Let's see neighbourhood fiber lan

The phone companies failed at the fiber to the curb promise in most of the USA and many other places. (I have had fiber to the curb at my house since 1992 but all it provides is Comcast cable.)

But fiber is cheap now, and getting cheaper, and unlike wires it presents no electrical dangers. I propose a market in gear for neighbourhoods setting up a fast NLAN, by running a small fiber bundle through their backyards (or, in urban row housing, possibly over their roofs.) Small fiber conduits could be buried in soil more easily than watering hoses, or run along fences. Then both ends, meeting the larger street or another NLAN, could join up for super-high connectivity.

I would join both ends because then breaks in this amateur-installed line don’t shut it down. The other end need not be at super-speed, just enough so phones work etc. until a temporary above-ground patch can be run above the break.

Of course, you would need consent of all the people on the block (though at the back property line you only need the consent of one of the two sides at any given point.) Municipal regulations could also give neighbours access to the poles though they would probably have to pay a licenced installer.

An additional product to sell would be a neighbourhood server kit, to provide offsite backup for members and video storage. Depending on legal changes, it could be possible to have a block cable company handling the over-the-air DTV stations, saving the need to put up antennas. Deals could be cut with the satellite companies to place a single dish with fancy digital decoder in one house. The cable companies would hate this but the satellite companies might love it.

Of course there does need to be something to connect to at the end of the street for most of these apps, though not all of them. After all, fiber is not that much better than a bundle of copper wires over the short haul of a neighbourhood. But if there were a market, I bet it would come, either with fiber down main streets, fixed wireless or aggregated copper.

More on this

Brad,

Your blog is great. I'm amazed about how similiar some of the thoughts that I've had, that you comment on. But in regards to this issue:

See my posts on digg if your interested (search for jaylaprade)
http://www.digg.com/hardware/USB_digital_TV_tuner_roundup
http://www.digg.com/tech_news/I_don_t_want_my_MTV

Anyway, I've thought further on this since I wrote about them. What about a neighborhood coopt for off the grid electricity? Solar and Wind is very viable in North County San Diego.
In addition to that one could create a small coopt small farms in the neighborhood. Each person manages one resource in their backyard and share with there neighbors. I raise chickens, you have various citricious trees. Another neighbor does leafy green vegatables. Etc.

The theory is applicable to much in society. What I think the problem is, is that people do not want to know all of their neighbors. If they have to share resources and actually get to know more about their neighbors they may not be able isolate themselves.

Anyway, I hope that will change.

NYC "Glassroots" Startup

First off - thats a great term Doc Searls coined, "glassroots", thanks for spreading the meme! I'll definitely tip my hat to him the next time we run into one another. Secondly, is there off the shelf equipment that enables adhoc fiber network formation? I'm picturing a smart fiber switch/router, something specifically designed for consumers to form the adhoc networks you've described here -- tying their individual networks together in a piecemeal fashion. I'm guessing it isn't in the market as-of-yet but IMHO, its definitely startup worthy!

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