Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: It's not funny because it's our money

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  • Steve Barnes,

    Attachment

    In other crap news...

    Nation's CEOs: Raise super age
    To assume makes an ass...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    The fibre to the post and Gigabit wi-fi to the home seems ideal to me

    Sure. And then you have to have one WiFi link per home in order to ensure that the full Gbps per premises can be delivered. Not only are you dealing with the shared bandwidth design of WiFi, you're also having to ensure that individual ISPs can deliver services to a specific customer with absolute certainty that it's their customer who's getting those services.

    Additionally, we're still talking about WiFi. Not cellular data, which is inherently difficult to leech, but WiFi. How many possible ways could delivering from the kerb over an ethereal link go wrong? And what do you do about multi-dwelling lots? I live in the front house and can see the street, but the house behind me cannot see anything of the poles unless their AP was put right at the top of the power pole - at which point it becomes all kinds of vulnerable to power line interference and other issues. Remember that these high-bandwidth RF techniques have awful solid-object penetration properties because they rely on very, very high frequencies (or, in the NTT DoCoMo test, on much lower frequencies that are very strictly regulated). You can't rely on a bunch of street-located APs beaming their connections through intervening properties, because the attenuation of the signal will very certainly drop the speed to below what's required. I have 300Mbps 802.11n at home, and depending where I am in the house I can be sync'ing at speeds more akin to 802.11b even though it's passing through only a handful of walls. Imagine what would happen if I were trying to pass the signal through a whole house!

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Personally, I’d have thought a Fibre-To-The-Lamppost technology with wireless of some kind for the “last 20m” would have worked better. That way, there’s no/less premise equipment, no/less marginal cost of connection and the ability to offer free trials.

    A friend of mine had this in America about 7 years ago. The local council installed to the telephone pole outside the apartment, and then did partnerships with an ISP to provide wireless from the pole. She got good connection all around her apartment, and just had to pay for an account with the ISP.

    Had the massive advantage that she got a wifi connection all around the neighbourhood for several miles - basically removed the need for mobile data.

    Probably wouldn't work as well in NZ in suburbia where your house starts 10 - 20 metres back from the footpath.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    The local council installed to the telephone pole outside the apartment, and then did partnerships with an ISP to provide wireless from the pole. She got good connection all around her apartment, and just had to pay for an account with the ISP.

    Had the massive advantage that she got a wifi connection all around the neighbourhood for several miles – basically removed the need for mobile data.

    Relies on an exclusive partnership arrangement between the provider of the physical layer and the provider of the services layers. Which is completely the opposite of the intent of UFB.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    an exclusive partnership arrangement between the provider of the physical layer and the provider of the services layers

    That would be the efficient way to do it. Have a single community/workforce owned provider with responsibility for the whole stack and a license imposing minimum service standards as a backstop. They can't screw the customer because they're owned by the customer.

    But utterly opposed to the ideology of neo-liberalism and pseudo-markets for natural monopoly services.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But utterly opposed to the ideology of neo-liberalism and pseudo-markets for natural monopoly services.

    The physical layer is a natural monopoly. The services atop that layer are absolutely candidates for competition.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I wouldn't buy (retail) internet service from anyone other than Telstra/Telecom (or Woosh, back in the day). Everyone I know who's done otherwise has had either:
    - finger pointing exercises between the network provider and reseller
    - crap customer service, because the way the reseller competes is to cut costs below the alternatives

    If there were some wonderful technology in the network layer that only X had, then there could be real competition, but they're all running the same imported hardware and software, just at different settings.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    If there were some wonderful technology in the network layer that only X had, then there could be real competition, but they’re all running the same imported hardware and software, just at different settings.

    Better caching, better international bandwidth, service levels, quality support, additional services... There are many things that different ISPs can do with "the same imported hardware and software", including how much of that hardware they use in different places and what software they use.

    That you see no benefit in a competitive delivery model above the physical layer doesn't mean nobody else sees a benefit.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Relies on an exclusive partnership arrangement between the provider of the physical layer and the provider of the services layers. Which is completely the opposite of the intent of UFB.

    Yeah I don't know exactly how it came about, but without having tried it, it seemed like an excellent result for the customer. Why provide internet to each apartment when you could provide it to the whole block with the same amount of hardware?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Why provide internet to each apartment when you could provide it to the whole block with the same amount of hardware?

    Because it's not the same amount of hardware if you're selling even 100Mbps into the home, never mind gig. Wireless is shared bandwidth, meaning that if you and I are both sharing a 100Mbps connection neither of us can get 100Mbps if we're both using it at the same time. It's fine if you're only talking about ADSL2+ speeds but UFB is supposed to be much faster and have a lot of scalability. WiFi doesn't scale well without lots more hardware, to the point where you're talking about some very expensive kit at each end just to deliver what UFB can handle today.

    Plus, as I observed above, the higher your WiFi speeds get the worse is its capability to penetrate through buildings. A lot of the terraced housing developments that have a central courtyard that links together all the garages would need multiple APs installed into the centre of that courtyard in order to provide full coverage. Likewise situations such as my extremely common split property where the house at the back of the section can only get line-of-sight to an AP sited on the road if the AP is at the top of a power pole.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    in the US each and every pole is owned by someone and others pay to use it - some are owned by cities, some by utilities, some by random strangers

    Who owns them in NZ? the city, anyone know? a lines company? in my neighbourhood (Belleknowes in Dunedin) fibre is passing us by (being installed into all the neighbourhoods around us leaving us as an unconnected island) - we have a lot of home 'net workers here and we're a little pissed off - we've started talking about seeing if we can arrange someone else to install fibre rather than Chorus - they wont really even answer the phone - all they have is an 800 number who's job is to spout platitudes, you can't reach anyone who actually makes decisions

    We've started talking about approaching a 3rd party and seeing if they'll wire our neighbourhood since Chorus doesn't seem to care (I don't want to wait until '2019') - I wonder if the new Vodaphone/Telstra conglomerate is hungry enough?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Who owns them in NZ? the city, anyone know? a lines company?

    Pretty sure it’s the lines companies who own power poles. They’re certainly the ones who come out and fix them if they get collected by errant automobiles; spent many hours at crash scenes waiting for Vector to show up to remove and replace broken power poles.

    I think that light poles are owned by the road corridor owner, since street lights are primarily about safety of the road corridor, but in most of NZ there’s no distinction between a light pole and a power pole except on motorways.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    thanks - sadly in Dunedin we have unused gas mains all through our neighbourhood .... but in its infinite wisdom the city sold them to Telecom for $1 to forestall Telstra actually competing with them - don't you just love a city run by the good ol' boys looking after their own

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I wouldn’t buy (retail) internet service from anyone other than Telstra/Telecom (or Woosh, back in the day).... ...If there were some wonderful technology in the network layer that only X had, then there could be real competition, but they’re all running the same imported hardware and software, just at different settings.

    I just signed up with Woosh the other day (have been on their wireless offering for years) and they have some natty equipment, The Fritz Box Fon 7270 which means you can use your cellphone over voip if you are in range of your wi-fi, it also has NAS and can run as a media server, neat.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Because it’s not the same amount of hardware if you’re selling even 100Mbps into the home, never mind gig.

    Yeah, it wouldn't compete well with fibre direct to the home, but in comparison to broadband to the home, wireless connected direct to fibre would tend to be equivalent to several connections. Plus you could mount multiple hardware on one fibre line no problems and a person could connect to any of them. Seemed like a sensible approach to the last 20 metres that suited the local environment there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Seemed like a sensible approach to the last 20 metres that suited the local environment there.

    Oh, undoubtedly. However, people look at things like that and then try to extrapolate its success into using the same model to support FTTN with a WiFi distribution network to the premises rather than full FTTP. I'm just trying to explain to our non-tech members why that doesn't work so well.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Funny thing is that with all these experts involved in all these money decisions, not once has any mention been made of good old opportunity cost, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost
    I guess it's...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to merc,

    Funny thing is that with all these experts involved in all these money decisions, not once has any mention been made of good old opportunity cost

    See, when you start talking about technologies with transformative possibilities, opportunity cost gets really hard to measure. To pick a topical example, if DARPA had worried about opportunity costs when it began looking at packet-switched networks and ultimately developed the internet then we wouldn't be having this discussion, in this forum, because the internet would never have been created. Sometimes you just need to do it.

    If NZ is to have any hope of getting away from being a low-wage backwater farm, we need to embrace things that promote lightweight production.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I really think opportunity cost sits well with ROI, it's about evaluating alternatives. I don't think DARPA is a good example, I have seen firsthand the military measure, and that is not what we want to think it is.
    Crickey, any evaluation measure would be better than what we are getting now, surely?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    f DARPA had worried about opportunity costs when it began looking at packet-switched networks and ultimately developed the internet then we wouldn't be having this discussion, in this forum, because the internet would never have been created. Sometimes you just need to do it.

    Perhaps we might have had something even better. Opportunity cost still has to be considered, even if it's vague. If you don't then you could be choking off something even more valuable. But yes, it is hard to measure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Bring out number weight and measure in a year of dearth.

    William Blake
    The shocking premise that we are in a year of dearth applies in no measure to why you would sell a company that returns 19% PA, for a loss.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

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