[svlug] the frog in the pot (me)

Luke S. Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Thu Feb 21 00:10:14 PST 2013

On 02/20/2013 01:43 PM, Eric De Mund wrote:
> Hello,
> Reliability-wise, do I have any broadband alternatives to Comcast? It
> started out at $60 per month, which was barely tolerable as I don't
> watch TV (and my package of Internet + TV was $5 less than the $65 it
> would have cost me for Internet-only), but now it's just gone over $70.
> Which is ridiculous.
> Do I have broadband alternatives in Sunnyvale? I'm asking you good
> people because your requirements are probably similar to mine

I see two complaints... sounds like you want it cheap /and/ reliable. 
(or maybe a more reasonable cheap or reliable;  sounds like you aren't 
getting either.)  For me?   I'm a little less concerned about cheap, but 
my impression is that you don't get reliable options until you get in 
the $500+/month range, and you don't get reliable options at a decent 
speed (100Mbps or so is 'decent' but not good  - what is this, 1998?) 
until you get to the $3000/month range.

So, Santa Clara has municipal fiber.  www.svpfiber.com   I'm in the 
process of setting up a loop between my buddy's warehouse and my 
datacenter.   With reasonably inexpensive equipment (reasonably 
expensive meaning about as expensive as a car I would drive; meaning 
well under a month of sysadmin salary)  can get us around eight 
ten-gigabit channels (or 'waves')  of data on that loop.

Monthly costs are on the order of $250 a mile, so with reasonable 
density, that's not a big deal.   a big problem here, though, is that if 
I need more than 8 different 'waves' - then I have to upgrade the oadm 
equipment around the whole goddamn loop, most likely, and certainly buy 
a better wdm at the co-lo.

Install costs are kinda high, though;  you are talking $5K-$15K, 
one-time, to trench from the fiber on the street into a building (then a 
few more grand to splice it in, and then a few more grand for a 
cheap-assed OADM and decent switching kit)     Of course, if you are 
even on the wrong side of the street, trenching costs go way up.

Anyhow, yeah, I was thinking about trying to hook up apartment complexes 
and condos, as if it's a 50 unit building, well, $1000/month, for 
everyone to have 100Mbps+ speeds doesn't seem so bad, and that would be 
profitable if I had reasonable density, even if I had to front the 
install costs.  (assuming I had enforceable contracts making them stay 
long enough to amortize out that tremendous install cost)

(and yeah, once you get to the data center?   the bandwidth really is 
almost free.   Especially download bandwidth;  First, as a hosting 
provider?  you are mostly uploading;   And all the pipes you buy are 
symmetrical, so you have a bunch of free download transit you could give 
away.    If you are mostly download transit?   first, well, it becomes 
/way/ easier to get settlement-free peering agreements... and next, most 
bandwidth providers will discount their services by at least a third... 
so you can see why I wouldn't mind residential users.  )

Of course, this probably won't work  As far as I can tell, most people 
are pretty happy with DSL or Cable, and besides, group deals like that 
are goddamn difficult to sell.  sure, $20/head for a Japanese-quality 
connection sounds like an easy sell, but you know half the residents 
won't be interested.

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