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RE: [RFI] wideband service availability

To: "'W0UN -- John Brosnahan'" <shr@swtexas.net>,<rfi@contesting.com>
Subject: RE: [RFI] wideband service availability
From: "Dave Bernstein" <dave.bernstein@comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 00:54:11 -0400
List-post: <mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
We moved to Los Altos Hills CA, in 2000, a somewhat-rural area overlooking
Silicon Valley. The absence of broadband availability there was a local
joke, given its proximity to the technology center of the universe. After
failing to convince PacBell to experiment with DSL repeaters, I learned that
Sprint operated a wireless internet service from a tower somewhere in the
east bay -- a considerable distance but possibly in my line-of-sight.
Sprint's initial reaction to my request for service was a knee-jerk "you're
way out of our service area", but I was persistent with the low-level
automatons and was eventually escalated to a fellow who agreed to send out a
tech and measure the signal strength at our home. The tech arrived several
days later, clambered up our roof, and reported his meter pegged. The
resulting installation yielded speeds of 2mbps down and 250kbps up, and
remained reliable during the occasional winter downpours. To this day I
don't know what technology they were using or why they were so reticent to
deploy it, but it sure beat dialup, ISDN, or satellite. 

When we sold the house, I passed along this service to the new owner like a
cherished heirloom.


      Dave, AA6YQ

-----Original Message-----
From: rfi-bounces@contesting.com [mailto:rfi-bounces@contesting.com] On
Behalf Of W0UN -- John Brosnahan
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2004 12:24 AM
To: rfi@contesting.com
Subject: RE: [RFI] wideband service availability

>  Broadband is not as easily found here outside of
>Omaha.  I have cable, but when I asked about DSL, then said not 
>available-must be too far from the CO.  I can throw a rock from my roof 
>and hit the CO bldg without trying, so I don't think that's the reason.  
>We do have two cable companies in this part of Omaha though so we have 
>the duopoly here with  DSL in some spots somewhere.

My telephone company, Southwest Texas Telephone, has 3400 customers in an
area of 3500 square miles.  Yes, less than one customer per square mile--and
that includes the towns.  Out where I am it is closer to 1/10 of that
"density".  And a total of 38 employees!

My telephone company ran DSL an extra 8 miles for TWO of us.  And that is
not 8 miles from the CO--but 8 miles from a little box that acts like a CO.
We are about 25 miles from a real CO "building".

Clearly the economics for extending DSL with a repeater every three miles
can't be too bad if my little Telco can do this.

NO, I don't OWN the Telco or even know anyone there except Coby, the tech
who does ALL of the work in this HALF of their coverage area.  And I have
just met hit a few times--when he has been here to do the work.

There are a LOT of advantages of living in a rural area.  People and
companies actually provide the services we pay for.  I am sure if they could
an accountant, that the accountant would advise against acting this way.
Just pleased no one has ever told the little company that couldn't operate
like this and run DSL 8 miles for just two customers.

73--John   W0UN

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