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Google Networking The Internet

Lawrence, KS To Get Gigabit Fiber — But Not From Google 83

Posted by timothy
from the kickstarting-of-a-different-kind dept.
symbolset writes "Just 40 miles west on the Kansas Turnpike from Kansas City Kansas sits Lawrence, KS. With the slow rollout of Google fiber in their neighbor city, it was looking like their 89,000 people were not going to get the gigabit fiber to the home for quite some time. Up steps Wicked Broadband, a local ISP. With a plan remarkably similar to Google's they look to build out fiber to the home, business, and so on with gigabit speed and similar rates, symmetric bandwidth and no caps. Wicked Fiber's offer is different than Google Fiber's, with more tiers — with cute names. The "Flying Monkey" gigabit plan is $100/month, "Tinman" at 100Mbps is $70/month. They offer TV as well but strangely put Internet streaming and Roku to the fore. They are even using Google's method of installing first in the neighborhoods with the most pre-registration to optimize efficiency, and installing only where there is enough demand. It seems Google's scheme to inspire competition in broadband access is working — if Wicked Fiber gets enough subscribers to make it pay. If this succeeds it may inspire similar ISPs near us to step up to gigabit fiber so let's root for them."
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Lawrence, KS To Get Gigabit Fiber — But Not From Google

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  • I bet that, somehow, even though we're only 20-30 miles from Lawrence, it'll be years before Topeka sees this. Maybe Google will take a second look at us, we did rename our city for a month after all.
      1. 1) Find a friend in Lawrence in line of sight.
      2. 2) Get some really good, gold plated Pringles cans.
      3. 3) Get the highest powered WiFi rig you can.
      4. 4) Surf away.
      • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:09AM (#43556445)

        1. 1) Find a friend in Lawrence in line of sight.
        2. 2) Get some really good, gold plated Pringles cans.
        3. 3) Get the highest powered WiFi rig you can.
        4. 4) Surf away.

        I didn't know Monster Cable made Pringles!

      • Or, if you can find any actual company with a real product to sell, buy some 802.11y gear, pay the (theoretical) hundred-buck fee for a 10-year license to use the 3.6GHz spectrum, and do it with complete unambiguous legality.

        Now, finding actual 802.11y hardware might be a bit of a challenge... the last time I looked, it was *still* commercially-nonexistent circa 2-3 months ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They can do this because they can cherry pick neighborhoods to bring service to. In the past, Telcos and cable MSO's were required to wire to everyone regardless of population density or any other demographics. Now, affluent areas will get good service and the other side of the tracks ... well, not so much. Free market at work!
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)
      I'm not sure if this is already a rule, but I say if there are only two or three competitors, we stop using terms like free market, capitalism, and competitive markets, and instead call it something else. I'd suggest "socialism" since using it as a slur to describe things you don't like even if it's not actually socialism seems popular. We'd have to rename things that are actually socialism of course, but we probably need to do that anyway.
    • Re:Cherry picking (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:29AM (#43555861)

      I hate to tell you, but the incumbent providers can cherry pick too, and have for quite some time. My neighborhood has no cable as an option, but its a mile in any direction. And good luck even trying to figure out who at ATT you can talk to about getting a remote DSLAM in your neighborhood so you can get decent internet speeds.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      As somebody has already said, the current telecos do that as well. The speed ranges in Seattle last time I checked were anywhere between 1.5mbps to a max of about 10mbps, IIRC. With little rhyme or reason as to where the good service would be. I know my neighborhood is farther from their equipment than Capital Hill, but the connection speed here was substantially faster.

    • The cherry picking started years ago though. Sure the incumbent telco (BT for me) will give you a copper pair that will support voice calls and 14.4K (or was it 28.8 I don't remember) dialup and if you pay enough they will sell you expensive leased line services. But broadband is only available to those the telco thinks it profitable to offer it too* and even where it is available the speeds can be terrible.

      I'm pretty sure that here we never had any requirements for the cablecos to wire up everyone round he

  • bad track record (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:09AM (#43555637)

    The company rebranded themselves from FreeNET and have a really bad track record delivering what they promise. They have "free" wifi all around the city including hotspots that haven't been maintained for years. One would hope that Google does their research and comes to Lawrence despite the local attempt.

  • I am a former Lawrence resident and still live nearby. The company has had a couple of names in the past. Though some are hopeful, few take the announcement seriously It is hard to see how the company can get the financial backing to do a significant deployment. No need to feel envious.
    • by dywolf (2673597)

      last time someone tried this the cable company (comcast i believe? or time warner?) )got it shutdown.

      now in that case, it was a small town deciding to do it for themselves and set up a new provider, rather than an existing provider like in this case.
      but if the local cable monopoly can stop that, they can probably stop this.

      i figure the only reason they couldnt stop google was because...it's google and its harder for the local 800lb gorilla to stop a fellow 800lb gorilla than it is to stop a 5oz mouse.

  • Here in Seattle (and other places), we have Gigabit Squared (https://www.facebook.com/GigabitSquared) that is trying to put in Gigabit speeds into various neighborhoods. Will it happen? Will it be affordable? Only time will tell, but at least we are starting to get choices.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      And as somebody who lives about 3 blocks outside of the deployment zone, this isn't likely to do me any good any time soon. What's more there's no guarantee that the service will ever be available outside of those test areas.

      Centurylink is doing a better job than Qwest did, but the city seriously needs to sue them and Comcrap for lieing about the future deployment plans for fiber optic as they don't seem to be planning to do so, even though they told the city they would be. OK, technically it was Qwest that

  • It is great to see this starting to take off. Between Google offering to buy some cities fiber networks, and now at least two companies coming up with a similar plan due to Google, the future of US broadband access is starting to look a little brighter! We might even have 1Gb to most homes by the time other developed countries have 10Gb. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:09AM (#43556443)

    Google Fiber is working and doing what it is mean to do, get the US out of the Internet stone age by forcing other companies to get real about Internet service. Bandwidth is insanely cheap anywhere except residential or small business because they artificially limit their own capacity. Google has years of experience managing fiber (they bought a /lot/ of the dark fiber back after .com crash) and knows there isn't any legitimate reason to keep things as they are.

    Cable companies have been pushing back at Google (youtube etc) claiming that they use too much of their available bandwidth and trying to justify charging Google extortion money for extra bandwidth. Google has a choice, they can pay the extortion money to companies that refuse to honor network neutrality or they can spend the money on rolling out their own fiber. Google is demonstrating to the cable companies that their position is not insurmountable and that if they have to they will simply go around them.

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Google Fiber is working and doing what it is mean to do, get the US out of the Internet stone age by forcing other companies to get real about Internet service. Bandwidth is insanely cheap anywhere except residential or small business because they artificially limit their own capacity. Google has years of experience managing fiber (they bought a /lot/ of the dark fiber back after .com crash) and knows there isn't any legitimate reason to keep things as they are.

      Cable companies have been pushing back at Google (youtube etc) claiming that they use too much of their available bandwidth and trying to justify charging Google extortion money for extra bandwidth. Google has a choice, they can pay the extortion money to companies that refuse to honor network neutrality or they can spend the money on rolling out their own fiber. Google is demonstrating to the cable companies that their position is not insurmountable and that if they have to they will simply go around them.

      Astutely observed, sir, but I would add that all of that makes a compelling case for a public utility model, wherein one (quasi-governmental) entity owns the pipe (fiber, whatever) and sells access to it on an even playing field. Having competing companies all stringing their own fiber is madness. Having them all competing to offer service over one piece of existing fiber is much better. No?

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Astutely observed, sir, but I would add that all of that makes a compelling case for a public utility model, wherein one (quasi-governmental) entity owns the pipe (fiber, whatever) and sells access to it on an even playing field.

        That has always been my idea. For these last-mile problems have a public utility own the last mile, and ONLY the last mile.

        So, either the government or some highly regulated utility owns the fiber to the home, up to the termination point in the central office. They then charge customers to use those lines, and they charge service providers for rack space. Service providers can then engage with consumers to provide them internet service, cable, or whatever. For non-shared lines like twisted pairs and fib

  • The guys that run this company are a bit sketchy. They've been involved in other internet provider companies in Lawrence that never delivered what they promised. Most in Lawrence are a little leery of this deal.
  • by Average (648) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:58PM (#43558285)

    As others from the area point out, these guys have a track record of big dream-can't implement. "Lawrence Freenet", "Community Wireless Corp", "Wicked", etc. Spotty customer service record at best. Several different schemes to try to beg money out of city hall.

    The reason this rinky-dink stuff keeps working? The town is desperate. Highly educated, highly tech-savvy. But, the local cable provider was owned for years by the local newspaper. They had bandwidth caps in place 15 years ago! And not a 'throttle' if you went over. A 'holy crap $300 bill' if you went over. The cable company got sold a few years back, but it's historically been bad enough to make you wish TWC/Cox/Comcast would take over. AT&T is the incumbent telco, but only pulled U-Verse to a couple neighborhoods before stopping.

    I put in my $10, expecting that it's a scam and I won't see anything as a result. Consider it my sign of complaint. But, I used a one-time credit card number to send the $10... that's how little I trust these guys.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      The cable company got sold a few years back, but it's historically been bad enough to make you wish TWC/Cox/Comcast would take over.

      As someone also in Lawrence and who has worked for two of those three companies you mention as an Internet support rep I can tell you, no, you DON'T want Time-Warner or Cox to take over this area.

      My main complaint as a Sunflower/Knology subscriber is the caps, but having one of the big three take over would just mean a jump in prices, and I bet they would leave the caps in place since they were there before just like Knology did -- their other markets don't have them, only Lawrence because we had them to st

  • Putting up with the 'Wizard of Oz' shit from outlanders is bad enough, but when fellow native Kansans do it... When I become Emperor, such actions will be punishable by firing squad.

    Eff L. Frank Baum (who never even lived in Kansas).
  • Maybe they'll come home more often now that they have the bandwidth to research and do remote investigations with Skype!

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