much damage. It also takes stupid kids who injure/kill themselves at a community pool. It then takes greedy/stupid/bad parents to take advantage of the situation with the lawyer.

          Lets not forget that: lawyers are always going to be evil, but it's greedy individuals who use them as weapons against the community.

          Not really relevant, but for those of you who are now pissed off at those assholes, here's some youtube clips of people getting injured in funny ways at pools.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSYWqkhScU8&feature=related [youtube.com]

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj9lkqRDUNE&feature=related [youtube.com]

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrzHY345aKk&feature=related [youtube.com]

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3A69-NaAXw&NR=1 [youtube.com]

        • by mrraven (129238)

          The same neighborhood pools that were segregated by banning blacks in the south as late as the late 1950s?

          And the modern cyber equivalent would be only the middle and upper middle class would be able to afford net access under this system leading to a permanent marginally employed and under informed cyber underclass of "untouchable" manual laborers.

          Thanks but no thanks. Hasn't the financial crises shown that the cut throat "ownership society" not only is not cruel and greedy, but doesn't work very well. Do

          • by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:33PM (#25903515) Homepage Journal
            "The same neighborhood pools that were segregated by banning blacks in the south as late as the late 1950s? And the modern cyber equivalent would be only the middle and upper middle class would be able to afford net access under this system leading to a permanent marginally employed and under informed cyber underclass of "untouchable" manual laborers."

            Well, there isn't segregation any more...as you mentioned, pretty much a thing of the past since the 50's, so not a concern.

            And not everyone can afford to live in every neighborhood, sorry, fact of life. No reason that people with good jobs and extra income cannot live in a nice area and spend a little extra disposable $$ on pools and high speed connectivity,eh?

          • by jcnnghm (538570) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:45PM (#25904255)

            Cry me a fucking river. Something bad happened fifty years ago. Get over it. Feeling sorry for yourself and thinking that other people should have to take care of you because you can't take care of yourself is stupid. If you want something, get off your ass and get after it.

    • Re:Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:51PM (#25902439)
      Have either of these guys ever owned a condo? I made that mistake once - never again. Years to get simple repairs done, friends of the condo board getting repairs long before other people and often before people who requested needed repairs first, etc. etc. ad nauseam. Owning a condo is a good way to see some of the worst traits humanity has to offer. Let an organization like that control the quality or even existence of my net connection? No way.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Well maybe you should lok at the exeriences as a whole instead of your little world.
        For example when my wife and I ownd a condo we had no problems, the boars was friendly everything was fixed in a timely manner, and the clubhouse and pool where top notch. Our dues where 85 bucks a month, and this was in Huntington Beach, CA. from 94-2001.
        IN which time it doubled in value. Yes I know I know detached single family dwelling tripled, but there was no way I was going to buy a house in HB on my salary.

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@hacki s h . o rg> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @08:40PM (#25905145)

        Just about the only organization I have to deal with that I like less than the cable companies and phone companies is the local homeowner's association.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jandersen (462034)

        I think one of the reasons why it gets like that is that nobody with a real life is willing to give their own time to community projects like that; thus it ends up in the hands of small-minded bullies. It works like that on all levels - just see how the political agenda is constantly taken over by the worst elements in society, simply because the good, honest, ordinary people don't make the necessary effort.

    • Re:Won't work (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @04:06PM (#25902615) Homepage

      And I bet the cable companies/isp's would not like the idea of joe sixpack competing with them.

      nope. there used to be a thing called "community TV" a neighborhood would buy a lot, set up a big tower with antennas and wire all the homes with "cable tv" and everyone paid $25.00 a year to it's upkeep and upgrading.

      Cable Tv companies came up with "franchise fees" when they entered into a market. They used this along with lobbying for legislation to make running a non profit free "community TV" system illegal. you had to be a business and pay franchise fees. This killed every system across America as the cable companies came in.

      Nobody is willing to lobby state and federal lawmakers to make it legal for neighborhoods to band together and put up a community tv system legally anymore. We just bay like good sheep and pay out $55.00 a month Cable TV bill.

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      Besides, I hate my neighbors, don't even know their names, and hope they default on their mortgages and coyotes move in.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:03PM (#25901957) Homepage
    just to deal with the 'tail'. Too much administrative work to do on a volunteer basis, too little to do on a paid basis. But it might work with a pre-existing organization such as a condo, coop or home owners association.
    • by Vancorps (746090)

      Why is this too much work? You're not talking thousands of homes, you're theoretically talking at most a couple of hundred which can easily be serviced by two routers utilizing XRRP or some kind of redundant routing protocol. Firewalls would still be left to people in their own homes. All it would do is provide a pass-through assigning Internet facing addresses provided people can get enough addresses for a reasonable price.

      The only way it gets tricky is if you have to NAT anything or if you want to go IPv

      • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:18PM (#25902137)
        Why is this too much work? You're not talking thousands of homes, you're theoretically talking at most a couple of hundred which can easily be serviced by two routers utilizing XRRP or some kind of redundant routing protocol.

        Before long, you will be talking thousands of homes. Some enterprising group of guys will start a small business of 'managing HOA & condo communications'. The various HOAs will contract out to these guys, because it is easier (and may be cheaper) than trying to do it themselves. Eventually, that company will run all of the HOA/condo/subdivision comms in an area or city.
        Hey, look...we just reinvented Comcast!

        HOAs do this already. Frequently, the HOA is not run by the 'homeowners', but rather a faceless company that provides that same functionality.
        • by eth1 (94901)

          Except that Comcast provides content, Internet service AND owns the wires. Your theoretical company would only *maintain* wires owned by someone else.

          In other words, they have no agenda for discriminating against competing service providers, so it would be easier to provide a competing Internet service.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Firehed (942385)

            That's only true until this theoretical company that only maintains the wires realizes that all the money is in the content. And while I suppose that having two Comcasts competing with each other is an improvement over the current situation, there's so much collusion in the industry that it really doesn't matter.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by droopycom (470921)

          True,

          But still the Management Company does not own anything, unlike Comcast.

          So, it would be much easier for another Management Company to compete.

          The point is that the homeowners (as a whole) would have more choice -- at least for the Management Company.

          But off course, individually, the homeowner will loose some his individual choice and be subject to his neighbors wishes.

          And, most importantly it will remain to be seen if your "tails" will be able to connect to more than one ISP. If not then I doubt there w

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770)

          Before long, you will be talking thousands of homes. Some enterprising group of guys will start a small business of 'managing HOA & condo communications'. The various HOAs will contract out to these guys, because it is easier (and may be cheaper) than trying to do it themselves. Eventually, that company will run all of the HOA/condo/subdivision comms in an area or city. Hey, look...we just reinvented Comcast! HOAs do this already. Frequently, the HOA is not run by the 'homeowners', but rather a faceless company that provides that same functionality.

          It may be a faceless company, but it's your faceless company. My new apartment has a discounted cable service, discounted PVR rental, discounted broadband access and all because we are many (not just block but association) and got market power. Sure, they probably take their own cut but they squeeze the ISPs to provide either better service or at lower prices to keep us happy with their management. So no, it would not be reinventing Comcast but rather their worst nightmare. Expect them to fight anything lik

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Some condos do this with Cable TV.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by gurps_npc (621217)
        It gets tricky when problems occure. Everything is simple when things are going well. But the second some idiot with a back hoe cuts through your cable, then what? Or your routers get hacked because, hey, you're just a guy doing it on your own, not a professional being paid. Then there's making sure all 100 people pay. Even when their house is in foreclosure. Or after they die, dealing with the estate's poorly done finances. Or simply when some new guy buys the house not udnerstanding what he is gettin
    • People have done this already, so it can work. I used to know a guy involved in running this: http://www.redbricks.org.uk/?q=node/2 [redbricks.org.uk]

  • by gardyloo (512791) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:05PM (#25901975)

    Sounds like a red-light district to me.

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      I live in a condo. If cable were managed as badly as most condominiums we might as well bury the net forever.

      • by gardyloo (512791)

        Ding-dong! "Cable guy!"

        "Time to lay some cable, baby.

        "Do you like how I'm burying my net in your Home-Owners' Association? Yeah, I thought so."

              I've never lived in a condo, but I've seen lots of movies featuring condos, all of which are obviously totally realistic. I can't believe you're complaining.

  • by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:06PM (#25901987) Journal
    I don't think so!

    As soon as something on the trunk broke due to any reason, all the neighbors are going to come banging down my door as being the "tech-savvy" person.

    Neighbor 1: "Umm... the internet won't work anymore."
    Neighboar 2: "My emails won't send!"
    Neighbor 3's kids: "unmm liek i cn't tlk to my bff jill?"
  • It seems to me that taking the responsibility for the line away from the Telecoms is asking for more problems when something breaks. It's bad enough already when they have to be talked into rolling a truck to fix an issue on lines they maintain. With privately held fiber, I really don't see any advantage. The Telecom, or a private contractor, would still have to be called whenever the private fiber had issues. This seems like it would add middlemen and fingerpointing without really giving any benefit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kriebz (258828)

      Part of your point, that telcos are lazy and negligent, is exactly why this is enticing. Maybe if the telcos didn't have to install new hardware on private property, the cost to roll out broadband would be cheaper. Of course, without the opportunity to gouge the customer on that new hardware, the enticement might be gone. This could also open the possibility of third-party bandwidth providers like WISPs, and not being pigeon-holed into one of 3 delightfully crappy plans.

    • Working with telcos is a pain. The problem is NEVER on their side. Why don't you reboot all your equipment first? Did that fix it?

      I deal mostly with T-1's and that technology has been around for about 50 years. Yet I still cannot get the providers to TEST the lines when I say there is a problem. HELLO?!? You should ALREADY know there's a problem when one of the circuits goes into an error state.

      Now, imagine trying to get the telco to deal with a problem connecting to your network with all your neighbors com

      • by genner (694963)

        Working with telcos is a pain. The problem is NEVER on their side.

        This! It's only gotten worse with AT&T taking everything over. So glad I got into development and never have to plead with AT&T to go replace an F2 pair ever again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Deadplant (212273)

      The difference is that in the current model the ISP puts up the cash to build the last-mile connection to your home.
      They don't do this for free; you pay for it in your monthly bill. It is in fact the largest part of your internet connection bill.

      If you pay $50/month for internet access it is probably about $30 for the last mile and $20 for IP service.

      The differnece is that when you have 'paid off' your last-mile infrastructure after about 5 years of service with your ISP they do not stop charging you for i

  • This is nice, but (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blhack (921171) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:09PM (#25902021)

    I really don't think that the average consumer is going to care about something like this.

    For most, a 5Mbps cable connection is much much much more than they ever will (or can) use. The only thing that will drive high-bandwidth stuff like this is media. Websites like this [hulu.com] are certainly a step in the correct direction, but until we start seeing dedicated media appliances in peoples homes, it isn't going to happen.

    On top of that, think of something (other than streaming media) that your average home-owning consumer is going to use that would require large bandwidth. There aren't many. Sure, some of us geeks use services like Usenet or (and I've never seen this in practice, only rumors of it) bittorrent that are capable of filling up our connection but, relative to the amount of joe-sixpack/plumbers there are out there, we are a small small minority.

    Any devs wnat to make a "hulu" box with me?

    • by cowscows (103644)

      Isn't this another 'chicken and egg' problem though (besides the one mentioned in the article about ISP's)? Those sorts of appliances aren't going to be successful and catch on unless people have the bandwidth to properly utilize them. If we wait for the devices before we provide the bandwidth, we'll just end up waiting forever, because the appliances don't work in a compelling way without an adequate connection speed.

      At the end of the day, I think it (like most other things) all comes down to costs. Can th

      • by blhack (921171)

        Isn't this another 'chicken and egg' problem

        No, it isn't.

        The people don't need(want) the extra bandwidth right now because there isn't anything for them to use it for. It is not the responsibility of the consumer to make an investment in unnecessary bandwidth so that manufacturers can create devices for them.

        Once consumers see that streaming video (and a fat pipe to the internet) is something that they want, they'll buy it. If there is nothing available for them to utilize their bandwidth, then they won't buy it.

  • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:11PM (#25902041)

    now, maybe as a renter my view of Home Owners Associations (HOA) and condos are a little flawed... but condering there have been cases where HOAs have stopped people from putting up solar panals, fences, planting trees, even a back yard clothes line... what is to stop them from likewise restricting and controlling broadband?

    sorry, your torrenting is degrading the value of our community internet, we are going to have to block that.

    instead of a half dozen telcos to deal with for net neutrality, you will have thousands on thousands of HOAs

    • That is actually a pretty solid plan that opponents of net-neutrality could read.

      You shut your mouth! Shut it! Never speak of it again! ;-) I keed, I keed...
    • by tknd (979052) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:36PM (#25902287)

      Correct. The HOA is not interested in meeting your demands as an individual homeowner. The HOA's purpose is to meet the demands of the majority that show up to the monthly meetings. And guess who shows up to those meetings? The most anal and controlling homeowners. The result is an inefficient corporation that has no customers yet maintains books and funds that rarely benefit the actual homeowners.

      However when you have a customer and business relationship, the business has an interest in keeping you a paying customer. Even if you do sign contracts, the contracts will only apply till the end of the term. When you do have a legal issue with the business you have a contract with, you can take them to court and potentially get reasonable recovery. But if you sue an HOA you are technically suing yourself. The business also receives pressure from competitors in a well regulated market (yes this is not true for monopolies). So theoretically you should always have a second choice. With the HOA your only choice is to sell your property and move elsewhere.

      Some HOAs might be okay in terms of purposes served and not being run down by anal homeowners. But in my experience, even then the HOA provides little services that you can't manage yourself better. For example consider the common "pool/spa" arrangement. Suppose you pay the HOA $50 a month for this cost to maintain a pool and spa for the facility. The pool will probably be very small and outdoors. Meanwhile if you sign up at a local club at say $40 a month, you can get an indoor pool and access to other facilities. When you no longer need to access the club or are unsatisfied with the service, you can terminate your membership and/or find a new club. Any HOA run service is generally more expensive to maintain and you are stuck with it forever. When you allow a business to fill in this role, however, you will often get better service at cheaper rates or at least varying options of service at different rates. The only advantage the HOA has is that the facilities are located conveniently.

      Another example is HOA provided cable TV service. I know someone that has one of these and the contract basically states he can only use the HOA tv service, and he cannot order his own. This means he is stuck with the quality of service the HOA provides. Even if you live in an area where you only have 1 option for TV service, you can at least have options within that service to get access to other services like special channels or different packages. With the HOA this is not the case.

      I believe the implementation of HOAs is flawed in the US. HOAs have too much power and are beginning to grow outside of their purpose which was to basically force people to keep their property is decent order. Technically, the local government should be in charge of enforcing rules maintaining reasonable condition of properties, not HOAs. Unfortunately, HOAs are becoming too popular and people would never vote to pay taxes or allow the government to enforce such rules. Which is somewhat contradictory since the HOA dues are often more than what you would pay in taxes as well as more restrictive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745)

        Well it depends on your HOA, mine was fantastic.
        That said, you just give another example of why it is important to be involved.
        I went to a couple meetings, but everything was ran so well I didn't have anything to talk about.
        Shock there hand and brought warm donuts to the next meeting. A meeting where they where deciding whether or not to LOWER our dues. I was against it. I told them it would be better to put that extra money aside in case a catastrophe. -- from 85 to 78 month

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Do HOAs have the deed, or do you yourself actually own the property?

      How is it that they can have ANY say in your property, when you have the deed?

      (i don't know the answer to question 1, so question 2 might be moot)

      • 1) No, they don't

        2) You sign a contract with them that gives them the ability to fine you if you do not follow the rules, and authorizes them to palcea lien against your home if you fail to pay the Fee's and Fines.
      • Do HOAs have the deed, or do you yourself actually own the property?

        How is it that they can have ANY say in your property, when you have the deed?

        (i don't know the answer to question 1, so question 2 might be moot)

        I am not sure of the exact legal term, but when you buy the house, you sign the HOA agreement as well. Part of that agreement is that you can only sell your house to someone who signs onto the HOA. The HOA agreement becomes part of the deed.

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Most of the time the deed or purchase agreement has an HOA clause in it. It is set up that way when the community is established. Just about everyone in the Phoenix area has an HOA and there is no opting out of it. It is sanctioned by state law.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snspdaarf (1314399)

      No, your view is not flawed. HOAs can act as another form of government, but without the expected restraints because they are private organizations. When I am in the market for a home, a HOA is a deal killer. Restrictive covenants are bad enough. I will not live in a house where someone can tell me that my mower deck is set too high, or too low. When you have a person that will go around measuring the height of lawns, there is no end to the trouble they could cause with a network.

      New acronym? HOAN?

  • by sunking2 (521698) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:11PM (#25902045)
    Just because you live near each other doesn't mean you play well together. Especially when money is involved. How could you possibly do this and not have someone ticked off for paying more than they think they should. Should my mother who doesn't even own a computer be subsidizing everyone elses usage? Or what happens when someone who believes in the RIAA moves into your neighborhood and then starts enforcing his beliefs on you. Sounds crazy, but how many people get fined a year because they have too much crap on their condo deck, or some other abserd thing. Oh, the arguments may or may not be rational, but that won't stop them. Especially in a neighborgood that spans a large age group. Instead of get off my lawn, it'll be get your porn of my internet.
    • this definitely needs a mod up. summarizes it well.

      There's a reason the US started out as a republic.

      Please note that prior to Jackson, individual voters did not even elect the president, it was state legislatrues. The founding fathers knew how awful mob rule could be. The last thing we need is for the internet to be destroyed by the "tyranny of the majority"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @04:09PM (#25902631)

      This will explain to all how dumb of an idea this is indeed:

      Where my parents live is covered by an HA. The townhouses come with decks installed, with short fences surrounding them, nothing special, just a 4' high fence with 1.5" spindles, a 2x4 railing and 4x4 supports. The decks are not attached to each other, nor are they shared, and they are separated by at least 10 feet on either side. My parents wanted a little bit more privacy, but understanding the HA wouldn't want them to raise the fence, they bought wood lattice and tacked it to the inside of the fence, cut so it fit neatly under the railing. It doesn't look bad, although IMHO, it's pretty pointless.

      Anyways, within a month, they received a letter from the HA advising them to take it down immediately or be fined as it's against the agreement. They fought the HA, saying it doesn't state you can't install anything on the inside of the deck. In the end, after several months with lawyers and lots of money, now the agreement is modified to have a special "no lattice" clause. My parents lattice has been grandfathered in, and nobody else has it.

      Just a sidenote: When my parents moved in they asked me what I thought. I said it was a horrible place because it has an HA. They said they were going to will the house to me so I could live there. I said "Great, but I won't live here. Hopefully it'll sell quickly before the HA comes after me for condo fees, otherwise I'll have to rent it." They thought I was being rude then.

      Now they think I'm sensible. :-D

      So, apply that thinking process to broadband internet and imagine what you have.

  • by Lightwarrior (73124) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:11PM (#25902047) Journal

    "Once constructed, each home would own its own fiber strand, while the shared costs of maintaining the "trunk" cable from the individual homes to a central switching location would be managed in the same way that condominium and homeowners' associations currently manage the shared areas of condos and gated communities."

    So, that is to say - not at all? We have a hard enough time collecting homeowner's fees as it is. I can only speculate that it would be harder at a higher cost.

    And what are you supposed to do if/when one home stops paying its part? Not upkeep that portion of fiber? Have everyone else absorb the costs?

  • I don't think this idea has been thought out all the way.

    I like the idea, but for neighborhoods with association members that are not technically adept, what will they do to maintain the network? Do it themselves?? I don't think so. If they attempt it, it will be a support nightmare. If they are unwilling/unable, they will have to hire an outside person/firm to help them support the network. We already have this with ISP companies with dedicated IT support staff.

    This would work with people living in the nei

  • This is already happening (and has been for years) in resort communities. Typically the arrangement starts with a central authority, in Colorado I worked with a few unincorporated Metro Districts for example, that owns and maintains all of the infrastructure. The infrastructure provided service to most homes and condos. The arrangement to provide service was made with a property management company that in turn contracted with the individual homeowner associations. The HOA assessed dues and the property

  • by joe_bruin (266648) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:15PM (#25902095) Homepage Journal

    Great, all I need is my homeowners' association determining what kind of internet connection I get. What if half of them are happy with dialup? What if some of them don't even want to pay for an internet connection? What if some of them are delinquent on their payments and my connection gets cut off?

    How about fuck those guys and let me manage my own connection instead of unnecessarily making it a shared responsibility where decisions are made by a committee of people with no mutual interest?

    • "Great, all I need is my homeowners' association determining what kind of internet connection I get. What if half of them are happy with dialup? What if some of them don't even want to pay for an internet connection? What if some of them are delinquent on their payments and my connection gets cut off?"

      1) If this becomes common then the type of connection would be a factor that you would consider before moving in. Existing homeowner associations that consider implementing something like this are going to hav

  • Repair costs for physical damage to said "trunk" could be costly. How many homeowner associations have a member competent in fiber splicing? Not to mention the difficulty in finding exactly where physical damage is located. A backhoe trench is pretty obvious, but damage on an aerial run pole-to-pole is not so obvious.

    It is easy to say 'homeowner is responsible for their "tail" and the association is responsible for the "trunk"', but who pays the expense of diagnosing every problem which comes down the pi

  • Bloody stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:24PM (#25902191)

    At which point your neighbors will then begin to dictate what content will and will not be allowed on the connection, "in the same way that condominium and homeowners' associations currently manage the shared areas of condos and gated communities" now.

    No thanks.

  • by IonOtter (629215) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:25PM (#25902197) Homepage

    Holy Crap! This is like, a FREE GOLD MINE!

    Unlimited tech support opportunities! Exclusive contracts! Clueless users ensuring a steady supply of work! Bottomless pits of fodder for "Customers Suck" and "Stupid, Stupid Enduser" blogs! Angry phone calls at 3AM! People knocking on your door asking you to fix their plumbing and interwebs!

    This is a BOFH's Wet Dream!

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:27PM (#25902221) Homepage Journal

    This kind of sharing at the edges is already exactly what people do with WiFi attached to wired broadband. Lots of people use neighbors' broadband when they first move in, before their own wire is installed. Lots of other people too cheap to pay for expensive broadband are piggybacking on their neighbors' WiFi. And plenty of other people's guests just use neighbors' WiFi because it's easier than plugging in with more cables, especially if the broadband adapter doesn't have extra hub ports.

    The problem is that the telcos/cablecos prohibit sharing one's broadband account with the neighbors. They insist on monopolizing the delivery of broadband to everyone, even after years of failing to deliver it to lots of people (usually because it's priced too expensive, but often because the telco/cableco has higher profit elsewhere while they ignore wiring whole neighborhoods).

    If people weren't prohibited from sharing their broadband connections, they would include more people in the broadband Net. Some people would offer WiFi, others would offer wires. Competition among them (lacking in the telco/cableco duopoly) would force everyone's prices lower.

    The telcos/cablecos would hate it. But so what? We all hate them, for many good reasons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cdrguru (88047)

      Absolutely, it is just because the greedy monopoly wants to maximize their profits.

      And liability has nothing to do with it, nothing whatsoever. Sure. Because everyone knows that you aren't responsible for anything that happens with YOUR connection. You can't connect an IP address to an individual so whatever happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. Right.

      So your neighbor, sharing your Internet connection, decides to use LimeWire to share their 10,000 song collection. Which finally comes to the no

  • some bunch of crabby little old twits meet at 3 am in a crack house to set new rules, with no announcement, and you get screwed.

    yeah, know all about those condo associations.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:33PM (#25902265)

    If would probably think this a great idea, if
    I had not lived in appartments or houses with shared facilites - parking spaces, pools, whatever.

    1. Everybody treats 'shared' resources with zero respect.
    2. Everybody bitches about the cost. Some don't pay.
    3. There's a regular shitfest disguised as a 'resident's association meeting' or something. Always dominated by a few activists whose opinions inevitably are the reverse of yours.
    4. The people hired by the 'association council' to do installation & maintenance are always more expensive and less competent than people you've picked.
    5. Whenever something breaks, it's always faster and cheaper to fix it yourself, so the vaguely competent end up doing everything if they want their hall lights, garage door, cable to work...

    So, I can do without the pool, but depend on this setup for my (vital for work) broadband?
    Noooooooooooooooo!

  • Homeowners associations are notorious for mission creep - how long before they would want content filters?
  • Let's have the PEOPLE pay for it! This way, the telcos can still buy solid chrome hookers!

  • Is this a joke??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Splab (574204) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @03:52PM (#25902453)

    This has been going on for ages in Denmark.

    Local community calls up some provider, they dig in cables, each home owner coughs up with the money for the digging+cables (around 10.000DKR ($1800) the houses value increase by the value of the new cables - cables belong to the houses, switch boxes etc. belong to whatever provider you choose.

    Seriously US, get with the times!

    • by mikkelm (1000451)

      This is a loss-generating business in Denmark as it is, and Denmark with its relatively concentrated and dense population areas is the ideal place for rolling out this sort of technology on a national basis. Add the often lacking rural infrastructure in the US, and distance between dwellings in general, and you're lucky if you're ever going to see ROI. Especially when the service needs to remain competitive with low-priced solutions running on existing infrastructure.

    • I had this (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spectrokid (660550)
      I had this more than 5 years ago. We shared a symmetric 4 Mbit connection in our flat, connected on simple CAT5. "Service" was done by a few volunteers and there was a clear understanding that this was not a "service guaranteed within X hours" kind of thing. We HAD to pay through a standing bank-order so nobody had to chase those who forgot to pay. For USD 15 per month, it was the best internet connection I have ever had, felt at least as smooth as my current 8/1.5 ADSL. My boss currently runs a netw
  • If you haven't hold a place in the HOA board, you can not know how much apathy these people have towards absolutely necessary things like taking care of road, sidewalks etc, and most of them are old timers. Do you really want to leave the destiny of your precious fiber to the whim of a handful of geezer busy-bodies ? I sure don't. Not a great idea in my opinion. Having a network admin, paid part time, like 2 hours per month plus incidentals to manage it, is more plausible for this type of outfit.
  • ...and you've re-invented the concept of a municipal utility.

  • No one who has lived with the train wreck a HoA or condo association tends to cause would ever find this a good idea.

  • Rural electrical cooperatives [nreca.org] do much the same thing for electrical power.

  • by jwiegley (520444) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @04:17PM (#25902719)

    What idiot thinks that negotiating cost, authority, accountability and responsibility for a fiber trunk with any number of neighbors greater than zero is going to be feasible?

    What planet are you from? Because on my planet my one neighbor maintains an unsightly junkyard of decaying plumbing supplies in his backyard. My other neighbor always parks their cars in front of my yard because their garage is full of useless shit and they don't want cars in front of their yard. The neighbor across the street?? Well, he maintains two vicious junkyard dogs in his concrete/gated frontyard. They spend all day leaping at and barking at everything that moves. The neighbor next to him? he's abandoned one dead, totaled in a car crash, Toyota Rav-4 on the street like some sort of mad-max art tribute.

    And somebody thinks there's going to be some magical, happy, functional negotiation about a shared high-tech resource with these kinds of people??

    Puuuuhleeeease!

  • This kind of networks already exists over here in Romania; we call them "Neighborhood Networks", (not to be mistaken with Windows' same folder, or what it is). They exist since the late '90s, and they're being massively brought off by traditional ISPs for they customer base. In their beginning, these networks would be the only way to get broadband of any kind; they would span anarchically over several condo blocks, cables ran in trees, routers secured in plastic bags... the good ol' times... Some are active
  • The idea sounds good, but an Association can't afford to run the wires for existing homes, and for new homes, the developers will use it as a new income stream, by creating their own neighborhood network and making their private cash cow with high rates as a part Association Dues (so no opt-out) with a LONG-term contract that can't be broken.

    See for example: http://loudounextra.washingtonpost.com/news/2007/may/21/suburbs-locked-high-tech-lure/ [washingtonpost.com]

  • Not HOAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deadplant (212273) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:50PM (#25904321)

    The whole point of this (which has been overshadowed by TFA bringing HOAs into it) is to separate the last-mile infrastructure from the IP service.
    (TFA is NOT the originator of this concept)

    Nobody in their right mind is suggesting that your HOA should be your ISP or that you should buy Internet service from anyone other than existing ISPs.

    What is being suggested is that we should stop this system of perpetualy renting the physical cables that run into our homes.
    Paying up front the true cost of running a fiber strand from your house to the nearest carrier neutral datacentre frees you from monopoly opression forever.
    In this scenario you can switch Internet or phone or even TV providers at the push of a button. That puts you in the position of power.

    - the cost of the last-mile is 60-80% of your current Internet service bill.
    - if you are going to buy your house rather than rent it then why not buy rather than rent your last-mile fiber?

    BTW, I'd like to offer to buy your driveway and rent it back to you for the next 40 years.
    Be warned, I may at some point be 'forced' to restrict the weight of your car so as not to unduly stress my poorly maintainted ashphalt.

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