t byfield on Mon, 3 Jun 2002 20:36:04 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> DIY DSL

i expect it helps to have carl oppedahl on your side if you want to 
try this at home. his law firm's site <http://www.patents.com/> has
some pretty useful info, not least 'considerations for innocent do-
main name owners' <http://www.patents.com/dno.htm>.


----- Forwarded 

From: Carl Oppedahl <carl@oppedahl.com>
Subject: [IRR] neighborhood launches its own nonprofit DSL service
Date: Sun, 02 Jun 2002 16:12:27 -0600

The Ruby Ranch Internet Cooperative Association has, after nearly a year of 
planning and struggle, launched its DSL service for the Ruby Ranch 
neighborhood in Summit County, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains at an 
altitude of 9000 feet.

For residents of Summit County who need Internet access, there are few 
options.  The usual long-standing way of connecting, using a dialup modem, 
doesn't work well for those whose telephone service goes through "remote 
terminals", those brown and tan boxes at the edge of a neighborhood, 
because the modem speed is limited to about 24 or 26k bits per 
second.  Qwest doesn't offer DSL in Summit County (though it includes 
billing inserts in its bills to Summit County residents, offering the 
non-existent service).  Nor does anybody else offer DSL.  AT&T cable 
(formerly TCI) does not offer cable modem Internet access.  Netbeam, the 
first company in the county to offer wireless Internet access, is in 
bankruptcy.  Vailnet offers wireless access but the service is not 
available to those who lack line-of-sight to the antenna locations.

When the Ruby Ranch neighborhood was developed some twenty years ago, the 
telephone cables buried under its roads were more than adequate to provide 
all the telephone lines the neighborhood would ever need, leaving hundreds 
of spare pairs.  Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone 
companies like Qwest are obligated to make such such spare pairs available 
for rental.  The residents of the Ruby Ranch neighborhood decided to set up 
their own DSL (digital subscriber line) service, renting some of these 
spare pairs from Qwest.  They incorporated the Ruby Ranch Internet 
Cooperative Association ("the Coop"), a non-profit corporation, to provide 
the service.  The Coop obtained a DSLAM (DSL access multiplexer) which is 
the equipment to which the subscriber's homes connect for service.  The 
Coop arranged to locate the DSLAM in a horse barn in the Ruby Ranch 
neighborhood.  Two neighborhood residents, Marina Larson and Carl Oppedahl, 
have a patent law firm in Dillon, with an Internet T-1 line and line of 
sight to the neighborhood.  They set up a point-to-point microwave link 
from their office to the neighborhood, which provides a connection from the 
DSLAM to the Internet.

As of ten months ago, the sole remaining piece needed to launch service was 
the rental of the spare pairs from Qwest.  Qwest demanded that we purchase 
an eleven-million-dollar insurance policy naming Qwest as beneficiary as a 
precondition of renting the spair pairs.  Qwest also questioned whether it 
was even obligated to rent such pairs to us as we are not a licensed 
telephone company in Colorado, but are merely a nonprofit coop planning 
only to offer DSL.  These and other problems forced the Coop to file two 
complaints, first with the Federal Communications Commission and then with 
the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.  The eleven-million-dollar 
insurance requirement has been reduced to one million dollars.  The 
proceeding before the Colorado PUC was decided a few weeks ago, with the 
PUC ruling among other things that Qwest was obligated to rent the pairs to 
the Coop even though the Coop was not a telephone company.  Qwest and the 
Coop signed an interconnection agreement shortly after the PUC decision and 
it has been approved by the PUC.

While Qwest was very difficult to work with during the months leading up to 
the PUC decision, the fact is that Qwest's people here in Summit County, 
who have been working with us since the interconnection agreement was 
signed, have been great.  They even got our spare pairs hooked up ahead of 

Our service was launched two weeks ago and is working well.

We encourage other neighborhoods to consider setting up their own DSL 
systems as we have done.  Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a new 
organization can "opt in" to previously signed interconnection agreements, 
so others could get the reduced insurance requirement by opting in to our 
agreement.  We have set up a section of our web site to provide information 
which we hope would be helpful to others who are considering setting up 
their own DSL systems.  The Coop's web page is at www.rric.net.

----- Backwarded

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