Locations with no good Internet (was ISP in Johannesburg)

Michael Sokolov msokolov at ivan.Harhan.ORG
Fri Feb 26 21:34:36 UTC 2010

Daniel Senie <dts at senie.com> wrote:

> Better than western Massachusetts, where there's just no connectivity at =
> all. Even dialup fails to function over crappy lines.

Hmm.  Although I've never been to Western MA and hence have no idea what
the telecom situation is like over there, I'm certainly aware of quite a
few places in "first world USA" where DSL is still a fantasy, let alone

As a local example, I have a friend in a rural area of Southern
California who can't get any kind of "high-speed Internet".  I've run a
prequal on her address and it tells me she is 31 kft from the CO.  The
CO in question has a Covad DSLAM in it, but at 31 kft those rural
residents' options are limited to either IDSL at 144 kbps (not much
point in that) or a T1 starting at ~$700/month.  The latter figure is
typically well out of range for the kind of people who live in such

That got me thinking: ISDN/IDSL and T1 can be extended infinitely far
into the boondocks because those signal formats support repeaters.  What
I'm wondering is how can we do the same thing with SDSL - and I mean
politically rather than technically.  The technical part is easy: some
COs already have CLECs in them that serve G.shdsl (I've been told that
NEN does that) and for G.shdsl repeaters are part of the standard
(searching around shows a few vendors making them); in the case of
SDSL/2B1Q (Covad and DSL.net) there is no official support for repeaters
and hence no major vendors making such, but I can build such a repeater

The difficulty is with the political part, and that's where I'm seeking
the wisdom of this list.  How would one go about sticking a mid-span
repeater into an ILEC-owned 31 kft rural loop?  From what I understand
(someone please correct me if I'm wrong!), when a CLEC orders a loop
from an ILEC, if it's for a T1 or IDSL, the CLEC actually orders a T1 or
ISDN BRI transport from the ILEC rather than a dry pair, and any
mid-span repeaters or HDSLx converters or the like become the
responsibility of the ILEC rather than the CLEC, right?

So how could one extend this model to provide, say, repeatered G.shdsl
service to far-outlying rural subscribers?  Is there some political
process (PUC/FCC/etc) by which an ILEC could be forced to allow a third
party to stick a repeater in the middle of their loop?  Or would it have
to work by way of the ILEC providing a G.shdsl transport service to
CLECs, with the ILEC being responsible for the selection, procurement
and deployment of repeater hardware?  And what if the ILEC is not
interested in providing such a service - any PUC/FCC/etc political
process via which they could be forced to cooperate?

Things get even more complicated in those locations where the CO has a
Covad DSLAM in it serving out SDSL/2B1Q, but no other CLEC serving
G.shdsl.  Even if the ILEC were to provide a G.shdsl transport service
with repeaters, it wouldn't help with SDSL/2B1Q.  My idea involves
building a gadget in the form factor of a standard mid-span repeater
that would function as a converter from SDSL/2B1Q to G.shdsl: if the
loop calls for one mid-span repeater, stick this gadget in as if it
were that repeater; if the loop calls for 2 or more repeaters, use my
gadget as the first "repeater" and then standard G.shdsl repeaters
after it.  But of course this idea is totally dependent on the ability
of a third party to stick these devices in the middle of long rural
loops, perhaps in the place of loading coils which are likely present
on such loops.

Any ideas?


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