Sat, 10 Apr 2010

DIY fiber

This posting has been translated into Belorussian.

I live on a rural road, with 10 houses per mile where the local cable franchise is only required to wire when there are 20 houses per mile. With practically no growth, it seems foolish to wait for anybody else to wire it up. We have power and telephone, and so plenty of poles. The trouble with poles is that they're tied up in engineering costs, pole rental, make-ready costs, and other bureaucrazy.

The alternative of burying or laying the cable on the ground seems like the only sane choice. Our road is about 50% fields and 50% dense brush/woods. So, burying in the fields, and laying through the woods.

I found some nice COE/CPE for $80 each end. Uses a single strand of singlemode fiber, transmitting on one frequency (color) and receiving on a different one. Gets you 100Mbps Ethernet. Or you can spend $250 for a box which has wifi, four Ethernets on a switch, and two RJ11 VOIP lines, AND a fiber cable tray (which you need anyway because bare fiber is very fragile).

Planning to do a home run, running a strand of fiber for each house all the way down the road. At the state highway there's Time Warner, Verizon, and the tri-county municipal fiber (but they only want to connect you at a POP, and they don't have a POP anywhere nearby). I could probably become an ISP and haul in bandwidth, but I'd prefer not to have to get into that business. Been there, done that.

The problem is: how do I get to the other side of the road? I could cut through the asphalt, but that seems like a lot of work, and wouldn't please the town highway department. Directional boring is expensive (and boring). I could go over on poles, but that gets back to the crazy. I could go over using trees, but there's a reason why telephone companies quickly abandoned trees: falling limbs.

Perhaps the solution is simply to run fiber down both sides of the road?

If you're interested in DIY fiber, join the Communities-United-for-Broadband Facebook group.

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