About 6 months into it, we got hooked up for the municipal fiber network, we were not in the first batch deployed but were fairly early. Symmetric gigabit for $60/mo, and it's been working amazingly!
But, as the article says, "haves and have-nots". Our entire city should have the municipal network in a year or two. So the whole city will have it, and I think they'll be offering some incentives for people who can't afford the $60/mo. But nationally, and even in the rest of Colorado, there are still a lot of "have-nots".
It is a hardware limitation as far as I know, so unless you see utility workers running new fiber, I would not expect much.
In my old neighborhood, Comcast appeared to have a relatively low over-subscription ratio. My promised 1000/40 service pretty much always hit exactly that and I was a pretty happy camper.
In my new neighborhood, the Comcast over-subscription ratio is far, far worse. My neighbors complain that realized speeds never approach promised speeds. And I was unable to get service at all (despite all of my neighbors on the same street having service). After a year of tooth-pulling, I got an F-U quote from Comcast at $210,000 to connect my house.
So I banded together with neighbors in the community on a couple of adjacent un-served streets and we trenched and laid fiber. Now I have 10000/10000 service and it's awesome.
Edit: I actually can't measure how close my service is to meeting the promise. I run out of CPU first. That's OK.
I have tried to see if upgrading from 200Mb down to 400Mb down would change my upstream, and havent found a thing. One site suggests i might get 5Mb/s more upload. Sucks for pushing docker images.
That’s fantastic! One might even scale this community up to a few more blocks and call it a government. Too bad it’s such a bad word for many.
What zbrozek described is just a co-op, or something less formal along the same lines: an organization designed to provide benefits other than financial profit for its (voluntary) members, who are also its shareholders. Co-ops are great. I wish people would use them more often rather than clamoring for unnecessary government involvement.
I'm stuck in a Comcast monopoly neighborhood in western Washington.
Costs are all over the map. My neighborhood ended up being about $12.7k to build out and $155/mo, but we're on a steep hillside and with large parcels in an expensive metro area. Another neighborhood in a flatter area and with slightly smaller (but still quite large) parcels and higher uptake was around $4k.
We were at ~50% uptake. Those that didn't either were outliers with Comcast, or weren't really serious internet users. Our alternative is AT&T DSL at 18/0.75 for $50/mo. We're expecting rebates on the initial build as uptake rises and additional nearby infra gets built, as well as a reduction in monthly cost as our backhaul gets better utilized. Getting enough commitment to be able to nail down costs and avoid the dilemma of a cost death spiral as people pull out of the project mostly boils down to peer pressure. We did OK on this in our neighborhood because the DSL alternative was so miserable that there was strong will to continue.
Construction is hard and the contractors were incompetent and constantly screwed things up. Folks suffering that incompetence got pissed. Getting power from PG&E is a miserable sufferfest and won't be resolved for another year. In the mean time we're mooching power from one of the subscribers and paying him back. Luckily we didn't need a lot in the way of permits because it's all private property, including the road.
If we were constructing in the public right of way we'd either need special permission from the town to do so, or we'd need to register as a CLEC with the public utilities commission. In practice we're working on both, but becoming a CLEC is so far away in our future that it won't be viable for any currently-planned expansions. Usually getting special permission from the town is easier for getting started.
I assume the only reason they do not is because that is how little upload capacity they have.
The last speed teir I had with them was 150/75 in 2019.
Without that, you need huge amounts of bandwidth so that the FIFO queues never fill.
I wish I could suppress download to thumbnail mode except screensharing.
As a Canadian, I’m used to having to deal with software developed in an environment with unlimited bandwidth and without caps…
I've considered getting a landline again, but it would be nothing but spam calls and surveys and scammers.
I grew up with landlines, and it was possible to have long, nuanced conversations on them without stepping on each other like happens with modern cell phones, and someone pointed out a year or two back that the issue is the latency. Cell phones are high latency, often with some variances in the latency - for everything. Landlines, across town, were both lower latency and far more consistent. Even across the country didn't seem so bad as a modern cell phone to your neighbor.
Talking on the phone didn't used to be painful - but it is now.
Indeed. I have a "land line", but it's just VoIP.
I miss ISDN voice. Rigidly time-synchronized, no stutter, no transmission noise.
I ceased using a cellphone when I retired. Three days ago was conscripted into a cellphone conversation that had terrible audio and communications drops. If anything, cellphones have grown worse IMO.
My landline has ISDN to the local office but the audio quality drops b/c of the other party's cellphone. Good news: it worked through the recent Texas cold weather power blackout.
Wishing for the old days, when not only could speech be understood but also the emotions and inflections of the speaker were transmitted. All those nuances are lost "like tears in the rain":
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Blade Runner - Final scene, "Tears in Rain" Monologue (HD):
Once inside, it's a relatively simple process to cut the CAT5 wires at the punchdown block, and re-terminate them with male/female ethernet connectors, and connect them up to a network switch. If you're lucky, the panel will have a power outlet inside.
Lastly, connect one of the LAN ports from your ISP modem/router into the nearest ethernet jack and you should be able to use any other jack in the house for internet, assuming you terminated all the plugs in the panel into a proper switch.
One of my great blunders when this house was built was telling the electrician no when he offered to wire the house for ethernet for a few hundred bucks. He wasn't low voltage licensed, but he said he could still run the wire and just coil it up in boxes with blank plates for someone (me) to come along later and finish. I was in a rush that day and said no thanks, we're just going to use WiFi anyway. DOH. I still want to slap myself in the head almost 10 years later when I think of it.
The closest I can get to having wired network in the house using existing wiring would be using the coax which is installed to the same plates in every room as the RJ11. That wire does come back to a common point, and only one of those runs gets used for anything. But the gear to convert coax to ethernet is mildly expensive for what it is, and I haven't pulled the trigger.
You should be able to run at least gigE on cat5, and shared 1gbps is probably better than what you get on wifi.
I've heard good things about MoCA, but it certainly costs more than regular ethernet.
The most recent case was at work, with Comcast Business service, and they identified marginal signal power at our modem, and removed an extra splitter that was in the ceiling of another business. Took them around 4 hours to track down and repair.
Seriously, we had to get a cell booster and root our phones to be able to use them as wireless hotspots just to survive and stay employed last year. It was an absolute trainwreck, the entire time.
Satellite or drive to nearest town to use the public library during their hours.
You will likely discover that 15MBps upstream was sufficient.
Beside the joke, I find the concept of ingesting content at your pace and then talking about it in class very interesting. No idea if the knowledge will stick in mind as well as classic lectures, but I would definitely have been seduced by this proposition when I was a student.
It's called a "flipped-classroom".
The teacher gives you material to read or watch at home before the class, and then in the class it just asks if anyone had any questions, and they can go over these together.
As a teacher it is super useful because you get to learn first hand which concepts the student didn't understand.
And as a student you can read or watch something whenever you want at the speed that you want, and if you don't understand something you can ask about it in class.
With some experience, teachers can also use the flipped-classroom model to focus only on the hardest part of a particular lecture. You can rely that some student is going to have trouble with it at home, so you can prepare before hand to the lecture to how to address that particular question (and once you have done the class a couple of times, you get pretty good at it).
There is no need to waste teacher and student time during 1:1 interactions on "easy" stuff that everyone can just read at home.
With students who aren't participating in the current model? They will (have the opportunity to) do better than they are now, as when they watch prerecorded lectures they can skip back to parts they didn't understand. As opposed to their current behavior of not speaking up and, therefore, not being able to go over the content again.
This method allows students to learn at home at their own pace, and use face-time with experts to asks questions.
Just learning at home at your own pace is a net win for all students.
Those who are a little shy, come to class, and learn something from the questions of others.
Those who are more shy, don't even come to class. They can read the stuff at home, and have ~2 hours extra per week to do other stuff.
We have 1:1 tutoring 2 per week (students have to get an online ticket), and they can also ask us privately per email, but in my experience, students that are "too shy" to go to class and ask questions in front of others are also often "too shy" to asks questions privately.
The other aspect of these is homeworks. Our homeworks allow groups, but they are thought of as "individual homeworks". We recommend people do them on their own. This means that non-shy people as a group get them done faster and often better, but it also means that shy people doing them on their own, end up learning more and performing better in the exams.
We don't grade homeworks, just pass or not pass, but passing them is required to be allowed to take the exam.
Still, we do internally grade them, and people that do them well alone do perform better in the exam.
In my opinion, the only "downside" for "shy" students, is that since we give them the freedom to not attend _any_ classes, they might decide not to do so. That means, no access to new friends, new colleagues, in person learning groups, isolation, and well understanding the hardest parts of the material might cost them more time if they are "on their own".
Most still make it. Some do find learning groups or new friends in the class forum, some do better than many students that do attend classes, etc.
Having taught many flipped and non-flipped (classic) classes, I never had the feeling that forcing people to attend class fixed any issues related to "shy-ness".
Students are how they are, I'm neither their parent, nor counselor, nor psychologist, nor am I qualified to do any of these things. I'm their teacher for a specific kind of content. I want the content to be useful and applicable to them, so that they can use it in their careers to be successful, whatever successful means to each of them. I also want them to enjoy the content, so that they can learn it easier.
For me this means giving them as many options as possible, so that they can master the content in whatever way makes the most sense to each of them.
I don't mind audio, but I definitely don't understand the value of "talking head" style videos. They're, if not the worst possible information density possible, pretty darn close. A couple hundred megabytes to see someone speaking a few dozen kilobytes of text, and I still can't search it or skim it to see if it covers what I want.
I actually find that, for talks with slides, I do like having the inset speaker video. What I tend to do is to start off with a full screen talking head intro with mostly the slides/multimedia and a small speaker video.
However, are there any good automated transcription tools that can make a good transcript from an imperfect YouTube video? Most of what I've seen is good for humor, and I've even seen some used in a legal deposition context that are downright dangerous (inserting most likely word or phrase in place of what was actually said, so actively decreasing and corrupting info content). This might not be as disastrous for a lecture where there are also office hours, but... anything good out there?
Automated? No. But if you're willing to pay $1/minute and the audio is good/accents aren't too heavy/etc. there are a bunch of options.
(And yes, I usually also go through presentations at 2x).
Of course, it's easy to squander that opportunity by delivering a rote, feelingless lecture. And if you're just going to lay out the facts, why not record them? In that case, videos have many advantages. But a live lecture is also an opportunity to get people excited about what you're teaching.
Post-pandemic, my plan is to take a hybrid approach. Technical details, like proofs, belong in pre-recorded videos watched out-of-class. But the main conceptual thread should be delivered in live lecture, where I can give it the energy and life it deserves.
The biggest disadvantage was that with a live audience the professor got cues from the audience if we understood him or if he had to slow down. In his videos he constantly assumed he had to repeat everything slightly differently, so you had to watch at 1.5x speed to get to something bearable.
On the flip side, you can redo sections and easily insert multimedia and just mix up the talking head format.
I think that is probably the best model. Letting students watch lectures on their own time is hardly better than expecting them to read on their own time.
Students were expected to help each other with the material and only go to the teacher if they were collectively stumped.
I can imaging all kinds of bad scenarios were someone tried to switch a disruptive class to this routine overnight. But, with good onboarding and ramp up, that plan sounded like a dream to me!
My personal favorite method of learning was a TA that went through the material, meticulously calling on each person in order. You could skip, but it was still obvious if you were playing a game or browsing Reddit. Eventually you learned that you really didn’t have all the answers and that paying attention was probably a good idea. It also got people comfortable giving a wrong answer and that really helped everyone with the learning process.
Also, if you live in a dense urban area, you'll also likely suffer from issues with available wireless spectrum and have to compete with everyone's router blasting as loud as possible.
For instance, much of Ubiquiti's lineup will choke on anything over 500mbps w/ fq_codel (aka Smart Queue) enabled.
As a concrete example here, I run networking for our church, and we've had to make a facility that really wasn't designed for livestreaming into something that can toss out a tolerable stream.
We've got... no idea what we pay for, actually, but it reliably measures about 70/15 on Sunday mornings with nothing restricted. However, due to some various quirks of network naming, there are a lot of other devices on the network, some of which only get woken up for Sundays, and they like installing updates. Plus cell phones that recognize "Oooh, wireless!" I need to split the network up, but I also hate rejoining "things" to networks, and we have a few more of those than I really care to deal with.
Experimentally, while our max upstream is about 15Mbit, things start to get erratic beyond about 10 - latency starts getting inconsistent and we start having stream issues. I've capped the livestream bandwidth at 8Mbit (we hardware transcode on site from the Main profile h.264 coming out of the switcher to High profile, at a lower bitrate), and that gets first priority - I'm using Mikrotik queues, so any packet coming out of the server on Sunday goes first. I played around with what everyone else gets, and eventually settled on around 2Mbit - that can mix in with our livestream and still not impact anything outbound.
But I also had to cap our download. While the connection can do 70Mbit, I reliably saw upload dropping (even from 10Mbit) if something had pegged out download in the morning. So that's capped to a conservative 20Mbit, which is enough for most things, and is low enough to not interfere with the higher priority upload.
This is all on timers, and the limits kick in Sunday before the services, and drop off afterwards.
You can also find a lot of gains if your router prioritizes acks outbound. DSL modems were often so badly asymmetrical (think 25Mbit down, 768kbit up) that your upstream acks would end up in queues and not get through for a while (buffer bloat, though I didn't know that term at the time). You could radically improve a DSL modem's connection by putting some queues in to manage upload. Prioritize acks, and then limit your total upload to about 750kbit (on that example 768k modem) so that you weren't buffering in the modem.
And all of this is entirely in the scope of the router, even if it's working around issues further upstream.
However, if you're trying to reduce buffer bloat and random latency, the general concept of restricting to what your connection can actually tolerate works quite well. I've done it plenty on various connections over the years.
It doesn't even need to be powerful if you're on a normal copper line for home use. I'm saying that running a 20€ Xioami router and having machines torrenting, an Android box watching stuff, phones watching YT etc. without hiccups.
Any guide on how to do this properly? My ISP's hardware is garbage but I'm not sure how to replace it. Feels like it was easier in the DSL days.
- asymmetric broadband (high download speeds, low upload speeds) won't work in a world where people are doing real work "in a world of Zoom conferences, we need something that is more symmetric in download and upload — or at least upload speeds need to be a lot faster than they were when it was mostly Netflix and HBO Max"
- rural/urban divide is real and a severe problem "for the most part, cities have done reasonably well, and rural areas have done reasonably badly. So this divide is really economic and population density"
- the free market has few, if any, incentives, to build out to rural and low-density areas "If you are running a wire, whether it be cable or fiber, it costs the same amount per mile pretty much no matter where you put it. So if you can put it someplace where you can service 100,000 people, it’s a lot more economically advantageous than if you’re going to be serving 20"
- there isn't any real free market anyway, since most locales have a single provider, maybe two "while there may be multiple internet providers, there are very few internet providers at any single place. So we essentially have, at least in regions, de facto monopolies that have very little reason to increase their offerings, at least from the sense of competition.
- jobs will not be completely unconnected to location "It’s still going to matter that you are in the same area so that on occasion, you can come into the office and meet physically together. But I think there’s going to be much less of the five days a week on campus sort of work. People will be able to work two to three days a week at home, without any loss of productivity or loss of culture within their group."
The problem with this is that the US already did this, but with bad rules in the telecom act of 1996. After a few years of litigation, the FCC decided the line sharing requirements didn't actually apply to anyone, because there was 'enough' competition between cable, dsl, satellite (hah!), and powerline (double hah!). I don't know how we would get the 96 telecom act back, but this time with rules that make sense when the issues are difficult to explain to people.
Say the infrastructure is now open for all companies. What is now the differentiator between Comcast and Fios? The infrastructure and the bandwidth it can handle is what they are selling.
>What is now the differentiator between Comcast and Fios?
Price, support, included services, etc.
For example the infrastructure owner of my fibre connection is exactly that: an infrastructure company. The infrastructure is really good but their internet support is really bad. On the other hand my ISP is running a very tight ship with no bloated services at all. No TV packages available, no phone option, no bundled streaming services, only direct payment with card transactions (because it is cheaper), only support by mail and so on. In the end I get a less bloated service meeting my exact needs at a lower price but my mother can pick another ISP that can provide her with the services she needs and only one company needs to run cables in the area.
There are other differences too if going into details. Like the hardware they supply the end user (infrastructure owner supply the typical crappy WiFi router I'm sure you know and hate while my current ISP just gives me two external IPv4 and IPv6 addresses directly in the fibre box and that's it, I gotta take it from there). The hardware between the fibre into my house and the long haul fibre out in the streets is also supplied by the ISP. The infrastructure providers hardware is old 1 gigabit per port while the ISP's is... well I don't actually know but faster than 1 gigabit. This makes a small difference as my connection is 1 GB/s and 1 GB/s hardware cannot in practice deliver 1 GB/s so while one promise 950mbit the other promise the full gigabit.
All in all I get a cheaper connection but I would use my current ISP even at the same price. To me it makes a big difference that the person I can contact isn't some fresh out of school boy who reads from a list but someone who can tell me "this is why your IPv6 temp. addresses setup isn't working. Try this init string..." :)
What would be a differentiator for ISPs if the infrastructure was completely shared? The internet would be the same.
How about: not hijacking your DNS to redirect domains? not using traffic shaping to favor content the ISP makes money from over other content? Not blocking torrent ports? Not having monthly usage caps? Not filtering or blocking content based on country of origin? Not blocking Tor? Not requiring you to rent the router/modem from the ISP and have them control it?
In other words, all those Net Neutrality things that the FCC took away. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality
As far as impact on cost, do you mean "cost to the consumer" or "cost to the company"?
As for costs, I meant costs passed to the consumer. If we assume that the infrastructure is shared by 5 ISPs and they all contribute to its maintenance/upgrades. All ISPs offer the same down/up speeds and the reliability of the infrastructure is identical. What are the knobs to adjust costs to the customer and have them pick you? Pay support people less, have them work in shitty offices, do shady stuff with customer data. Maybe I'm not creative enough but other than reducing your internal cost of operation what can you do?
Does anyone know about how this legislation worked out? Did it really get more people telephone access?
I'm skeptical of any praise toward the New Deal, because it's almost universally praised by just about everyone, but then you dig into it and you find out that agencies like the NRA were so bad that even their proponents had to admit they were a failure, and the "successful" programs that lasted, like Social Security, pale in comparison to more modern programs like Australia's Super.
I don't hate the idea of the government delivering internet, but more like they deliver water or electricity, at the municipal level, rather than some set of national, overarching subsidies and regulations that will probably create perverse incentives all over this very large country.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996, meant to be sort of a digital update, has clearly not been successful.
Then Bell System had to be broken down, and even that wasn't enough.
The whole mess with internet access in US is due to local monopolies held up by idiotic regulations. More regulations won't ever solve the problem.
I've been on a 25/3 (that mostly delivers 20/2 during the day, and "a connection" during the evening that... varies wildly) for about six years now, and I've been working 100% remotely that entire time. It means I have to think about some of my transfers and let them run for longer periods, but I've had no trouble doing video conferences and other things on this connection. I just have to pay attention to what I'm doing, and I might need to cancel or pause a transfer if I'm jumping on a video call. If it works for the meeting, I tend to use a cell phone for audio - most video conference bridges support this method.
But we've also generally designed our life around the fact that we're not on super fast connections. We cache content locally (I tend to rip DVDs to the server so I don't have to deal with the physical disks), and while streaming works if we let it, I'm certainly not streaming high bitrate 4k content... but we also don't have a large enough TV that it really matters at our viewing distances. Also tend to cache other stuff - I'm running a local Ubuntu repo, because I have a lot of VMs that do various things, and sucking down updates over the LAN is far faster than running over the WISP.
None of us play extensive computer games, and while I do game a bit, it's things like Minecraft or Kerbal Space Program that are offline/local, or at least not latency sensitive. I hear lots of complaints about how bad consoles with online-only games are on slow connections (especially the update game), so we just don't have one. We game quite a bit, but it's board games, tabletop games, etc.
If stuff were designed for "something slower than gigabit," it would certainly improve the experience on slower connections, but literally making a living on something a lot of people barely even consider broadband, I've not found it to be an actual issue if you just work within the limits.
Now, the usual answer for this is "But Starlink!" - and I have it. It's a secondary connection, because it's not actually usable as a primary connection for much beyond casual web browsing and file downloads these days. I know it's a beta, and I'm certainly putting traffic through it to help with their testing, but it's just not a good primary connection if you have alternatives yet. The bandwidth is fine, the latency is good, and the rest of it is just annoying. It's really prone to breaking long running connections (CGNAT and it seems like my public IP changes halfway often), so SSH tunnels and VPNs get broken constantly. They tolerate some packet loss just fine (just pause for a moment and then resume when the packets start again), but over Starlink, they get reliably broken. I've not poked around enough to figure out why. The bandwidth is also hugely variable (both upload and download). Sure, you see 300-400Mbit at peaks, and I often see north of 200Mbit... briefly. Then it slows down, drops to less than 10Mbit, pauses, goes back up, etc. It doesn't show in random speed tests as much, but if you scp or rsync a big set of files over, you can watch the speed rise and fall. I can't imagine bandwidth estimation algorithms are able to make much sense of this for things like video calls, and the quality of video calls on Starlink isn't great yet. It's also prone to plenty of "micro-drops" where it simply stops passing traffic for 5-10 seconds. Not normally a huge deal, but very, very disruptive for video calls. I still use my 25/3 for any sort of video conferencing, because it's slower, but more consistent.
(One may safely assume I'm pretty rural)
Hopefully increasing satellite density fixes the speed reliability.
And I guess I understand why your IP would shift and break connections but they really need at least an option to not do that even if it adds a few more milliseconds of latency.