Does Vallejo Need More Fiber in its Diet? (its already there)

By Chris Platzer with Marc Garman


The internet is the social and economic fabric of our society. As much as some of us hate to admit it, you pretty much are out of luck if you aren’t connected…and you live in a cave. Sometimes we residents of Vallejo may feel like we live in a cave, but there is hope! Vallejo already has the infrastructure for high speed internet in place courtesy of a federal grant the city was awarded in 1996. The grant was for the city to put a fiber optic infrastructure in place for smart traffic signals to combat asthma. Yes, asthma…the idea being that if traffic signals were intelligently controlled the dwell time of cars at stop lights would be less, therefore reducing emissions. We don’t really know how much this helped asthma sufferers, but the infrastructure for the project which was finished in 2001 spans 28 miles and encompasses the entire city placing almost every business or residence within one mile of a high speed fiber optic node. This presents a unique opportunity for Vallejo compared to other cities which would have to dig and disrupt in order to install such an infrastructure at great expense.

Vallejo’s dormant (as in NOT CONNECTED) high speed internet network runs along the railroad tracks from Broadway to Sperry Mills. This massive bundle of fiber forms a backbone, which runs straight through the center of town and needs only be connected to the national fiber optic backbone at the crossover point at Monterey and Tennessee Sts.

Let’s be clear. This infrastructure represents a pipeline that is capable of providing 100+ GB/s enterprise level internet connectivity. This is the same level of internet capability that serves silicon valley and has allowed the tech boom in San Francisco to happen. With Vallejo’s central location and the rising prices of commercial real estate all around us, the timing is again ideal to attract tech investment in our city. We missed the boat for the last tech boom by putting all our efforts into residential real estate development and the one time fees resulting from that activity.

So now we stand at a unique crossroads. There are several possible business models moving forward. The city has already received proposals from and Level 3 Communications to take over and administer the city’s fiber optic network with a focus on residential and commercial users respectively. This sub-contract business model would be consistent with what has been done in many other places however, Vallejo could take a more innovative approach. If there is the vision and impetus, Vallejo could itself take over and administer its own high speed internet service and act as its own utility. Such a publicly owned utility would have several advantages. By creating connected economic zones in various locations throughout the city and offering faster internet connectivity than is available in San Francisco at a fraction of the cost we could see the rise of exclusive economic zones that would be attractive to tech start-ups and entrepreneurs. Residents could also free themselves of the monopolies they are chained to by large internet service providers such as Comcast and At&T and enjoy the benefits of MUCH faster internet service at a fraction of the price. If all of Vallejo’s residential users paid $30 a month for internet, phone and cable service (a considerable savings over the $80 or so bucks many now pay) it would result in a revenue winfall of approximately $12 million per year to the city. We’re talking internet at 100 times the available connection speeds for a third of the price…and we haven’t considered the potential revenue from commercial users.

This all raises several questions. Why has this infrastructure laid dormant for the last 13 years? Why has such a potentially enormous asset for Vallejo been ignored, especially when combined with our central location and access to transportation? The city commissioned a High Tech Readiness Report in 2001 which still sits on the city website collecting digital dust.

Some good news is that a citizen based advisory commission has recently been formed by City Manager Dan Keen to take a more fine grained look at the potential and help fill in the gaps where staff is spread thin. Vallejo needs to move quickly, but also intelligently and not give away the store as we have so often been inclined to do with various other business and development opportunities in the past.






Vallejo High Tech Readiness Report (2001-02-27)

Channel 4 news report from 2001


'Does Vallejo Need More Fiber in its Diet? (its already there)' have 26 comments

  1. July 20, 2014 @ 6:16 pm Salty Dog

    Holy crap!! I have high speed internet within twenty feet of my home, according to the PDF map.
    That means I could completely overwhelm Warf Rat with record fire retorts any any one else posting at VIB.
    I want in.


    • July 20, 2014 @ 8:05 pm wharf rat

      Nice fantasy Salt , but keep in mind me and my minions can knaw trrough those lines in no time , if you are so close to a fiber node , and would like to have speed beyond your feeble needs then contact , they are Santa Rosa bassed , and have exceptional customer service (spoken in plain english) mind you
      Sonic did or doe’s run over head fiber in older neighbourhoods !!! these cats don’t play they just provide what
      they are contracted to do (no games no bullshit) just great service period …” They are an oasis in a corporate desert ” .. With exceptional bandwidth and speed you can refute/rebutt my comments 24/7
      but keep in mind I will be sleeping much of this time , so your contribution might just go ——–
      any way how goes the nose ?? keep the zinc oxide handy , brits were not meant for these deserts …


  2. July 20, 2014 @ 6:36 pm Vallejo Heights

    If the city, as the service provider, provided business users with 100 Gigabyte symmetrical broadband at $300/mon. You would be surprised what would happen. Combine this with the fact that commercial space costs a third of what is charged in SF then Bob is your uncle. By being a municipal service provider the city eliminates the middle man and can buy back haul broadband from companies like Level 3 at a price that is cost effective. Think of it like electricity. As long as their is electricity coming in there is no need to call the utility company for services. On the residential side, providing homes with 1 Gigabyte at $50/mon. doesn’t change how people use the internet, it just makes what people do faster and enhances the internet experience. It’s like bringing a fire hose worth of capacity to the home when before most a household can draw from the internet was the equivalent of a straw. Granted that if the home users installs a new version of a browser or an antivirus program and things don’t work as before they blame the service provider. If the internet ever went down that would be international news with global ramifications. Residential users with a Gigabyte of access up and down don’t start a data center in their basement as a result. As for you low appreciation of the socio-economic demographics of Vallejo, if you give children equal access to the digital sandbox who is to say where the next Mark Zuckerman is going to come from!


    • July 20, 2014 @ 9:59 pm wharf rat

      @ Vallejo heights
      Aka CP are you mad ?? this City can not even find their navel let alone opperate a reliable communications network …For years and years they did not even know what we had , untill Citezens reminded them , then they had to scramble to find the info … Untill Vallejo contracts with an established ASSET MANAGEMENT
      company the fate of our city will continue to be bleak ….Yes assetts , like real estate (Mare Island) being a prime example , fiber being another and don;t forget waterfrontage .. Staff has no clue so why keep kicking a dead horse … Untill we leverage our ASSETS Vallejo will just be a dumping ground for
      Main Bay Area cast-offs .. This has been the ABAG —MTC program for years Vallejo has been delegated as a” DUMP” , all while County rakes in the money , bassed on demographics and other BS
      assumptions … Mean while certain City departments , enjoy fat grants due to our demographic ….
      Wonder why the crime is so high in Vallejo ?? just ask a Cop, the VPD is a recycling opperation , they recieve and re-cycle criminals , every day .. One day when we research the serial numbers of every gun seised by the VPD will we understand the pipeline of leathel weapons used in most of the shootings in Vallejo… As it stands the VPD is out gunned by the Criminal class , some of which have automatic weapons …. Stolen property and weapons have traditionally travelled from southern
      California to the north (a six hour drive) — Crime commutes—- Each gun needs to be entered into a data base available to the public , both north and south, State , Any weapon used in a crime should be disclosed publicly …. Some will be identifed as those stollenfrom a residence , which most are …
      More people are killed by theirownhand guns thanthos by intruders,, as waking up from sleep , leaves folks at a dissatvantage , and often a victim of the firearm they expected to defend themselves withends up ending their life ………….


  3. July 20, 2014 @ 9:02 pm Anonymous

    QUOTE: “This all raises several questions. Why has this infrastructure laid dormant for the last 13 years? Why has such a potentially enormous asset for Vallejo been ignored, especially when combined with our central location and access to transportation? The city commissioned a High Tech Readiness Report in 2001 which still sits on the city website collecting digital dust.”

    RESPONSE: Because the GOBs and PSUs back in the 1990s and 2000s didn’t have vision and couldn’t imagine any kind of a future. So now we expect these same GOBs and PSUs in 2014 to take advantage? Hogwash. GOBs and PSUs must never again trusted with this opportunity. We need a neutral, independent, outside-of-Vallejo party to come in and properly assess the opportunity and run it independent of the GOBs and PSUs.


  4. July 20, 2014 @ 10:05 pm Vallejo Heights

    @wharf rat

    You really are clueless. The think about what Vallejo has to offer start ups and manufacturing businesses. 1) the convergence of three bodies of water (napa, Sacramento rivers and San Pablo bay). 2) rail and freeway access. 3) 1 hr ferry ride to SF 4) a great micro climate 4) a very walkable and bike able downtown 5) cheapest commercial and residential rates in the entire Bay Area. 6) 653 acres of a former naval shipyard that is grossly under utilized. 7) 150 acres of developable land on North Mare Island. Gosh, all you want to talk about is crime and section 8 housing. I wonder why tech start ups aren’t locating in the Tenderloin and Hunter’s Point? There is just as much crime, poverty and homelessness there then in all of Vallejo! You don’t hear that being marketed to tech companies the way you bash this town. Don’t you see anything positive in this town?


  5. July 20, 2014 @ 10:34 pm Dormant no more?

    The fiber optics system has been dormant for many years because the city cut every possible staff to serve the appetite of Public Safety Unions and their contracts. There was no capacity. Now, we’re out of BK, fiber optics are a #1 priority for the city and we have great city manager and staff working on this. But if the Oz and his ego gets their way and we become a strong mayor town, you can bet we’ll be right back where we were with dormant fiber optics.


  6. July 21, 2014 @ 6:52 am Mousy

    What about Mare Island? I hope the city was smart and installed conduit when they did all that sewer work. Though somehow I doubt it. Think of the potential there. The north end could become a corporate park, like Bishop Ranch in San Ramon.

    With speeds like that we could have data farms. Through Island Energy would probably scare them away. The devil you know vs the one you don’t.


  7. July 21, 2014 @ 9:43 am Vallejo Heights

    Read the report on how the city of Santa Monica took an incremental approach (see the link on this site). The starting point was connecting all municipal building and taking the money saved on leased lines and reinvesting it into building out the network. Residential connectivity would be the last phase of the build out. Pass a building ordinance like the one in Brentwood requiring all new construction have conduit for fiber. Create a master telecommunication plan for the entire city. Coordinate between city departments so that every time there is an open trench on a street or what ever we put down the conduit for fiber. The existing 28 miles of conduit was a 13 million dollar infrastructure project that today would cost 100 million dollars. Explore some of the new micro trenching technologies that are significantly cheaper then open trenching. Bring fiber to the home (FTTH) via arial pole-to-pole like Verizon does back East. Build out the final backbone to the Benicia business park and sell it to businesses there. This is some that has been proposed and studied by the City of Benicia.


  8. July 21, 2014 @ 12:22 pm wharf rat

    Clueless you say ???? , better clueless than two blocked ………….


  9. July 21, 2014 @ 12:54 pm wharf rat

    @ Mousy
    In fact a vast fiber optic network was installed on MI most buildings were fed with fiber , this project began before closure and was being compleated even after the command was transfered to Bremerton . Typical of Navy infrastructure it probably had major overages built in , and I suspect extra room in the conduit for expansion . I have heard that the system/network is robust as it was intended to handle classified data .Looking at utility as builts is like looking at a spagetti spill , there are abandoned utilities all over the place as MI had a central utility plant with everything from DI h20 to three steam pressures and condensate return , also numerous voltages including DC power etc . Many of these abandoned lines could be used for fiber if needed in fact the MI fiber network might be of scale to serve as a hub for the north bay ………


  10. July 21, 2014 @ 1:11 pm Chris Platzer

    You are so right Wharf Rat! The main fiber end point that the Navy installed appears to be building 605 – the old Navy telephone switch. And you are completely right about the massive underground system of conduits in the ground on Mare Island. Even if their isn’t fiber going to each building on the Island then abandoned water and sewer lines can easily be used as conduit for pulling fiber. There is a manhole cover on the corner of Mare Island Way and Tennessee next to the bus stop that is labeled “Fiber Optics”. In the technology report linked to above in the appendix is mention made by GST (the company that installed the fiber on MI that commercial customer needs for high speed fiber will be studied on a case by case basis. I also believe that all the new residential that Lennar built has fiber optics going to the home. It is a pity that Lennar doesn’t market this fact. Wharf Dog do you know if the Navy brought fiber out to Skaggs Island? Was that a major intelligence facility for the Navy?


    • July 21, 2014 @ 3:02 pm wharf rat

      @ Chris
      wharf dog ??? …19 years ago when I worked on closure and reuse the fiber optic system was classified material we were only allowed to see a ladder diagram with no specific locations …
      Skags Island was a ULF instalation (ultra low frequency) it was a highly classified opperation who’s mission was Submarine communications .. It sent ULF signals (encripted of course) through the earths crust these then travelled through the sea water then recieved by our Submarine fleet they were un-encripted .. This was a very slow system where a single digit could take miniutes to transmit . I have no knowledge of a fiber trunk servicing Skags but have allways assumed it was included in the MI project for obvious reasons , security being one . The ULF instalation was a part of the MI mission / comand …


  11. July 22, 2014 @ 8:20 am cranky pants

    Just think of the couple of vacant supermarket and big box stores that could be converted quickly into small server farms….Never mind that would require a city government who can look beyond who is buying them and execute actual economic development vs the current dollar store and taxpayer subsidized businesses.

    I had fiber when I lived in Italy and for $60.00 a month I had super fast internet and about 350 cable channels. The kicker is that it would have been only $40.00 if we hadn’t of added the 150 or so English channels….I would love to be back in the civilized world.


  12. July 24, 2014 @ 11:10 am Vallejo Heights

    San Leandro has an enviable location, good transportation, civic infrastructure, affordable housing prices and pleasant neighborhoods. It has a history of traditional industries like manufacturing and is now working in a private-public partnership to attract a new generation of businesses and associated jobs.

    The primary enabler of the renewal is a state-of-the-art digital backbone loop of fiber optics that will allow service providers to deliver ultra-high-speed, Internet communications network.

    Lit San Leandro is funded by a leading local business owner in cooperation with city, and federal governments. Its objective is simple: attract new businesses to the San Leandro area by modernizing the communications infrastructure, without relying on public funds.

    What can Lit San Leandro provide to my business?

    Lit San Leandro would love to connect your business to the Internet using state-of-the-art fiber optic cable and ultra-high-speed, symmetrical service–your uploads are as fast as your downloads. Costs for connecting and for monthly services depend on your distance from the loop, how much bandwidth your business needs (50Mb, 100Mb, 500Mb, 1Gb per second or more), and other factors unique to your situation. We’d love to explore what’s possible with you. Please contact us for more information.


  13. July 25, 2014 @ 8:20 am yay!

    The fiber network is one of Vallejo’s most exciting prospects ever. Dear City, please don’t blow it, and please, seize this opportunity with both hands! Thank geawd that Osby’s power play was stymied, so we can get back to business.

    While I love the thought of a municipal utility and the income we could generate, such an entity would be subject to budget poaching from the safety unions. And a poorly-run utility would be counter-productive. If we went with a City-run effort, maybe it should be its own district, like sewer & GVRD. That way its budget would be outside of the greedy grasp of the PSUs.

    While I lament that this has lain dormant for so long, I’m very eager to see what can happen with an asset that can make a difference. Vamanos!


    • July 25, 2014 @ 11:19 pm wharf rat

      Minicipal economic development is pure mythology ,Cities do nat make money , rather they spend tax money to provide essiential services to the taxpayers that fund these enterprises … Cities are in the business of spending money !!! they can never “make” money due to the fact that they are not held accountable for profit an losses , as are private industry … if COV were a Corporation , operations would have been outsourced years ago , and any working groups would have been subject to , efficiency studieswith real numbers …. Keen is a high performer yet needs to go outside the box
      with this monumentel every thingl challenge he ended up in , notwithstanding recent politics … perhaps the solution is for us Citezens to step up …. In the long run we are the gate keepers for everything !!! period .. When Council members are handed a “packet” mere day’s before a Council meeting , expected to interpreat hundreds of pages of info and vote on it , it is no wonder many of them look exausted at Council meetings … Thisis not only not fair to our Council members but is a slap in the face to all of us who voted for the Folks to represent us .. I would like to hear from Council members , just what this inefficent , corrupt behaviour impacts our local government ??? ..Private industry would never allow this , why should our Council Members and their Constituents???
      Perhaps a strong CEO , working in concert with an effictive City Manager model would serve us better !! why dont we replace the Mayor possition , wholesale (considering his compensation combined with the costs of his Exeutive assistant) , who does not serve the Council (this stuff is adverse to our City Charter) , combined savings could be applied to a CEO or even a CFO possition , with specific language , like YOU will serve the Citesens of Vallejo , period … In a nutshell the Mayor possition has been an Edsel for some time , it is time to evolve !! .. we have some very articulate Council members , who are served by their Constituants , and upon request will do much more .. It is the Vallejo way … The Era of the Mayor has passed , figureheads are mounted on walls
      Commited Vallejoians tear down walls ……………….


      • July 26, 2014 @ 12:26 am Salty Dog

        I agree WR, nothing wrong with looking at alternatives.

        I like the idea of a duel system, bumping the city manager up to CEO with overall responsibility for “operations” and a CFO responsible for finances and economic development. Working closely in tandem, the two would regularly report to a Council of seven elected lay representatives.

        But I would not be too quick to abolish the position of Mayor. It is important to have a spokesperson to speak on behalf of the Council and the decisions it makes. I would like to see more public comment on behalf of the Council’s decisions through regular news releases, currently sadly lacking..

        Moreover, the Mayor plays an important role as liaison between organization and Council along with ensuring meetings are run effectively and ensuring community concerns are vetted with both Council and the organization.

        I would follow the SB model in which elected members choose the Mayor through ballot at the first meeting each year. This would surely make for more lively meetings and reduce opportunities for self serving agendas that may arise. I have never understood why a Mayor should be chosen through special election, given the current Charter model.

        Perhaps I am being naive.


        • July 26, 2014 @ 1:38 pm wharf rat

          Good ideas Salt in fact our charter clearly defines the dities of the Mayor , durring ozbys tenure he has been gradually making his possition more important than was intended by our charter .. He now has an administrative assistant when in fact council members are forbidden to dirrect Employees , it must go through the City Manager . All to often Council members are left to their own devices and handed a mulyi hundred page packet just days before a Council meeting , the dilligent ones stay up at night to digest this mass of information (the one’s who are tired at Council meetings) others just coast mesmerized by their self importance …We have ended up with a flawed system
          somewhat devoid of intelligent policy , one where a tyrant like Osby can try to hijack this system , requiring a massive up-rising by the Community to defeate … Clearly our charter need an overhaul but meanwhile there are some structural changes that can be done , I suggest changing the Mayors Executive assistant possition to one of a legislative analyst , make it a sworn possition administered via City Manager . Then enact policy re : time frame for Council members to review their packets 3 days is a joke and if one works full time almost impossible . With a qualified legislative analyst supporting Council numbers can be crunched issues researched etc and all Council members would recieve the same reports , if this was moddeled after the State office of the legislative analyst it could be a great improvement for local government .


  14. July 29, 2014 @ 12:44 am Iñigo

    Will this make my 300 baud Hayes modem go faster?


  15. July 31, 2014 @ 7:25 pm Vallejo Heights

    While the nation’s largest internet service providers have been making lots of noise recently, the country’s fastest network has stayed quiet, just like the Tennessee town it services.
    The southern city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, with a population of about 170,000, boasts internet speeds up to a whopping gigabit per second, thanks to a local municipal fiber internet network, and has since last year. That’s the same speed as Google Fiber, only there’s no legacy tech giant pumping technology into the project.

    The city of Chattanooga and the publicly owned electric utility EPB did it by themselves.

    Big telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast put off plans to outfit southeastern Tennessee with high-speed internet, essentially forcing the city to look for internet solutions elsewhere, Motherboard reports. This is actually a trend. Though Chattanooga’s internet is notable for its blinding speed, many small communities around the country are similarly taking on high-speed internet without the help of big-name ISPs.

    In fact, often the ISPs are holding these neglected communities back. In 2011 Longmont, Colorado, passed a ballot referendum that lifted a 2005 state law stopping municipalities from selling services that rely on publicly owned infrastructures, the Denver Post reported. Cable companies like Comcast originally pushed for the law in 2005 because they felt it was “unfair to let tax-supported entities compete with tax-paying businesses,” the Post said.

    More than 20 states still have laws like this one on the books, Motherboard reported. The FCC recently said it would help small communities get past these laws if it meant faster internet for them. This was in June.

    Earlier this month, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) proposed an amendment that would make the FCC’s move illegal. Almost every House Republican voted yes. Now the amendment is in the largely Democratic Senate where it’s not likely to pass but still could, perhaps with a little help from big cable companies.

    “Ultimately what it comes down to is these cable companies hate competition,” said Chris Mitchell, the director of community broadband networks for the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

    As director, Mitchell watches over issues like municipal networks, net neutrality, and the consolidation of cable companies, advocating for the public. “It’s not about [cable’s] arguments so much as their ability to lobby very well,” he said.

    He says that both Republicans and Democrats receive a lot of money from cable companies every year. Blackburn herself has recieved five-figure donations from AT&T, Verizon, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, says.
    Of course the anti-municipal fiber network crowd does have arguments. A common one is that local government-backed fiber networks are often failures that put tax dollars at risk, which Mitchell says is factually inaccurate. The other is that it’s unfair to allow private companies to compete with government-backed entities, which Mitchell agrees is worth debating.

    Municipal fiber internet networks certainly don’t fit in every community. They’re expensive to build — the Washington Post says Chattanooga’s cost $330 million — and a handful have failed. Mitchell says most governments don’t really want to have to build and run their own networks, despite their quality and popularity. Ideally, he says, local governments across the nation could fund the construction of a fiber network and then partner with a third party to run the service. This is happening in several cities nationwide, and it works well, though the number is climbing slowly.

    “The first reason a community builds a network tends to be jobs. It helps existing businesses and draws in new ones,” Mitchell said. “Most of these laws were passed in 2004, 2005. People didn’t think the internet was essential for business.”

    This is why for Mitchell and others who oppose Blackburn’s amendment, the most important thing is giving the communities the choice of whether to pursue a network of their own or hand the keys over to Comcast and company.

    “Localities are in the best position to decide the broadband needs of their own communities,” Rep. José E. Serrano (D-New York) said in an email statement to Business Insider. He voted against the amendment in the House. “The FCC is poised to help these localities by overruling harmful state policies that prevent innovation and competition.”

    While the amendment isn’t likely to make it past the Senate, which has a history of voting down proposals like Blackburn’s, Mitchell knows the issue will remain even if the legislation doesn’t.

    “The fight with the FCC is something I think we’re going to see for a while,” he said.


  16. July 31, 2014 @ 10:29 pm Vallejo Heights

    Susan Crawford says that in cities like Seoul and Stockholm, high-speed, high-capacity networks are taken for granted. “It really is astonishing what’s going on in America,” she says. “We’re falling way behind in the pack of developed nations when it comes to high-speed Internet access, capacity and prices.” (iStockphoto)

    For an increasing number of Americans, access to high-speed Internet has become an essential part of our lives. We do work, email friends, find restaurants, watch videos and movies, and check the weather. And the Internet is increasingly used for important services, like video medical consults and online education, and is relied upon by businesses for critical operations.

    Under a recent court decision, Internet service providers, primarily cable companies, aren’t required to treat all websites equally. They can make deals to provide faster service to some, or slow down sites that refuse to pay them extra fees. Law professor Susan Crawford says you may be experiencing the effects of this — without realizing it.

    Why, for example, do you have to wait for YouTube videos to buffer? Crawford explains: “You may think it’s the YouTube application. You may think there is something wrong with your computer. It’s probably the network provider making life unpleasant for YouTube because YouTube has refused to pay in order to cross its wires to reach you. And we’ll be seeing much more of that kind of activity in the future.”

    Crawford, author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the Gilded Age, explains how we got to this point. “The [Federal Communications Commission] in the early 2000s really thought that competition would do the job of regulatory oversight — that that would protect Americans,” she tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. The idea was that cable, telephone and wireless companies would battle it out, which would yield low prices for American consumers. “As it turns out, they were wrong and we’ve come into an era where these markets have consolidated and for most Americans, their only choice for high-speed, high-capacity Internet connection is their local cable monopoly.”

    Crawford says that American Internet service is falling behind other nations because cable companies have such dominance in many markets, and that will undermine our ability to compete in a global economy. She warns: “Unless somebody in the system has industrial policy in mind, a long-term picture of where the United States needs to be and has the political power to act on it, we’ll be a Third World country when it comes to communications.”


  17. March 19, 2015 @ 8:05 pm Clarke Johnston

    I live within one block of I-80, five blocks of CA-29, and can only get AT&T’s non-fiber optic, phone line based DSL. Over the last six months, service has taken a serious turn for the worse. Frequent and daily service failures occur, with green lights going to red on the router. I have been battling AT&T for, at least, non-interrupted, continuous service. Just minutes ago, I received an unhappy phone call from AT&T in Dallas, TX, reacting to my filing a complaint with the office of Kamala Harris, the state AG’s office. In short summary: We’re not going to spend any money upgrading your crappy old copper lines, and since the return on investment will not be realized for us to install fiber optic (U-Verse in their speak), thus, we’re going to do neither. Not going to improve the copper, and not going to install fiber optic. In other words, your poor neighborhood doesn’t make it economically viable for us to do either. The conclusion? Either accept service failures or interruptions, or we will “Deny you service”. I told the man that I felt the tone of the call was “hostile” in nature, nearly threatening in tone. He advised me that although AT&T provides me the service, that there is not guarantee of service continuity, either implied or obligated. I have to face facts: I live in an Information Ghetto. AT&T is a goliath, and this “David” doesn’t have the firepower to bring them down. This is what happens when lobbyists run DC. Corporations can, and do, act, however they want, and feel no obligation to even meet minimal terms of service.


    • Firebug

      March 20, 2015 @ 7:30 am Firebug

      The problem you are reporting is exactly what the FCC just fixed when they went above and beyond net neutrality and declared “broad band” a utility which can be regulated by the Federal Government. Copper or fiber DSL is considered broadband and now falls under the FCC as a utility. I would inquire with the FCC to determine how that new regulation might apply to you. Keep in mind ATT was one of the biggest opponents to net neutrality and stated they would cease running fiber if the regulation passed. You might be stuck in the middle of this war, but thanks to the FCC “broadband” is now considered a utility and ATT is required to keep the infrastructure sound.


  18. June 4, 2015 @ 6:03 pm CIV

    Does anyone have any further updates on what’s happening with either the city or AT&T on the fiberoptic front. I own a small business and one of our biggest complaints (from staff and customers) is how slow our internet is. I am so tired of trying to explain our situations, they just don’t get it.
    AT&T once called to say they were offering fiber in our area, we said we’d call them back to get more info. Big mistake. When we called back they had no idea what we were talking about. I should have agreed to anything and everything the day they called and signed any contract with my blood.


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