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UK Lifeguards Dig Their Own 100Mbps Fiber-Optic Link

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  • Good idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dov_0 (1438253) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:23AM (#29081851)
    What happened to social responsibility and volunteering? Most people want great service, but just expect someone else to do the work. In the current economic environment, lets hope to see more local projects like this.
    • This (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:51AM (#29081955) Homepage

      but the government would probably object.

      It got hog-tied in red tape.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Too right! People want things but are too lazy to do it themselves then complain, it is terrible.

      There was somewhere (an island i think) that was being destroyed by the sea, wasting away its coastline.
      The price to make a barrier was some crazily high price that they weren't even going to consider paying.
      All the residents of the place got together with their own stuff and built their own barrier at a fraction of the price.

      There is actually another place i distinctly remember that was on the news the other w

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by trum4n (982031)
        I would do it here, but i would get arrested. My area is Comcast only for broadband, and the town council is so uptight that i got harassed by the cops for pulling an engine out of my soon-to-be electric car. I would love to have a land line internet that is faster than 1.5mbps. i am paying for 12mbps, and will never see it.
    • Re:Good idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by solevita (967690) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @06:15AM (#29082027)
      The volunteering the people of the RNLI do goes much, much, further than digging trenches for fibre; they save a lot of lives. Well done to them, and to FibreStream for sponsoring; I've not heard of the latter before, but I'll look into their services next time I'm after fibre.

      For once, a well earned Slashvertisment.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by troll8901 (1397145)

      Occasionally local projects get stopped due to red tape (either government or corporate).

      A certain cable Internet provider refusing to run cables across the street [slashdot.org].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by darkpixel2k (623900)

        Occasionally local projects get stopped due to red tape (either government or corporate).

        A certain cable Internet provider refusing to run cables across the street [slashdot.org].

        That post is BS.
        I've run into the *exact* same situation with Comcast. One of my clients has Comcast less than 50 feet away from their building--it's across a street.

        The part about your story that doesn't line up is that Comcast wouldn't let him pay for it. Comcast flat-out told us if we wanted cable pulled under the street, we would have to pay something on the order of $23,000. Alternatively, we could *find* 10 people in our office park that would commit to 2 years of service and they'd pull the ca

        • Thank you for your reply. It's good to hear another side of a similar story.

        • The previous incident may not align with your experience because, *tada* people are different. How office managers decide to handle the same situation depends on their philosophies, training, wither they got laid last night, have a headache, etc...

          I'm glad you could reach a workable solution (let's hear it for nice old ladies!), but it sounds like Comcast still sucks balls.

          • but it sounds like Comcast still sucks balls.

            The GP posted a link to a post by HeronBlademaster saying that Comcast sucks because they wouldn't provide service to his dad's company even through they had cable across the street, and they couldn't even convince Comcast to run cable if the company HeronBlademaster's dad works for paid for it.

            Which is total BS. Comcast would be glad to take HeronBlademaster's dad's companies money to expand their infrastructure free of charge.

            I'm not commenting on HeronBlademaster's solution being dumb, I'm comment

            • You sound like a young man, not quite cynical enough to be middle-aged like me... It's understandable that you think it's bullshit because it's not logical. It's not logical. It's Monopolistic Business as usual, compounded with a shit load of legal and back office agreements as to territories and policies, and hourly slaves following the rules to hang on to a shitty job.

              I have the deepest sympathy for you, darkpixel2k, your bright outlook on life is probably the last vestige of childhood left to you, and we

              • You sound like a young man, not quite cynical enough to be middle-aged like me...

                Not quite middle-aged yet, but I'll hit 30 in less than a year.

                It's understandable that you think it's bullshit because it's not logical. It's not logical. It's Monopolistic Business as usual

                I understand you don't like Comcast and think they are an evil monopoly and that the word 'monopoly' is justification enough for you any time Comcast does anything you don't like.

                compounded with a shit load of legal and back office agreements as to territories and policies, and hourly slaves following the rules to hang on to a shitty job.

                You're totally right. There must be some sort of territory, policy, or mysterious voodoo that prevents Comcast from accepting money and dragging service a few hundred feet away. That definitely follows with your modus operandi that logic is out the window...

                I have the deepest sympathy for you, darkpixel2k, your bright outlook on life is probably the last vestige of childhood left to you, and we're taking it away.

                The ol

                • I HAVE actually worked around TV/cable/media companies, and the territory rights and agreements are a working fact in those industries. There, I broke your f*cking argument. Insulting my intelligence doesn't invalidate my statements.

                  • I HAVE actually worked around TV/cable/media companies, and the territory rights and agreements are a working fact in those industries. There, I broke your f*cking argument. Insulting my intelligence doesn't invalidate my statements.

                    I'm glad you work in the cable industry. This argument obviously means you know everything about cable and can't be wrong. I guess we're done here.

        • by Jared555 (874152)

          The only time where they might not extend service is if the person is right at the end of the line and the extra distance is 'just' enough to require an extra amplifier/whatever. Odds of this happening are very little, of course.

        • by ZorinLynx (31751)

          This is the sort of nonsense that the concept of Universal Service, as applied to telcos, was meant to solve.

          No matter how expensive it is to run a telephone line out to someone, the phone company is required to do it, because telephone service is a basic need.

          Soon we will be at a point where Internet access will be a basic need too; at this point we will probably see universal service clauses for ISPs as well.

          $23,000 to run a cable across the street? I bet $19,000 of that is pure profit. And even after pay

    • In the case of social responsibility and volunteering for internet access there were many good projects to build local access between people long ago. "Freenet" had a completely different meaning [wikipedia.org] before it became a crypto project [freenetproject.org]. What killed these projects was that the big corporations wanted to gain market share and so were willing to sell internet access well below cost at the same time as making huge investments. For almost nothing people were getting better access than the Freenets could provide and

  • by growse (928427) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:26AM (#29081859) Homepage
    They probably felt the need to do this given that all of Hull ISPs are crap.
  • Not lifeguards (Score:5, Informative)

    by miketheanimal (914328) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:40AM (#29081913)
    Lifeguards are hunky guys (and gals) in swimming costumes who save swimmers (or, rather, non-swimmers!) at beaches and swimming pools. The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution: note "lifeboat".
  • Only 100mbs? And how is this "next generation"? Our company has a 1go fibre-optic connection straight into the web backbone. If you're going to do all that digging yourself, you might as well lay some decent cable and connections.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by theeddie55 (982783)
      Note: your company, and how many computers is that connection shared between, this is FTTH connections, (Fibre To The Home) for a home connection it's very much next generation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by marcansoft (727665)

        Not in Sweden. A friend of mine has 1gbps fiber municipal Internet at his house (previously 100mbps twisted pair).

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by theeddie55 (982783)
          Rural Britain tends to be a little slower though, I'm lucky if I can get 2mbs where I live.
      • A lower post answered correctly that it's more to do with the equipment than the wire - although there is a difference between 'black' fibre cables (higher capacity) and regular, and how many strands you lay. Generally a 'home' connection is a single strand divided between several users upon its arrival to a certain quarter/building; the speed you get will depend on how many other users are on the same strand (the origin of often misleading ISP advertising claiming 'xxx giga/s!' when you could only get that

    • Fibre is just that -- fibre. What defines the speed is what you put on either end of the fibre cable -- i.e. the modems. If they choose to upgrade to a 1Gbps connection in the future, it won't involve digging up the cables.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        Not so. Wider fibre is easier to lay because it is harder to damage, but requires photons to be spaced further apart because total internal reflection means that the path lengths (and, hence, transit time) of two consecutive photons (or, more likely, bursts of photons) can differ by a significant amount and cause errors if the second arrives before the first. Additionally, different fibres - and even fibres laid with different amounts of bending - can leak photons (fire a laser through a drum of fibre and
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by sjames (1099)

          You're talking about multi-mode vs. single-mode fiber. Lower speed links can get away with somewhat longer runs of multi-mode fiber, but even at 100Mbps it's not THAT long. Once you get beyond 2000m you need single-mode anyway. Once you've run the single mode fiber, you have the option to go to gigabit or 10 gigabit speeds and/or add additional channels at other wavelengths.

          Poor installation (including excessively sharp turns) can be a limitation but in general, you don't have to replace the fiber to take a

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Though I still can't figured out why would they need even that 100mbps?

      Lifeguards...their own private baywatch 24/7...why would they need so much pr0n?...

      • With the bodies they probably have from all that rescue work (it IS very hard and risky) and the scandalous absence of funding it's more logical to assume they're *providing* it.. :-)

        • by sbt (1619137)

          The RNLI doesn't WANT government funding - so its less than 'scandalous'.

          It did have some government funding to set up the stations on the River Thames after the Marshoness sinking because those were created at government request but those, I believe, are now run from RNLI funds.

          The reason, I believe, is that it was difficult to explain 'entirely funded by donations â" except for these 3 stations' and as a result the government cash was causing a net reduction in RNLI income (I have no evidence from th

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The fibre will carry 1000mb no problem, you just need different equipment at either end. Also, it isn't entirely clear but chances at the individual residences are not getting 100/100 but rather are being served by copper cable or wifi.

      It's "next gen" by UK standards, which isn't saying much.

  • by CaptainOfSpray (1229754) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:43AM (#29081923)
    This lifeboat station is a bit remote ( 53 34'34.34"N 0 6'39.69"E - take a look in Google Earth - it's quite a place). According to the station website [spurnpoint.com] it is 16 miles to the nearest shop, God knows how how far to a telephone exchange, so ADSL was never an option. Next, the RNLI is a charity supported entirely by money received from the public. They get nothing from the government, which is a Good Thing for the efficiency of the service; but does mean that there was no way to afford the horrendous install fee for 16 miles of cable.

    All the crews and their families live at the station - imagine that as a way of life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dan541 (1032000)

      Wait till some dumbass drops an anchor on it.

    • All the crews and their families live at the station - imagine that as a way of life.

      So it's like Survivor, but with David Hasselhoff and the cast from Baywatch?

      • by multisync (218450)

        So it's like Survivor, but with David Hasselhoff and the cast from Baywatch?

        I thought this was in the UK, not Germany

    • by ciaohound (118419)

      imagine that as a way of life.

      Are they hiring?

    • by xaxa (988988) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @07:53AM (#29082313)

      Link to Google Maps, for those without Google Earth installed: 53 34'34.34"N 0 6'39.69"E [google.co.uk].

      Also, an article about location [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia -- the area is a nature reserve!

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Link to Google Maps, for those without Google Earth installed: 53 34'34.34"N 0 6'39.69"E.

        So it's just around the corner from Scunthorpe, then.

    • by fantomas (94850) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @08:07AM (#29082379)

      "the RNLI is a charity supported entirely by money received from the public. They get nothing from the government, which is a Good Thing for the efficiency of the service;"

      I wouldn't say "efficiency of service" is measured as to whether or not you get government money. I have worked for commercial companies that are incredibly inefficient and they don't get a penny of government money. I'd not say "efficiency" is a direct correlation to how much you have to do with a government. Maybe distance from funding source, not giving a damn where the money's coming from and not being accountable?

      I personally also find it amazing and shocking that as a small island nation the people responsible for pulling drowning people out of the water, going miles out to sea in huge storms to save drowning sailors and rescue fishermen are voluntary and unfunded.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sbt (1619137)

        The key thing is, it works (as it does in France, Germany and Holland). If it ain't broke, don't try and fix it.

        Having local volunteers means that local knowledge is retained, people are following their own career in there 'day job' so leaving a station 'on promotion' isn't an issue.

        It also means that stations can exist that any government expenditure review would delete due to the low number of rescues they undertake. The point is that there are locations where a Lifeboat is rarely needed, but when it is i

    • by trust_jmh (651322)
      Correction: 8 miles, which still seems far for the UK. (16 miles is the round trip.)

      I think there are good roads so not a massive amount of time needed to make the trip. Being on life critical duty is the reason it is hard.

      O.T. The furthest point from the coast in the UK;
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/3090539.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • by fm6 (162816)

      All the crews and their families live at the station - imagine that as a way of life.

      I can't imagine doing anything these guys do. Those of us who've never lived or worked on the sea can only imagine the risks and hardships of people working on it, never mind people like this who only go out when it's really nasty.

      On the other hand, the station strikes me as a pretty good place to raise kids. No urban distractions or hazards, lots of chances to learn stuff and to just be a kid, and a community small enough to ensure that they all get personal attention.

  • by mrphoton (1349555) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @05:47AM (#29081937)
    You must remember that our national life boar service (RNLI) is a CHARITY and receives NO government sponsorship whatsoever. They get all there cash by collecting in the streets, collecting tins in shops and charity events... They are a truly amazing charity and save hundreds of lives . All there members are highly motivated volunteers who have ordinary jobs but when called upon drop everything and go and save lives what ever the weather. So my point is that it is not so amazing that they dug there own fiber link, they do after all maintain all there own kit and are out to save as much cash as possible because they don't have that much of it in the first place. http://www.rnli.org.uk/rnli_near_you [rnli.org.uk]
  • Nice work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RedCuber (1487889)
    Thats great - i'm currently in South Africa (working) and it's like going back in time. Still paying $$$ for 64k circuits etc.. i'll get my shovel.
  • by dword (735428)

    We'd do the same on our road, but the government would probably object.

    That's just an assumption and has no relation with the rest of the summary.

  • The Issue (Score:2, Informative)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111)
    There are similar projects in Sweden, where companies give the option to customers to bury their own fiber (with periodic oversight of course). This eliminates the initial expense of FTTH installation for the cash-strapped small ISP, and as a by-product apparently significantly reduces churn, as people become emotionally attached to the fiber they dug into the ground. It's a win-win for everyone. Of course in America the incumbents don't actually want everyone to have fiber, as they prefer to charge huge
  • by Wizard Drongo (712526) <wizard_drongo AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk> on Sunday August 16, 2009 @07:16AM (#29082195)
    For the americans on here who are quite rightly confused about who and what the RNLI are, they're like the US Coastguard. They go out in boats in insane conditions and save people from sinking. They don't have any helicopters (our navy do that), but aside from that they're pretty much the same. With one minor exception: They receive no funding from the Government whatsoever. Insane though it sounds, they get all their funds from charity donations. Give generously.
    • by RDW (41497)

      The UK has a Coastguard as well, of course - these are the people you'll talk to when making a 999 emergency call. They have helicopters of their own, though their major role is the co-ordination of other rescue services, calling on RNLI, independent lifeboat, RAF, and Royal Navy resources as required.

      • by sbt (1619137)

        Yes. The functions carried out by the USCG in the US are covered by a number of agencies in the UK.

        Maritime regulations and law: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (of which the Coastguard is part).

        Rescue coordination and Traffic Control outside harbour areas: HM Coastguard

        Counter Smuggling: HM Customs and Excise

        Surface Rescue: The RNLI & Independent Lifeboats

        Air Sea Rescue: Coastguard Helicopters, RAF and RN SAR assets.

        Cliff Rescue: The Coastguard Auxiliary, volunteers who work for a government agency.

        • by sbt (1619137)

          Oh, and:

          The Coastguard have Emergancy Towing Vessels to pull large ships like Supertankers away from harm.

          The Oil Companies have a number of rescue vessels (required by law) to cover the North Sea Oil Rigs.

        • Yeah, it really would be a lot better if our Government followed the American model and militarised the coastguard and brought all the independent agencies under the one umbrella. Perhaps when Scotland finally achieve independence we can do this, since Scottish waters are so large, and contain all those oil wells, we'd need a good Coastguard and fisheries protection model anyway, might as well bring all the helicopters and boats into it. Save on overheads, administration etc.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by sbt (1619137)

            On the other hand what we have works.

            And it does have its advantages â" for example:

            Fisheries Protection comes under the people who manage the fisheries, and set the rules that they enforce, rather than being a poor relations within a Law Enforcement agency.

            Protection of Oil Rigs is provided by the same assets who provide similar protection to all UK assets rather than there being a separate small CG 'military lite' unit to train and equip.

            HM Customs and Excise don't have to call in a separate agency w

  • We'd do the same on our road, but the government would probably object.

    Somehow this struck me as being seriously fucked up aka government gone wrong.

    I mean of all the people in the world, the ones that own this street, are the ones that live in it, payed the taxes to build it, and own the government that "officially" owns it.
    It's very literally your street. And everyone in the local community should be happy that you show so much responsibility and involvement in it.

    And about laws: They are there to define what would hurt the community, and is therefore not allowed in it.
    But I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Annwvyn (1611587)
      Unless, of course, the company (which already most likely has a monopoly over the area) has paid off the town leaders in order to force the people to hire the company so they can squeeze as much out of the taxpayer as possible. In the USA... I wouldn't be surprised.
      • by jabithew (1340853)

        Yeah, but this is the UK. Telecoms companies don't have psuedo-monopolies here like they do in the States. It is one of the permanent mysteries of this country that our roads seem to be dug up every other week (and have the damaged surface to prove it!) without having any appreciable difference in the services we receive.

        • Yeah, but this is the UK. Telecoms companies don't have psuedo-monopolies here like they do in the States. It is one of the permanent mysteries of this country that our roads seem to be dug up every other week (and have the damaged surface to prove it!) without having any appreciable difference in the services we receive.

          Apart from the fact that Hull DOES have a telecoms monopoly... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KCOM_Group [wikipedia.org] Kingston Communications have 100% market share for broadband in Hull, for various historical, legal and technical reasons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jabithew (1340853)

      I can think of many reasons the government might object to the roads being dug up; firstly the surface of the roads is never adequately repaired, leaving permanent damage to the roads. Often to lay fiber to your community (e.g. the village where my parents live) would involve digging up large tranches of busy road that are vital traffic routes.

      Out of curiosity, why can't we tunnel under roads using robots to lay fiber?

    • by PPH (736903)

      I've put my own utilities in a public right of way. No big deal. There are permits to be obtained and standards to be met when digging on public ROWs.

      What the various government entities might object to is your installing such utilities for the purpose of reselling them. They have requirements which entities who engage in such businesses must adhere to. Such as providing your service to all citizens with some sort of standard (and equitable) rate structure.

  • Further details about the Humber station:

    Its the only station with a fully professional crew. Other stations are either all volunteer (those with only Inshore boat), have one (Mechanic) or two (Coxswain & Mechanic) professionals with the rest of the crew being volunteers (the big All Weather boats) or a largely professional crew supplemented by volunteers (the E Class boats on the River Thames in London).

    There are several advantages to using volunteers, one very important one being that its possible to

  • Sometimes doing part of the project yourself will shame the utility company into finishing the job. Here in northern British Columbia, BC Hydro was very slow to bring electricity to Stony Creek, an Indian village about 12km outside of the town of Vanderhoof. The way that they got electricity was that the people of the village went out and cut down the trees and made the poles themselves, then set them up along the road. This shamed BC Hydro into adding the wiring.

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