[Bloat] On fiber as critical infrastructure w/Comcast chat

Sebastian Moeller moeller0 at gmx.de
Sun Mar 26 06:34:11 EDT 2023

Hi Bob,

> On Mar 25, 2023, at 21:43, rjmcmahon <rjmcmahon at rjmcmahon.com> wrote:
> It's not just one phone call. I've been figuring this out for about two years now. I've been working with some strategic people in Boston, colos & dark fiber providers, and professional installers that wired up many of the Boston universities, some universities themselves to offer co-ops to students to run networsk, trainings for DIC and other high value IoT offerings, blue collar principals (with staffs of about 100) to help them learn to install fiber and provide better jobs for their employees.
> My conclusion is that Comcast is best suited for the job as the broadband provider, at least in Boston, for multiple reasons. One chat isn't going to block me ;)

	Yes, but they clearly are not the party best selected to to the internal wiring... this is a question of incentives and cost... if you pay their technicians by the hour to do the internal wiring according to your plan (assuming that they would accept that) then your goals are aligned, if the cost of the installation is to be carried by the ISP, they likely are motivated to the the kind of job I saw in California*.
	Over here the situation is slightly different, in-house cabling from the first demarking socket (which is considered to be ISP owned) is clearly the responsibility of the owner/resident not the ISP. ISPs offer to route cables, but on a per-hour basis, or for MDUs often used to make contracts with the owner that they would build the internal wiring (in an agreed upon fashion) for the right to be sole provider of e.g. cable TV services (with the cable fees mandatorily folded into the rent) for a fixed multi-year period (10-15 IIRC), after that the plant would end-up property of the building owner. Recent changes in law made the "mandatory cable fees as part of the rent" much harder/impossible, turning the in-house wiring back into an owner/resident problem.

> The point of the thread is that we still do not treat digital communications infrastructure as life support critical.

	Well, let's keep things in perspective, unlike power, water (fresh and waste), and often gas, communications infrastructure is mostly not critical yet. But I agree that we are clearly on a path in that direction, so it is time to look at that from a different perspective. 
	Personally, I am a big fan of putting the access network into communal hands, as these guys already do a decent job with other critical infrastructure (see list above, plus roads) and I see a PtP fiber access network terminating in some CO-like locations a viable way to allow ISPs to compete in the internet service field all the while using the communally build access network for a few. IIRC this is how Amsterdam organized its FTTH roll-out. Just as POTS wiring has beed essentially unchanged for decades, I estimate that current fiber access lines would also last for decades requiring no active component changes in the field, making them candidates for communal management. (With all my love for communal ownership and maintenance, these typically are not very nimble and hence best when we talk about life times of decades).

> It reminds me of Elon Musk and his claims on FSD.

	;) I had to look up FSD, I guess full self driving (aka pie-in-the-sky)?

> I could do the whole thing myself - but that's not going to achieve what's needed. We need systems that our loved ones can call and those systems will care for them. Similar to how the medical community works, though imperfect, in caring for our loved one's and their healths.

	I think I get your point. The question is how do we get from where we are now to that place your are describing here and in the FiWi concept?

> I think we all are responsible for changing our belief sets & developing ourselves to better serve others. Most won't act until they can actually see what's possible. So let's start to show them.

	Sure, having real implemented examples always helps!


> Bob

P.S.: Bruce's point about placing ducts/conduits seems like to only way to gain some future-proofeness. For multi-story and/or multi-dweller units this introduces the question how to stop fire using these conduits to "jump" between levels, but I assume that is a solved problem already, and can be squelches with throwing money in its direction.

*)A IIRC charter technician routing coaxial cable on the outside of the two story building and drilling through the (wooden) wall to set the cable socket inside, all the while casually cutting the Dish coaxial cable that was still connected to a satellite dish... Not that I cared, we were using ADSL at the time, and in accordance with the old "when in Rome..." rule, I bridged over the deteriorated in-house phone wiring by running a 30m Cat5 cable on the outside of the building to the first hand-over box.

>> Hi Bob,
>> somewhat sad. Have you considered that your described requirements and
>> the use-case might be outside of the mass-market envelope for which
>> the big ISPs taylor/rig their processes? Maybe, not sure that is an
>> option, if you approach this as a "business"* asking for a fiber
>> uplink for an already "wired" 5 unit property you might get better
>> service? You still would need to do the in-house re-wiring, but you
>> likely would avoid scripted hot-lines that hang up when in the
>> allotted time the agent sees little chance of "closing" the call. All
>> (big) ISPs I know treat hotline as a cost factor and not as the first
>> line of customer retention...
>> I would also not be amazed if Boston had smaller ISPs that are willing
>> and able to listen to customers (but that might be a bit more
>> expensive than the big ISPs).
>> That or try to get your foot into Comcast's PR department to sell them
>> on the "reference installation" for all Boston historic buildings, so
>> they can offset the custom tailoring effort with the expected good
>> press of doing the "right thing" publicly.
>> Good luck
>> 	Sebastian
>> *) I understand you are not, but I assume the business units to have
>> more leeway to actually offer more bespoke solutions than the likely
>> cost-optimized to Mars and back residental customer unit.
>>> On Mar 25, 2023, at 20:39, rjmcmahon via Bloat <bloat at lists.bufferbloat.net> wrote:
>>> Hi All,
>>> I've been trying to modernize a building in Boston where I'm an HOA board member over the last 18 mos. I perceive the broadband network as a critical infrastructure to our 5 unit building.
>>> Unfortunately, Comcast staff doesn't seem to agree. The agent basically closed the chat on me mid-stream (chat attached.) I've been at this for about 18 mos now.
>>> While I think bufferbloat is a big issue, the bigger issue is that our last-mile providers must change their cultures to understand that life support use cases that require proper pathways, conduits & cabling can no longer be ignored. These buildings have coaxial thrown over the exterior walls done in the 80s then drilling holes without consideration of structures. This and the lack of environmental protections for our HOA's critical infrastructure is disheartening. It's past time to remove this shoddy work on our building and all buildings in Boston as well as across the globe.
>>> My hope was by now I'd have shown through actions what a historic building in Boston looks like when we, as humans in our short lives, act as both stewards of history and as responsible guardians to those that share living spaces and neighborhoods today & tomorrow. Motivating humans to better serve one another is hard.
>>> Bob<comcast.pdf>_______________________________________________
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>>> Bloat at lists.bufferbloat.net
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