3 Comments
Jun 4·edited Jun 4

Fiber service at 85Mb/sec sounds pretty darn good to me, especially compared to where things were at before. https://tunnelrush3.com

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Love your writing style, thanks for putting these long-form tech tales out there! My introduction to your writing and newsletter was through your interesting summer job, but I also enjoyed both articles about your time at the Digital Equipment Corporation. Interesting indeed the weirdness of technology, but the organizational problems still live on with siloed teams fighting for turf

Thanks for writing about your battle for Internet access. I started my career as a network engineer, so I’ve been shocked over the years about the number of Americans living in areas without broadband access/ slow Internet, where the past presidents of both political affiliations tried to tackle the problem with Congress even passing a law in early 2009 with funding for broadband.

To still see your town struggling to get Internet was a surprise, until I learned about the fateful decision to not invest in longer telephone poles in the early ‘90s. Honestly, I didn’t imagine such a happy ending with 85 Mb/s for your house with everything described. If I was an older retired person living there, who had seen the fiasco with the windmill I wouldn’t have wanted this other project either. When you described the 911 system outage too it foreboded further against this project, and to see so many vocal opponents coming out against it, all had me thinking your town wouldn’t go for the $1 million investment of telephone poles. So that’s great you all took the trouble to setup that nonprofit to place out those yard signs, and get the word out for this critical vote. Happy you stepped in for this civil engagement, despite the need to drop that anonymity in such a small town.

I too would have liked to see your town setup municipal broadband like a utility. Just this last week, NBC nightly news ran a story about how the majority of states outlaw municipal-owned Internet, while a few counties pulled it off to great effect. They mentioned one rural county in North Carolina making the great investment and leap to owning their own Internet

https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/lack-of-broadband-internet-creating-divide-in-america-114956357703

This article has more details versus the short clip above https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/some-north-carolina-residents-still-fight-internet-access-n1270943

Crazy how Time Warner Cable, who incidentally got acquired by your new provider, Charter in 2016, refused to partner with Wilson County for their broadband access, but even tried to pass legislation preventing the county from running their own Internet. Thankfully that push failed, but it seems their coordinated push around the country succeeded.

I’m impressed that you made working remote possible with such bad Internet. I would’ve given up long ago, probably moved elsewhere, but it’s true with a slow connection you can get a lot done. Still, that satellite latency sounded unbearable. I myself get super frustrated, when I type on a remote terminal and there is any lag at all. So props to you for making it work all these years. Although, you must wonder, what could you have achieved had you had that faster connection? If you had been able to work smoothly without all the little delays that add up as time goes by? Still with writing software, thankfully for a lot of things we can do everything locally, even running our own web server and database on a development laptop 💻

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As somebody who's dealt with overloaded DSLAMs out in the woods of rural WA, I feel your pain. 700-800kbps. Working from home with two teens in the house. We ended up moving because of other circumstances, and I'm glad to say we have actual broadband now. I didn't get involved in any politics, but there *was* thought of starting a local WISP. That was a pipe dream and people out there are hoping Starlink will be their savior. Time will tell!

If anybody wants to read my much shorter, completely different take on this problem, I wrote about it in 2013:

https://www.tidbitsfortechs.com/2013/12/surviving-internet-on-low-speed-dsl/

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