It all started roughly five years ago when I was desperately searching for something, ANYTHING faster than a dialup connection. While I wanted was a high-speed Internet connection and we had several customers of our computer service company who also wanted a high-speed connection and (more importantly) they were willing to pay for it. However, I had no idea how I could realistically manage this.
I contacted Verizon (our local ILEC) who promptly transferred me all over the place so I could talk to all kinds of nice people who basically told me that our area wasn’t on their map of planned deployment for DSL
Undaunted, I then called the local cable provider (Adelphia) and after talking to all kinds of nice people who couldn’t help me transferred me to the President’s office. I was promptly informed that Adelphia would not be providing cable modems in our area until sometime after the rest of the civilized world was connected.
The only logical conclusion (well, at least to me – I am sure other, more sane, people might not have jumped to this conclusion) was to provide my own high-speed Internet service to the local community.
So, like a drunken lumberjack on a religious mission, armed with teaspoon of knowledge, I decided to set off into the great unknown. Thankfully, I had the Internet as a source of information to research.
Now, the very first thing you learn about the Internet business is that everybody connects to the net somewhere – usually through the Telephone Company. The standard method is the T1 line. This is quickly followed up with the education that a T1 line isn’t cheap. In my area (remember, this is back in 1999) I was being quoted just under $2,000/month for a T1 based on a three-year contract. Putting my second grade multiplication skills to work I quickly calculated that $72,000 was more than I wanted to spend. Ah, that public school education pays off again.
This kind of put a wrench in my plans. I knew I was not going to be able to afford to pay that kind of monthly bill while I tried to build an ISP from the ground up. But how does one share this connection with their customers?
I went back to researching this “challenge” on the net. One of the first sites I found was a page describing how to use “back to back” SDSL modems to deliver connectivity across “Dry Copper” authored by a gentleman (I used that term knowing full well the ramifications therein) named Marlon Schafer entitled Homebrewed SDSL. This sounded so easy that even a novice like myself could do it. So I bookmarked the page and continued on.
I quickly found the ISP-Planet site and DSLReports, both of which have proved to be invaluable over the years. The interaction with other people faced with the same problems willing to unselfishly share their solutions has made it possible for me to get to the point I am at today.
This blog is an attempt to try to return a lot of the education many of these people provided me to anyone else who might be looking at going down this path. It is a debt I gladly assume with the hopes that other will learn what I have learned and put that information to good use.
It is my hope that this running dialog will give anyone who reads it an honest insight as to what it is really like to be involved in this business.
I hope you enjoy the description of the journey as much as I enjoyed living it.