Friday, December 28, 2007

The car and my wife / la voiture et ma femme

My wife has been wonderful supporting my plans to build this network. I've mentioned in earlier posts that my two goals of the project are (1) learning everything I can about building these networks and (2) having an open access fiber connection to my home. I'm much less concerned about getting initial investment back.

My wife agreed to let me shift some money away from a car fund that we keep and use it for putting in the conduit. That has been the plan all along and the money is sitting there waiting for when the residence does the road work.

Then the car problems hit.

It's not that we haven't seen the problem coming. Our car has nearly 250'000 KM and now things are starting to go. We have had the car towed twice in two months and she's had to taxi back with the rest of the family from where they were stranded. It started to look as if we'd have to actually use the money for the car.

Things worked out though and we were able to buy a used car for less than half the money of a new one. We picked it up last weekend after buying it from a friend's family. That means that we will still have money available for the conduit and now have a more reliable car.

Crisis averted.

More on the Numericable offer in St Nom / Plus sur l'offre de Numericable a St Nom

Numericable offer in St Nom La Breteche Now for a bit more information that I've been able to gather on the offer from Numericable. They advertise 100 Mbit/s downloads but only 5 Mbit/s upload speeds on their offer. Not bad, although the upstream is important to me for the ability to telework.

I got a call today from an independent company to verify the change of my account - essentially ensuring that I did agree to upgrade my connection and pay more each month. They weren't able to answer any questions though about the connections such as when it would be available.

I have noticed that my connection is actually much faster now than it was just a few months ago. I don't know what kind of changes they have made but today I was able to reach 16 Mbit/s download from That's closer to what I should have already been getting with my "30 Mbit/s" connection I pay for now.

The graphic above shows the upgrade schedule for St Nom La Breteche on Numericable's website. Cities with 100 Mbit/s are marked with the year of the upgrade. Those in the process of being upgraded are marked with one of the codes on the bottom right showing which quarter or semester the upgrade should happen. Interestingly St Nom isn't even given a timeline for a fiber upgrade.

A large part of our village doesn't even have cable coverage so I wonder if the headend for our residence is located elsewhere.

I'll update as I find more information. However, with a limit of 5 Mbit/s upstream I'll still go ahead with the investment.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The plot thickens

I've had a number of posts partially written, waiting to be finished up over the holidays and uploaded to the blog. I'll write them up over the next week but I just hung up from a phone call 30 seconds ago which could possibly change the game plan.

Numericable, our cable operator, just called with a new package bundle. They didn't say who they were when I answered and asked for my wife so I passed her the phone. Once they announced who they were she passed the phone back to me.

The man said they were now offering 100 Mbit/s over fiber in our area as part of a triple-play package. EUR 29.90 gets you 100 Mbits, 110 television channels and free PSTN calls to 32 destinations.

Numericable does have conduit in our neighborhood but I have a hard time believing they are doing true FTTH - particularly here. I did notice that the advertised 30 Mbit/s connection that I pay for now has recently jumped up from 3 to 10 Mbit/s in actual throughput so they've obviously upgraded something somewhere.

I signed up to the new offer and we'll see how it goes. If this is real then it may be more difficult to convince other residents to sign up to do our own fibre. However, given Numericable's previous record I'm not going to believe it until I see it.