I feel for you, man. People used to look at schools when they’d go to buy a house; when my wife and I recently purchased, we had one main requirement: the area must have broadband. No boradband was a dealbreaker. Once you’ve had it, there’s no going back…
I moved in to a newish six year old suburb back in Nov 2000. Found out too late that the phone lines here run off a digital “exchange in a box” that will only support a maximum 28.8Kbps through dialup - even though I have a 56Kbps modem.
There are no immediate plans here to upgrade the service. There is no cable option because our telecom - Telstra - decided there would be no demand here for broadband 8 years ago and therefore did not lay any cable. They won’t be laying any cable here in my lifetime due to the high cost and the fact that all electrical cabling is underground here.
We do have an expensive 2-way satellite option but it is not suitable for gaming due to its high latency - 800ms+. I get better ping times with my 28.8Kbps modem connection.
My only hope is wireless internet (3.4Ghz band) which may be rolling out across Sydney next year.
And lastly, no I cannot afford to move to another location. I barely managed to afford buying this house. Sydney is a brutal property market with exhorbitant high prices.
People used to look at schools when they’d go to buy a house; when my wife and I recently purchased, we had one main requirement: the area must have broadband. No boradband was a dealbreaker. Once you’ve had it, there’s no going back…
I’ll testify to this one: My wife fought me tooth and nail to get broadband for several months, until we found a really good deal. Now, it would be absolutely the last “luxury” (and I use the term loosely) that we would get rid of should we hit rough times.
This is becoming a big selling point as the first generation of modern geeks start buying houses. The big land company here in the Santa Clarita valley (Newhall Land & Farming) takes out newspaper ads in conjunction with Pacific Bell to trumpet the fact every house they build has DSL available and is pre-wired with Cat-5 in every room. They don’t bother to mention that all of the local cable plant has been upgraded, too, so every house has cable modems & digital cable available as well.
Sean, I will be interested to hear if the wireless broadband is deployed. Two of the big carriers, AT&T and Sprint, were both working on it in southern California. They even had several applications in to build transmission towers in their first deployment areas. However, almost simultaneously they both declared the technology was not yet ready for deployment and stopped the projects cold. They said that they would probably restart things in a couple of years, but withdrew their applications and left. It seemed odd they would go so far if the technology was essentially untested - I was reviewing tower site plans for a city when it all went away. This coincided with the plummet in their stock values, so maybe they just didn’t want to expend the capital.
Unwired was the successful bidder, via a subsidiary company, in the Federal Government’s auction of spectrum licences in the 3.4 GHz band in 2000, securing them for AUD$95.5 million. Therefore I think they are a firm player in this market.
Unwired has commenced a 3 month trial of 50 households in the inner Sydney suburb of Paddington. Hopefully it will be successful. There are many existing and new suburbs in Sydney which do not have any cable broadband access. Very few people have the satellite option due to high cost.
The current broadband market in Australia is 157,800 cable users and 85,800 ADSL users. The ADSL market will eventually outstrip cable since cable installations ceased some three years ago.
It’s ironic that new suburbs in Sydney have the most technologically aware homeowners and yet these suburbs are not serviced by any cable network nor are they ADSL compatible.
They stopped installing cable and they’re going DSL-only?
Wow. I dropped my DSL for cable and it’s MUCH better. Sure, you have to share bandwidth on cable, but when your starting point is 5x faster than DSL, you can share a lot of bandwidth before you reach DSL speeds. Plus the dialing-up/PPOE on DSL was a pain.
Welcome to Sydney and indeed Australia. There are only two players in the cable market - Telstra and Optus. Local government councils allowed only overhead wiring installations on existing power poles within a limited 5 year timeframe.
Therefore Telstra and Optus strung up as much cable as they could within this timeframe before they were ordered to stop.
There was a massive community backlash against the installation due to neighbourhood asthetic reasons. The suburbs with overhead cabling coincidentally are older, expensive suburbs, with a “grey” demographic that is not technologically aware. Few of us “baby boomers” can afford to live in these suburbs.
ADSL was the only alternative for those suburbs without cable. But ADSL is also limited because of the national telco’s el-cheapo equipment. And there is a limit of a maximum of 4 km’s from the telephone exchange.
That is why wireless or powerline broadband is the only real alternative in this country. We have two things going against us - our sparse population and our huge country. There aren’t that many cost effective solutions for laying cable in a country with only 19.5 million people of who only 10% are really aware of the benefits or even want broadband internet.
The US does have the benefit of a huge population and tremendous national wealth.
We have had this discussion before but for my money at least in the greater DC area DSL stomps all over Cable. I had my cable go out for well over a day one time and for a few other 4 hour stretches over the whole 3 months I had it. With 3 different DSL providers I have had maybe an hour of total downtime over multiple years. I am running crappy standard telco DSL right now with little to no problem. It is 1.5MB down and 384K up and is plenty fast for downloads and kicks the crap out of 128k for uploads. I can actually run a server or an FTP that works reasonably well with this line. Cable when it works is a downloaders dream but for consistancy and latency DSL wins everytime at least where I am.
I think it depends on your providers/area. I had more DSL downtime than I have had cable. But the worst was email… Verizon’s email servers had chronic problems. When they weren’t bouncing or eating my email, they’d stop allowing non-Verizon.net return addresses for days at a time after they got the server up. Really frustrating.
I’ve seen horror stories about Adelphia in some areas, but in Vermont (perhaps because we have a low population and probably a low percentage of cable-modem users compared to some areas), they’ve been pretty reliable. I’m sure the DSL vs. cable decision depends very much on your local situation. In Vermont, Cable’s the clear choice. (Although once Adelphia goes into bankruptcy after their recent wacky financial revelations, it’ll be interesting to see if the service worses. I do still have my DSL modem in the attic… Didn’t eBay it just in case things get bad with cable someday.)
PPoE is “Point-to-Point over Ethernet.” Some kind of funky protocol that Verizon and some other DSL providers use. Can occasionally cause weirdness, such as when trying to use a VPN to access a work network.
Wow, learn something new every day. Now does this mean you actually had to “dial in” to get connected, not an “always on” connection?
My neighbor had a deal like this and she hated it. It was as fast as my DSL line (a sedate 356k up and down) but each time she started her computer it had to connect and get an IP assigned. It was an incredibly lame system that always went down. Eventually she went back to her 56k modem. I have had DSL here since I moved in. We just got cable not to long ago. I am hesitant to switch because although it’s not as fast as cable, it’s pretty reliable. Another nice thing about DSL here is that you can pick your ISP from a number of providers. I hate the idea of being locked into one ISP with cable.
Well, just to participate in the discussion, I want to pitch in two thumbs up for the Cox cable service I’ve gotten. I think it’s been down twice since we got it six or seven months ago (and it weather the storms with @home going out of business admirably), and I don’t think it was for more than a couple of hours either time.
And it’s really, really fast.
I was really bummed when I found out that I had to get cable, 'cause I wanted DSL, but we’re too far from a switch. Cable was available, so I took it, but I’d heard about sharing bandwidth and such, and was hesitant. The only frame of reference I have is the ethernet connection we’ve got at work, which I assume to be a T-3, albeit sharing bandwidth with other users, but my cable at home is very noticably faster than that.