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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Why we must settle for nothing less than FTTH....

I am struggling a tad with a story yesterday that implies that "superfast broadband" is 'up to 6Mbps' from now on. Have we lost it??? Other countries are doing 1000Mbps (yes, count the zeros) and we think 6Mbps will make us a leading broadband nation?
This blog post can be read at

Meanwhile, thanks to Twitter, I finally have permission to reproduce a quite extraordinary post from across the Atlantic (I presume) from @lamapper on the Broadband Cumbria site

If you are not following Barry Forde (my first ever keynote speaker, in Leyburn, possibly before many people here had even heard the term "broadband" and long before I knew many of those who are now broadband centre stage!), then do so. Now!

Do not support a BT Infinity campaign or let your County Council spend your/our money until you know the options. Barry is outlining the choices and the world is responding..........

@lamapper says:
Great article, with great explanation that . . .

“they (BT)refuse to supply dark fibre to third parties”

. . . that is the problem in a nut shell in every country in the world today.

Japan solved this by deregulating NTT, thus in 2000 Japanese consumers received 100Mb/100Mb for $55 per month…Thanks to the de-regulated Fiber by 2006, they could swap out their Fiber Modems and could get 1 Gbps/1Gbps for $52 per month. The price going down as more and more subscribers come on board in spite of the exponential increase in a customer’s bandwidth is a very STRONG indication that the Japanese economic market for Internet access is working.

Many of us understand that you can multiplex a single fiber cable and increase the bandwidth from 1X to 1024X, this has been true since the early 2000s. And when a company runs Fiber, they do not just run a single strand…that would be a waste of time and money…they just leave the extra Fibre dark.

Here in the USA, the current non Fiber providers – read Cable, DSL, Telco… (and the non synchronous Fiber providers like Verizon who only offers 50Mb/5Mb) are quick to deny the reality that consumers need high levels of bandwidth and that ONLY Fiber To The Home (FTTH) will do the job over the long haul.

Any solution that does not put Fiber in the home of the consumer is at best a waste of time and money, and at worst a Ponzi scheme perpetuating the bandwidth scarcity myth that most providers rely on for their failed tiered pricing plans.

Consumers in the USA are no longer waiting for the telco – cable – wireline – wireless provider oligopoly to provide Fiber any longer. Consumers are beginning to wake up and have noted that their (providers) actions since 1990 have shown their true colors. That they have no intention of providing Fiber To The Home unless forced to do so. This is in spite of receiving in excess of $900 Billion SPECIFICALLY for Fiber from American Tax payers (money + taxes + fees) since the 1990s. They have had three decades, over 30 years to provide Americans with Fiber. They have failed. In fact it is reported they spend in excess of $1.5 Million per WEEK lobbing elected politicians to avoid fulfilling their 1990 era promise of Fiber…for which they were amply paid I might add.

Heck Chattanooga finished their FTTH build-(approx 2,500 businesses and over 20,000 residences) out 7 years ahead of schedule with an infusion of cash of barely over $100,000. EPB finished in 3 years instead of the planned 10 years. As of December 2010 they are finished with the initial Fiber build out and are already looking at expanding their offering thanks to the huge demand for the service by their citizens. It should be noticed that the incumbent provider had been fighting against EPB and Chattanooga since the 1990s to prevent this reality. Thankfully they failed.

In spite of these un American and anti-competitive providers a few American communities have provided FTTH to their citizens. In every case they have been fought tooth and nail by the incumbent provider whether telco or cable. In spite of the up hill battle, almost 30 communities have SYNCHRONOUS FTTH Internet in the USA. When Google announces their 5 Go Big With a Gig communities there will barely be over 30 communities in the USA that are providing true and honest Internet service to consumers, citizens and residents.

This map shows the locations of SYNCHRONOUS FTTH US communities/cities:

It is interesting to note that Utopia in Utah provides FTTH via User Owned Fiber. Home owners pay $1,500.00 and their community provides another $1,500.00 via bonds for this purpose. The home-owner’s real estate increases in value thanks to this User Owned Fiber.

Most of my friends are planning to move to one of the 30 or so communities on the map in order to secure FTTH Internet for themselves and their posterity. We have waited 30 years, we will NOT wait another 5 years. Thankfully we do not have too.

Over time as more and more home buyers insist on FTTH as their number 1 consideration when purchasing a new/used home, communities will have no choice but to either force their providers to provide Fiber or kick them out of their communities. Those communities with FTTH offerings are recovering faster economically than others as businesses too are relocating bringing jobs with them. Makes these communities a better long term investment in all areas, especially Real Estate.

What BT and their ilk should worry about more is the loss of TRUST that their inaction, bad business practices and customer no service methods have caused among their consumer base. After multiple decades of abusing their customers TRUST, why would you even want to do business with them, ever. My friends and I do NOT and we are instilling this legacy in our children as well. The great things about our kids, they are more Internet savvy than many of their parents, they get it.

Let em choke on their non FTTH, non synchronous, non net neutral inferior Internet offerings.

A couple of the FTTH communities thanks to synchronous bandwidth are allowing their customers to run their own personal cloud, file and email servers from their homes….long overdue and about time!

Even 10Mb/10Mb at between $25 to $50 per month is much, much better than a promise of “up to” anything, throttled back to less than 100Kbps/30Kbps, the Cable provider reality in the USA today.

In Japan, NTT, thanks to owning the Fiber once again found themselves in the dominant position in spite of De-regulation, I suppose consumers in both England and the USA are going to have to get a little bit more upset at the incumbent provider’s customer-no-service and insist on FTTH or they will never get it! Our combined telco/cable Internet history shows this truth to be self evident.

Here in America, we are relocating and moving for FTTH, problem solved.

Funny how synchronous Fibre bandwidth solves the net neutrality issues as well, once the bandwidth scarcity myth is put to death, there is no longer as large an incentive to censor, restrict and limit, why waste time and money on software and/or hardware if its simply not needed?

The Future can be BRIGHT, but only with FTTH, nothing less!


chris said...

The trick now is to get councils to read about it here and on the broadbandcumbria blog instead of listening to the telco hype...
...before it is too late and chances get missed.

MB94128 said...

The snip link doesn't work. Here's an alternate :

Synchronous FTTH communities in the U.S. (Google Maps)

Source : "Broadband, NGA, FTTC and the laws of unforeseen consequences" (Broadband Cumbria Blog, Barry Forde guest post, 15 Dec. 2010)
[NB - Lengthy article due to the number of comments.]

Somerset said...

FTTC is 40-60M potentially for many so vastly better than 6M. Again for the majority there are no applications identified that will persuade many that they need 1G.

This makes it difficult to move forward with options for many areas, despite the many scattered not-spots.

So what's the answer? Why aren't 2/3 of the UK population shouting that they don't want FTTC?

Anonymous said...

Somerset makes a valid point that deserves a reasoned response.

What people want is the means to access Digital Services that is fit for purpose.

For many households today and into the next 5 years going forwards then FttC will serve that purpose.

There are other drivers for FttH that concern ownership, terms of trade and long-term future-proofing.

Simply rubbishing BT's investment is not the way to build the FiWiPie however.

lamapper said...

I am honored that you chose to post my comments on FTTH, Fiber To The Home. It is true that I am across the pond in America and follow developments related to Fiber and the Internet.

@chris not just the councils, but the people that elect those council positions. I can not speak for other countries, but here in the USA, the incumbents pay allot of money to make sure the politicians do not give their citizens FTTH. The map shows how few communities have managed to elect leaders that put their citizens first and provide Fiber To their Homes.

Thank you MB94128 for creating another link the shortened one which works intermittently. Here is the full URL just in case others have problems.,-98.129883&spn=22.725937,53.481445&t=h&z=5

My friend who created the map, @cbemerine, is going to make it more search-able this year. You will find links to news articles and press releases when you click on the various communities that are currently providing Synchronous FTTH to their citizens.

The news media here in the US is on the payroll directly or indirectly of the incumbent oligopoly...they typically only advertise the 1GB/1GB most expensive tier of service which costs from a FIOS level of $119 to as much as $300 per month. Note FIOS is not synchronous and is usually only 50Mb/5Mb for that $119 or more per month.

They should advertise the lower more affordable tiers/levels of service. Here are examples that are available today:

10Mb/10Mb $34.95 or $28.95 in Wilson, N.C. and Layfayette LA respectively.

30Mb/30Mb $57.99 in Chattanooga, TN, still Light years better than Cable at less than Cable prices.

10Mb/10Mb $35.50 to $57.00 in the Utopia communities in Utah.

15Mb/15Mb $45 in Salisbury, N.C.

2012 will see the 5 Google Go Big With a Gig communities get started where we expect to get 100Mb/100Mb for the prices listed above, basically cable prices.

With Cable, only the first year introductory rate is below $50 per month in America. The rate is increased at either $5 or $10 per year each and every year until you get mad and churn...which most of us eventually do. Some customers this year have seen increases of almost $20 in one year as they remove a $10 discount and hit you with an extra $10 fee at the same time.

Throttled cable is not worth $20 per month, much less $69 per month. And when they throttle the service to lower than the FCC definition for broadband, well that is unacceptable and should be illegal. Would you pay $69 per month for a throttled 100Kb/30Kb? What about 40Kb/10Kb?

100% of Cable customers are throttled, they just do not technically understand that their provider is doing this to them except during the Speed Test. Its pathetic.

lamapper said...

@Somerset, with all due respect, that there are no high bandwidth apps is a FUD argument spread by the incumbent providers in a lame hope to retard the growth and spread of Fiber. You give customers the bandwidth and there will be even more apps created. Currently due to bandwidth throttling, especially the upstream bandwidth, many normal Internet services like Digg and anything with frames and allot of markup is unusable. You know its bad when Flash sites will not load and even very well rendered sites like Google Gmail slow down. Every time I check my DD-WRT bandwidth monitor software (firmware running on my residential firewall/router) I see that my bandwidth is throttled to as low as 20Mb/4Mb or 10Mb/0Mb, no wonder websites will not load effectively. At least buffers and that helps allot. Hopefully and others will soon buffer as well.

The reality is the telcos/cable companies in the USA do NOT want to become just a pipe to the Internet, which of course is a flawed view on their part. They are already just a pipe to most of us. Does not matter what they want, its the way we see them.

Once we have Synchronous bandwidth, there will be no reason for providers to throttle, restrict, censor, limit, reduce a customers bandwidth. Hopefully those that continue this obscene anti-customer practice will be put out of business, as they should be.

How much money do they spend on hardware and software to restrict bandwidth, that will no longer be needed? Another plus for the progressive providers.

Perhaps the reason they (2/3 of UK population) are not screaming is that they do not really understand the limitations of anything short of FTTH. How such artificial limitations will be used solely to create a scarcity that will result in higher monthly rates for no legitimate reason other than the company wants higher profits.

If they want higher profits, all they have to do is provide more service...seems simple enough to me.

lamapper said...

Weird, my first post disappeared when the second post was placed...

Thank you for posting my posts about FTTH, its an honor. I have been reading about FTTH developments across the pond and here in America for many years.

@MB94128, thank you for posting the new link....the shortened URL I posted sometimes works and sometimes does not, not sure why.

Here is the full URL to the FTTH Synchronous communities Map currently in the USA today should anyone else encounter problems:,-98.129883&spn=22.725937,53.481445&t=h&z=5

@chris not just the councils, but the people that elect those councils. Here in America the councils, city/county councils, boards, etc are often lobbied to look the other way and not provide Fiber to the community. If you click on articles related to each of those communities, especially Wilson, N.C; Chattanooga, TN and Layfayette, LA you will find interesting stories about he uphill battle those elected leaders fought in order to bring their citizens Fiber To The Home (FTTH).

It helps to have the people involved to overcome the resistance of the incumbent provider.

lamapper said...


I wish I got a minimum of 4Mb upstream...never going to happen without FTTH, I do not even get my advertised, marketed and paid for 2Mb upstream...except during the Speed test. 1 sec after the speed test my bandwidth is throttled.

That quote should have read as follows...

"I see that my bandwidth is throttled to as low as 20Kb/4Kb or 10Kb/0Kb, no wonder websites will not load effectively." A K vs a M really makes a difference doesn't it!

@FiberGuy you wrote

What people want is the means to access Digital Services that is fit for purpose.

I would suggest that anything short of FTTH will not be synchronous and will impede people getting the service they want and need.

The telcos have had since the 1990s, that's long enough, 20 years is enough. Where's the Fiber? Where's the service?

Without FTTH, in 5 yrs, 10 yrs, 15 yrs we will still have the same issues with throttled bandwidth, censorship, QoS and Net Neutrality.

This would be true for FTTC. Not because FTTC can not handle it, but because the telcos will not allow it to handle it.

I want off the non FTTH roller coaster, customer-no-service, FUD BS excuses forever. And will move to get customer service via the Internet once again.

Why continue to artificially limit bandwidth, QoS, net neutrality because of inferior technology that will not allow for 10Mb/10MB, 100Mb/100Mb, 1Gb/1Gb, 100GB/100Gb, 1Tb/1Tb? Its penny wise and dollar foolish as my father would say.

My hypothesis: Synchronous FTTH bandwidth solves the majority of issues related to streaming content, excessively CSS/HTML marked-up sites and frame/toolbar ridden sites that will not render correctly via a throttled upstream bandwidth scenario. 100% of Cable Internet providers throttle bandwidth.

AT&T via DSL extreme guarantees 80% of your upstream bandwidth with a 99.99% uptime, a non issue with FTTH.

I believe a SUSTAINED (no throttling below) minimum of 300Kb upstream will solve a world of ills. I will never have this with any provider in America that does not provide synchronous FTTH. The same would apply in every other country in the world. As the national telcos work from the same play books.

With synchronous FTTH, the only concern will be net neutrality, QoS (VoIP traffic) and Censorship, i.e. DNS poisoning (Of course I will just type in the numbers nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn directly and circumvent their DNS or move to OpenDNS servers)

And we all know why the incumbent providers do not want to have a FREE market, free of their lobbying mischief. That is quite another post. Here in America no economic market is FREE, not one.

As for some links not working, I will have to have a friend check them as for me they appear to work for me specifically. I had to edit the link to "" ( as the shortening service defaulted to a private key. I removed the private key. If the link does not work now, check to see if the website has been reported to Spamhaus as spam in an effort to censor speech...its been happening here in America in the last few years more and more.

This is a dastardly, cowardly trick we can expect other companies to use more frequently in order to suppress dissenting opinions on the Internet.

As for throttling, my current bandwidth is between 8Kb/0kb and 16Kb/4kb with a 1 sec spike to 160Kb/40Kb....I pay for 16Mb/2Mb...go figure. Might be time to check into DSL Extreme and churn from cable forever.

MB94128 said...

Something else to consider about SBC / AT+T. When their California ISP was PBI (Pac. Bell Internet) they had the guts to (a) have an online problem form and e-mail exchanges and (b) have a roll-your-own how-to page for Windows NT users when it wasn't a supported OS. Today, those turkeys only support MSWin and supposedly Mac OS X 10.5 (NOT 10.6 even though they say it works on that version) and their software does not provide a bypass option for the requirements phase.

Also, voice calls to their customer support get routed through their DSL support desk with hideous blather about the wonders of DSL when one is on hold. I've had to practically scream to get through to the hidden dial-up desks. Their website is a classic example of glitz over function and it attempts to force a visitor to be running either MSWin or OS X (I'm running SUSE 10, a Linux-D distro, and Mac OS X 10.6).

Basically, the big telcos have lost sight of the customer. And I'm worried by not only the ongoing stagnation of SBC / AT+T and BT but also but the looming power grab of Comcast. Prices are Shylockian and discriminatory against those who only want a fast connection to the Web.

The simplest reform would be to force a restructuring of the prices. Have a baseline charge for one's landline. Then add additional charges for the services (voice, special features [call waiting, etc], video) you want to have. Leave the pipe dumb for those with the skill to use it.

MB94128 said...

My apologies - typo in para. 3 :
s/but also but the/but also by the/

CB said...

@lamapper You all will be happy to know that the shortened URL to this blog site works like a champ. Thanks for fixing it.

I am glad that everyone is enjoying the Synchronous FTTH map that I posted on Google.; I plan to enhance it in the near future... thank you for posting a new link @MB94128, I copied and pasted the original shortened link above and it worked tonight but may not tomorrow. I plan to give it its own landing page in the near future, which will get in the search results for others to find.

@MB94128 about your quote

The simplest reform would be to force a restructuring of the prices. Have a baseline charge for one's landline. Then add additional charges for the services (voice, special features [call waiting, etc], video) you want to have.

Sorry but it will NOT work. Early on I had Basic Cable for $12 - $15 per month, during the time of dial up, so I only had cable TV. One year they increased the base price to $30, doubled it, and said now the additional channels cost only a $1.99 instead of an additional $15, see how we helped you.

I churned. They did it before, they will do it again.

Important note to share with your friends, I discovered years later, that the entire time I had gone without cable TV because of their attempt to jack up my price, the county/city government had a plan that the Cable company had to honor if you asked for it where the price for basic cable was still $15.00. They just did not advertise it as they wanted to make more money.

Where ever you live, check with the politician that is the interface between your elected leaders and the
Telco/Cable Company and ask them about this. Of course that only applied to Cable TV and who needs that anymore....

Not I.

@MB94128 you are right that the Telcos have lost their ways. When I worked at one, they would go on and on about having one bill instead of many and triple play. Here it is over 15 years later and zero innovation. Personally having been on the inside I am NOT surprised.

The solution to the Telco/Cable Company/ Cellular company oligopoly was the Telecommunications Act of 1996 before it was watered down. Just as NTT in Japan was deregulated, this is what MUST happen in each and every country in order to solve our Internet provider bandwidth problems. Here in America our politicians are bought and paid for and will not consider it...probably the same in your country.

Note that over the last 3 years Telcos/Cable companies have been unable to pass anti FTTH legislation through the North Carolina legislature due to Greenlight , Wilson N.C., success. Thanks to Citizen's United vs FEC that declared corporations are people, more Republicans got elected in North Carolina as millions of dollars were spent to purchase offices. So it will be interesting to see if the Cable Company/Telcos get their money's worth there this year. If they do, only deregulation stands a chance in the face of millions/billions coming from corporations.