Be Your Own ISP
For those who are increasingly frustrated with their ISP’s poor customer service, variable-rate connections, and traffic shaping/filtering, a question arises: can you be your own ISP? In some cases, the answer is yes.
Net Neutrality is a big issue in the modern era of Internet usage, especially within countries like America, Australia, and China, but there’s a large secret that many don’t understand: corporate clients don’t have the same problems regular consumers do. Those that purchase plans from the “big pipe” providers, like Covad, truly get what they pay for, at great cost, avoiding the issues of traffic shaping/filtering and a lagging rate of bandwidth due to local network overload.
Since buying services from big pipe providers is extremely expensive, and often requires hardware beyond a simple DSL modem, it is essentially a non-option for the average consumer – unless a group of consumers band together. Chase Rydberg, a reader from Minnesota, has achieved common ISP independence in his condo high-rise, through a complicated and expensive process that ultimately garners far better results than any consumer package would.
Chase’s building was pre-wired for broadband and has a direct fibre connection, but the building’s ISP was using slower and less efficient copper-based delivery, while charging ever-increasing rates for decreasing performance. After deciding that approximately 80 users sharing a 10mpbs connection over a set of T1 lines was no longer acceptable, he did some research and discovered that, if approached properly, the building could handle much higher speeds at a much more reasonable cost.
For a 60mbps fibre circuit from “a fairly well known ISP” handled by Cisco hardware, essentially a router and some switches, the members of the complex pay only $40/mth for a superior, self-regulated service – no bandwidth caps, traffic shaping, or periodic loss of service. Despite an initial upfront cost of $15,000 for hardware and implementation, paid out of the building’s cash reserves, Chase claims to have over 100 users on their homegrown, managed network, with all costs recouped within the next two years.
This sort of situation should truly scare traditional, consumer-oriented ISPs: when users have the technical know-how and the financial ability, it’s not that difficult to avoid their services. If Net Neutrality becomes so large and cumbersome an issue that AT&T, Comcast, and the rest of their ilk continue to avoid scrutiny and regulation, chances are that homegrown ISPs will become much more common in apartment buildings and condo complexes, to the great benefit of their inhabitants.
Whether ISPs become highly regulated by the FCC under the telco provisions remains to be seen, but the point demonstrated by Chase is clear: there are alternatives to bandwidth connections, and they should always be investigated, lest the manipulative and draconian corporate behemoths continue to profit from their virtual monopolies at the expense of the people.