Wednesday, 1 December 2010

To me - to you

A couple of years ago we were fortunate that the water company decided to install a sewerage main in our road.  Prior to this we had a cess pit, the scourge of rural life.

I recall at the time the letter came through the door asking if we were interested in a connection (were we!)  and the terms were straightforward.  They would tee off the new main to the curtilage of our property for a modest fee - and it really was modest as they took into account the fact the navvies were there anyway laying the main so it was little more than the cost of the materials they used.

Thames Water lay new main
It was then our responsibility to connect to them.  Our plumbing would meet in a new mini-manhole in the middle of our driveway.

And so, with the help of a local builder and his mini digger, we did.

Lookng back it sounds a lot like the community next generation Internet connection to the digital village pump.

Instead of expecting the phone company (or cable TV company) to come to your house (right into your living room even) the handoff could be out in the street.  The tee off the new fiber village backbone could be a small access box on an outside wall, gate post, or even shallow buried in a small access chamber (like the water meter.)

Much like today's phone connection via the BT master socket, the access box would be a two part affair.  The back side would be for the backbone - securely shut, no fiddling with this side please - and the front side would be a simple face plate covering a fiber jack socket where the customer would attach their fiber.

This neatly solves the demarcation problem and makes the cost model for a community network simpler.

You can make your own joke about the parallel between sewage and Internet content.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great idea, and basically how a digital parish pump would/could work. If the county council take responsibility for making sure the bduk pilot funding goes into laying the 'main pipe' then communities could step up when they are ready and join into it. Some will be ready now, some may not see the benefits until others have done it and can demonstrate them.
    Word soon gets round about something good, and of course about something bad. The main problem I see in rural areas is that ADSL (broadband through the phone line) has never worked well, and a lot won't even consider trying it after hearing the horror stories. I have also seen a community wifi network that worked go from strength to strength simply by word of mouth. Cumbrians are no fools. If there is a way to do something they will do it. Currently there is no point in building your own network unless you can get a reliable, affordable feed. If we get fibre into the area (the main pipe) we can do the rest.
    I agree, we can't expect everything done for us, we are used to dealing with other problems, we can deal with this one too. The only thing that is beyond our scope is getting the core infrastructure right in the timescale needed to catch up. The main trunk should come from the pilot funding. The funding must not be tendered out to BT to do cabinets, as this would make the digital divide even wider between the haves and the have nots. The best explanation I have seen of this discussion is on