Discussion Forum

Optical Broadband

Posted by Joseph
Thursday, 15 February 2007

Thanks for this. Can you outline what the benefits are of this network over the standard model that many of us use at the moment? And also outline how the laying of fibre optic cable might work- costs, where would it go, who pays for it etc. Sorry complete novice here!

Posted by Robert Currey
Thursday, 15 February 2007

The Nuenen experience was one of feeling powerless in the face of corporations and politicians. In the same way that the valley was slow getting ADSL and we're not going to get DAB or terrestrial digital 'til 2010, Nuenen was not a constituency that anyone was interested in catering for. People were not happy that because of where they lived they were disadvantaged with access to the tools of the 21st century.

A fundamental part of the project is that profits are ploughed back into getting everyone in the community using these modern tools. A shop is funded that encourages people in the population to demand facilities that will directly affect their daily lives.

But to answer your less philosophical questions: symmetry and speed. Those two features makes the Nuenen network different from what we have. Speed facilitates a greater variety of applications for example many variations on the theme of video.

Symmetry means that the populace can be something other than inert comsumers; symmetry is required if you want to produce things for others; whether for business, hobby or friends and family.

In Neunen the new network of 8000 connections was laid in the ground in about 4 months. The network is owned by members of the cooperative. The infrastructure costs were raised on a twenty year mortgage with a cooperative bank. The cost per househould was about 1400 GBP. The mortgage cost = 14GBP per month. Membership of the cooperative costs 14GBP per month. Members of the community signed contracts which committed them for two years, the first year free.

Free phone calls are available between members of the cooperative. Purchase of cable, phone and broadband is less than other similar deals.

I'd imagine a similar service for similar prices would be replicable here.

There are differences and difficulties here that were not an issue in Neunen but with enough community support I suspect they are solvable.

See news item