Locations with no good Internet (was ISP in Johannesburg)

Paul Bosworth pbosworth at gmail.com
Fri Feb 26 23:10:53 UTC 2010

I think a lot of people often forget that ISPs are actually businesses
trying to turn a profit. At my last job we built out a fiber to the home
ILEC in relatively rural Louisiana. This means that we had quite a number of
customers that didn't meet the density requirements for deployment. Using
made-up numbers for the sake of discussion, lets assume that a customer
provides $1/month for service. If you can place deployment in a highly-dense
area you'll make a lot more of those $1's per month with that investment.
When you start deploying further to the edge you really slide into the
"we're not even breaking even on this" market. Obviously anyone that has a
job for profit knows that this is a no-no.

As telcos deploy high-density technologies (fiber, metroE, etc) they can
pull the legacy technology (xDSL, T1, etc) and push that to the edge.
Unfortunately the edge is always going to get the hand-me-downs but it's
better than nothing. My wife is from a tiny town in central PA (the vortex
between Pittsburgh and Philly) and her parents have had dialup until last
year, when the local telco finally pushed DSL to their location. They only
draw 1.5meg but it's better than the 56k they were paying for.

As they say in vegas, "It's just business, baby."

On Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 5:51 PM, Crooks, Sam <Sam.Crooks at experian.com>wrote:

> I had good luck getting my dad some form of broadband access in rural
> Oregon using a 3g router (Cradlepoint), a Wilson Electronics signal amp
> (model 811211), and an outdoor mount high gain antenna.  It's not great,
> but considering the alternatives (33.6k dialup for $60/mo or satellite
> broadband for $150-$200/mo) it wasn't a bad deal for my dad when you
> consider that the dialup ISP + dedicated POTS line cost about as much as
> the 5GB 3G data plan does.
> Speed is somewhere between  dialup and Uverse or FIOS.  I get the sense
> that it is somewhere in the range of 256 - 512 kbps with high latency
> (Dad's not one for much in the way of network performance testing).
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Michael Sokolov [mailto:msokolov at ivan.Harhan.ORG]
> > Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 3:35 PM
> > To: nanog at nanog.org
> > Subject: Locations with no good Internet (was ISP in Johannesburg)
> >
> > 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
> > fiber.
> >
> > 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
> > places.
> >
> > 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
> > unofficially.
> >
> > 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?
> >
> > MS

Paul H Bosworth

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