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Google Networking Technology

Google Fiber Work Hung Up In Kansas City 153

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-laid-plans dept.
alphadogg writes "When Google announced last spring that Kansas City, Kan., had landed the tech company's much-pursued super-speed Internet project, the company gushed about the local utility poles. Now it turns out that differences over where and how to hang wires on those poles, and what fees or installation costs may be required, have created a troublesome bump in plans to launch the project."
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Google Fiber Work Hung Up In Kansas City

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  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:40AM (#38745708) Journal
    We knew there would be resistance bordering on armed rebellion. This is like delivering food aid to Somalia. Google knew going into this they needed a lawyer for every trench digger and fiber hanger to deliver Kansas City from the early 20th Century, and should have budgeted a hundred million dollars to grease the wheels that turn the gears of industry. There's entrenched opposition to this in Kansas City with incumbent warlords defending their turf, as there is in the rest of the nation. This isn't really surprising at all.
  • Re:Corruption. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:25AM (#38745850) Homepage

    And why use poles at all? Place everything underground where it's protected from weather. And it looks a lot tidier too.

    It's a bit more expensive but the maintenance is a lot lower so the total cost will even out.

  • by The_Laughing_God (253693) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:38AM (#38745886)

    I'd think pole-strung Fiber would need steel strands for structural strength in high winds and other potent weather -- underground fiber has less need of structural strength.

    The steel strands, however, happen to be conductors which need to follow proper isolation procedures.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:46AM (#38745922) Homepage

    Normally, everybody who hangs wires on poles pays a share of the pole cost. But Google negotiated a contract where they don't have to pay if the fiber optic cable is close to power lines, instead of further down where telephone and TV cable lines go. Working near power lines is dangerous and slow, and when it's done (which is rare) the work has to be done by people trained to work on power lines. Usually, nobody does that unless there's some spot where there's no good alternative. Google thought they could do a lot of it and save money. Wrong.

    Here's a summary of the subject. [pseg.com] Doing this without getting someone killed is not easy. There are major headaches associated with hanging fiber in the power line space. It may be necessary to cut off power on the power lines during installation. While the fiber is non conductive, the messenger wire which supports it is usually steel, so it cannot be pulled into place in the power line space while the power is on. Electricity customers hate having their power cut off for installation work.

    Besides, for "last mile" connections it doesn't help much. Any electrical boxes or pole-mounted equipment have to be down in the communication space on the pole, and the drop to the house has to come from down there. Only for long runs without drops is there any win for hanging fiber in the power line space. On rural lines, where long runs are likely, there's usually not that much wire on the poles, so there's no reason to do that.

    Somebody at Google had too cute an idea, and they've run into the real world.

  • by Rotaluclac (561178) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:56AM (#38745960) Homepage
    This question may just show that I'm from Europe... But I really wonder: why use utility poles at all? What's the reason? Here, almost all cities and towns got a fibre-optic network during the last three years. I too have a fibre connection in my home, just like the rest of my town. During all of these activities, utility poles weren't even considered. It was clear from the start that the fibres would go underground. Everywhere. So narrow (50cm or narrower - that's about 1 to 1,5 feet for non-/. readers) trenches were dug in every sidewalk. Where roads had to be crossed, a kind of horizontal drill was used. The same for going from the street to my house: a narrow hole was drilled under my front garden, leaving no visible trace of the fibre. (Actually, it may have been more "pushing" than "drilling", but that's a minor technical detail). I'm just saying - im my state of mind, going underground is just sooooo logical, that alternatives weren't even considered. Why is it so different in the USA?
  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:26AM (#38746062) Journal
    BTW: If you live in Ephrata and have a spare closet, I'd like to work a deal for some hosting where I pay your whole power and Internet bill in return for you ignoring a couple little boxes. People from Grant County with 100Mbps fiber may also apply.
  • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @09:32AM (#38747148) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes I think I might want to retire over there, maybe Wenatchee. But then I think of the 20 years I spent in Yakima and come to my senses. But NWI/LocalTel does have some sweet pipe. I'm over there (from Tulalip) about twice a month to turn up circuits. Hell, my T-Mobile phone doesn't have signal in downtown Grand Coullee but the freaking tire store had 50Mb/50Mb service. They could have 100/100 for $5.00 more, but the 50/50 is the lowest plan available. Fuck Me!

  • by H3lldr0p (40304) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @10:32AM (#38747552) Homepage

    Re #2: The sad fact of the matter is that (as someone living in the county) that it's well known that the BPU is very corrupt. As in former board members have resigned over rigging the pay of friends and family. There's a good reason that the county government ignored them and are trying to ram this through. See this [pitch.com] for further reading.

    Re #3: The incumbents did this to themselves. Before it was popular everywhere else, Kansas fucked its own ass by giving the cable and telcos state wide franchises and removing all of the local oversight boards. There might have been a chance to stop Google, but their greed got the best of them years ago.

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