• United States

Connecting a neighborhood to the Internet

Dec 15, 20033 mins
BroadbandEnterprise Applications

Nutter helps a teleworker examine options for bringing broadband to a development

I live in an area that’s not too remote, but feels like it. My home is in a very nice development that has many amenities – golf course, nice homes, etc. The only problem is there is no cable, DSL or fiber – nothing for broadband Internet access. We’re only about 3 to 4 miles from the city where some of these option exist. Anybody who wants better than dial-up connection has to try satellite. I currently have the DirecWay 4020 system because I have to access my company’s VPN. (I work out of my home.) I’ve heard about power line communication, Multichannel Video Distribution & Data, fiber and other options. Do you have any recommendations on how my development, which right now has about 80 homes and will have twice that, can get connected? I’ve looked into getting a T-1 and splitting it out, but there has got to be a better solution out there.

– Via the Internet

First, you need to get an Internet connection to your development. Check with your local exchange carrier and any other competitive LEC or independent LEC in the area to see what type of connection they offer. If you have a cable TV company in the area, ask to speak to its engineering people to see if the system is engineered or can support two-way communications on the cable. If it is, they can take a “spare” or empty channel on the cable system and feed the Internet connection to the complex. Once that’s done, they can finish the job and hook up everyone in the complex to the Internet.

If that isn’t an option, see if you can find a local ISP interested in getting more customers. If you can get enough of your neighbors interested, you might be able to get the ISP to drop a T-1 to the complex at a cheaper rate than if you had negotiated on your own. Once the T-1 is there, the ISP might be able to make arrangements with the local telco to rent unused copper or possibly string their own, and put install their own DSL network.

If all else fails, once you have an idea about neighborhood T-1 interest, put up a Wi-Fi antenna in clear view of the houses and let those interested use Wi-Fi cards to connect to the Internet. This assumes that the agreement for the T-1 you have installed allows for reselling or sharing of the Internet access. This means a little work and some headaches on your part, but it gets connectivity to your area that might not otherwise be there. Depending on your proximity to the telco central office that feeds your area, you might be able to get a connection faster than a T-1 for sharing with others in your neighborhood.

There are issues you will have to deal with if you put this in on your own and “resell,” such as access, firewall protection, IP addressing and more. Getting a faster connection should be possible, but the real question is will the cost and potential hassles be worth it?