Virgin Media To Distribute Broadband Internet Over Telegraph Poles

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 12 2010 10:33 AM
It's no secret that American broadband isn't as robust from a nationalperspective as it could be, particularly when compared to othernations. Virgin Media a major broadband player in the United Kingdom,and they have pushed for faster speeds in the home for years now. Theywere responsible for rolling out one of the first commercial 100Mbpscable modems to consumers, and now the cable operator is testing out anew technology that could deliver high-speed Internet over none otherthan telegraph poles. Yes, telegraph poles.

The idea here is to get broadband (Virgin Media's broadband, of course)to another one million or so homes that aren't currently beingserviced. Just as the American government is actively looking for waysto spread broadband to more rural locations, this Virgin Mediainitiative is hoping to ship faster broadband speeds to underservedareas. Plans are already in plans to extend their fiber optic networkby half a million new homes, with over one million British homesidentified already as homes that could benefit from deployment overtelegraph poles. Chief Executive Neil Berkett had this to say about the potentially crazy sounding idea:

"This unique trial will allow us to understandthe possibilities of aerial deployment and may provide an exciting newway to extend next generation broadband services."


We're glad to see someone overseas taking initiative, and we can onlyhope that other nations follow suit soon. Broadband for all, we say!Fight the good fight!
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rapid1 replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 2:51 PM

So fiber in an above ground wiring layout? This seems kind of odd, we will have to see I guess. It seems like you would get a lot of EMT and other interference in an uncovered model especially a raised one like this. It would be more easy to deploy and service I guess, however Fibre in the air seems strange.

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Drago replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 3:08 PM

EMF and Fiber rapid1? What have you been smoking son? Fiber is beams of light dude, no interference period from anything that produces EMF. The only way to mess up fiber is to break or crack it, which is why it is traditionally installed underground. Now since telegraph wires just like power lines are done in the air, as long as the telegraph poles are away from stuff like cars, people and trees, and put in a nice thick rigid cover that makes it super hard to break, things should be good.

Hell in the US, if Fiber ever got put on power poles, that would work wonders as im sure the money would be invested to clear the trees and crap away from the power lines and Fiber. A downed power line doesnt cost to much to fix, but spending $5000 to splice a 24 strand fiber, would be a win win for everyone. Less power outages due to stupid trees that dont get taken care of, and super fast internet. Now if there was only some way to protect these things from drunk drivers...

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Yea EMF has no impact on fiber. As for a downpole affecting aerial fiber, I would suspect that it would require more then a splic to fix it since the strain on that span from a downed pole would affect more then say a 1 foot section. More then likely they would have to replace a section of that span which would require a min of 2 splices and add a full db of loss to that span which could have a large impact on the performance of that span. Not saying aerial fiber isn't out of the question but probably not the most practical means.
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Drago replied on Fri, Mar 12 2010 7:40 PM

At least with ariel fiber, the morons running backhoes and trackhoes wouldnt be able to snag them and rip them out of the ground doing tons of dmg. When you have fiber in large strands ie 24+, they have a Kevlar shield like all other underground fiber, plus more layers of it so that the fiber can flex and bend but not break. That stuff is pretty stout and i doubt a tree would cut the cable, but it would pull it down. As long as the anchors used to hold the fiber up there could snap loose and release the cable if enough pressure is exerted, then the only dmg the fiber would likely receive is a crushing impact with something hard on the ground and the tree or whatever pushing on it.

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nelsoncp21 replied on Sat, Mar 13 2010 11:07 AM

I see what your geting at Drago. OSP (outside plant) fiber does have a metal sheilding to protect it and a larger strengthening member (Kevlar) in the center for added strength. However the break away theory that your talking about would not work either as the aerial cable is attached via lashing wire to a guide wire that is strung between poles. The guide wire has to have so much tension on it to keep from sagging inbetween the poles and by code could not be attached with a break away for safety reasons. Also I don't know for rural area's and or residential but all under ground fiber I have ever see/installed was not direct buried it was run via conduit/ duct systems. They need to come up with something though for these rural area's for sure. How to go about it practically though and not loose money in the process is another question that I have no clue how to even answer. 

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realneil replied on Sat, Mar 13 2010 8:42 PM

If it's a good, low cost way to solve our problem of not enough high speed service to outlaying areas, then you can bet the Telco's and current Broadband companies will do ANYTHING to make sure it doesn't happen.

It's the American corporate way.

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Drago replied on Sun, Mar 14 2010 12:32 PM

What i really want to see is the damn power companies offer broadband. You can already use the wiring in a building or house to make a LAN, and since every home has power, they could immediately offer that service to everyone. How they could handle the conversion from a steady 120v to the uber volts on the power lines is probably the only caveat to the whole thing. That for sure would piss the tel-co and cable companies off, especially if they made it cheap or free.

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There has been talk of that for years Drago. Matter of fact they have tested it out quite a few times but haven't worked all the kinks out yet. I honestly believe they need to develope the broadband via satelite idea a little better. I think it's the only sure way to provide broadband to anyone regardless of location.

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