the 21st century comes to upper cryogenica.




When we moved to Castle Frostbite, the castle grounds were not connected to any sort of Intertubes infrastructure except for the phone line. Since then, we’ve had a succession of services:

  • For the first two weeks, we had dial-up, which was almost entirely useless even back in 2007.
  • Then we ordered the only thing available to us that was faster, which was HughesNet satellite internet. HughesNet was awful—expensive, bandwidth-limited (220MB per 24 hours), and unreliable. The connection would crap out every time there was a storm or more than just mild rain. Latency was insane—1000ms on a fast day. World of Warcraft was playable once you got used to the casting delay, but forget about first-person online shooters.The dish went out of alignment periodically, requiring a $125 service call every time for a tech to come out and re-adjust it. Speed fluctuated, but usually pegged around 64kB/s.
  • As soon as the two-year contract with Hughesnet was up, we switched to a local provider I had discovered in the meantime. They offer WiLAN connectivity over the 900MHz band. That was better than Hughesnet—no data caps, low latency (60-ish ms), and a fairly consistent throughput of 64-96kB/s. They also charged half the monthly fee Hughesnet did. We kept them until January of last year, when I discovered…
  • …that FairPoint had hooked our street up with DSL. Passed the “DSL Available Now!” sign at the end of our street on the way home from grocery shopping one day, ordered the service the second I got home, and have been enjoying low-latency megabit-and-a-half Internet for a year now.

Well, it seems like the bandwidth fairy has decided to do us one better, presumably to compensate us for all our suffering trying to do Internet banking over a flaky satellite link in bad weather, or trying to cast spells with a two-second casting delay. We got a letter from our town informing us that our neighborhood is currently being wired for fiber-optic cable. Faster than DSL or cable Internet by a factor of anywhere between ten and a hundred—the current state-of-the-art in residential bandwidth delivery. We have friends up in Orford whose house has been hooked up by the same project, and their download speeds are insane. It makes DSL look like dial-up. The letter says they’ll be finished running cable and connecting the infrastructure by June.

I’m quite happy with the DSL we finally got, and if it turns out that “gee, sorry, Mister, but your street is the only one in town that can’t be hooked up”, then I’ll be content—it works well for everything including Netflix streaming and such—but will I have them hook us up with fiber the second we can get it? Hell yes.


12 thoughts on “the 21st century comes to upper cryogenica.

  1. I’m still doing the happy dance about having DSL.

  2. ILTim says:

    We have a T1 line at the office, and I’ve been shopping to improve that for a long time. The wireless services look compelling, especially with the T1 retained for failover, but nothing else has been available. No DSL, nothing.

    I got a call that fiber optic is coming because one business in the park is funding the build out. For a moment I was excited… until I learned about the low-cost budget package starting around $1,100 per month.

    Oh well. At least I’ve got 12mbit cable at home (yay 1.5 MBps downloads!). Good luck getting your intertubes supercharged.

  3. Sounds like you’re going to have faster service than we do in the heart of Lebanon…

  4. hunter says:

    Due to the way fiber is set up, it’s much more likely that they’ll be able to hit you than DSL/Cable.
    Fiber shoots much further, and (unless you’re doing GPON) isn’t tree-shaped.
    But yes, the one-time costs usually suck. It’s a whole other infrastructure that needs to get strung up.

    • Erik says:

      PON is immensely cheaper to deploy since its intermediate components are passive and there’s economy of scale thanks to Verizon FIOS, AT&T U-Verse (newer deployments are fiber-to-the-premise), and other telco deployments that have driven the price of equipment and related materials (read: fiber, interconnects, optical splitters, etc) down.

      Some sort of active topology (unlikely) might not have the shared bandwidth of a PON setup, but will likely still be “tree-shaped” regardless. Concentration is the general rule of residential broadband.

  5. Jay G says:

    Hell, I’d be happy to get DSL. Anything other than Comcast…

  6. Arkh says:

    More than download speed, upload speed and ping are awesome.

  7. Erik says:

    Curious if that fiber is a municipal project, if Fairpoint is deploying to your area, or some other company has somehow convinced some investors to cough up money for a long-term project (decidedly unpopular on the ‘Street past 20 years or so where all the talking heads demand consistent record quarterly profits)

    • Marko Kloos says:

      It’s a municipal/state project called NH FastRoads.

      • Erik says:

        Nifty. Good to see states and municipalities investing in themselves since it’s extremely unlikely that a telco would deploy fiber-to-the-home outside of a metro area where the take rates are greater, the deployment costs far lower, and return on investment considerably faster. While I wish that these things were truly indigenous ( logo suggests some federal money), it seems a worthy endeavor in the sense that it may help improve the overall wealth of the area and thus the nation.

        I know a great many conservative types rail against these sorts of projects on the (usually wrong) assumption that they’re taxpayer-funded boondoggles that compete against industry on a bottomless budget courtesy the taxpayer. However, by almost all accounts these projects are initiated after private industry has declined repeated requests to invest in an area and are typically self-sustaining once the buildout has been paid off. It also looks like this is just going to be municipally owned, with operations being courtesy any provider that wants to brand/resell service over the network.

        A disappointing lack of detail on what type of network is being deployed on the NH FastRoads website, but that really only matters to vendors and telecom geeks (like me).

  8. MSgt B says:

    Got FiOS for the first time two years ago when we moved here.

    Is good

    Very good.

  9. avidus says:

    We had FIOS for two years when living in Hull MA.

    We would heartily second the Master Sergeant. It is so very good.

    The speed is great. The reliability is great. The on-demand is incredible.

    We really miss it as we’re now in Cincinnati which is the land of Time-Warner.

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