Petition for Better Los Alamos Broadband (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 08 Dec 2020

Petition for Better Los Alamos Broadband

Los Alamos (and White Rock) Alert!

Los Alamos and White Rock readers: please direct your attention to Andy Fraser's Better Los Alamos Broadband NOW petition.

One thing the petition doesn't mention is that LANL is bringing a second high speed trunk line through White Rock. I'm told that They don't actually need the extra bandwidth, but they want redundancy in case their main line goes out.

Meanwhile, their employees, and the rest of the town, are struggling with home internet speeds that aren't even close to the federal definition of broadband: [New Mexico wiring] 25 megabits per second download (25 Mbps) and three megabits per second (3 Mbps) upload. I'm on CenturyLink DSL, getting about 8 Mbps down and 0.8 up. That's enough to do a Zoom call most of the time if the person not Zooming avoids doing any big downloads or system updates. It's not enough for two reliable Zoom connections at once. I can't imagine how parents with three kids in remote school, and maybe a remote job of their own, are managing. And I have friends in town who are getting far slower speeds than I am.

The problem isn't getting the bandwidth onto the hill; aside from what's available already, LANL has said the town could share the new line they're bringing in. The problem is what they call the "last mile": getting signal to people's houses. In the photo at right, you can see how CenturyLink's wiring gives you a solid feeling of confidence. The green post near the upper right of the photo is the CenturyLink box. (The photo shows a house on North Mesa in Los Alamos, but mine looks just the same except it goes a much longer distance overland. We've tried to cover it with dirt or rocks over most of its length, so a deer doesn't trip over it some day and kill our internet connection.) As for our other option, Comcast, I've written about them before; they're not going to be the answer to getting modern fiber to all county residents.

We need a concerted effort at the county level to solve the problem and drag this supposedly high-tech town into the no-longer-new millennium. The topic has come up at a couple of recent County Council meetings, but it's fairly clear that they want the problem to magically solve itself and aren't interested in making it a priority. But it's not going to happen on its own, and neither CenturyLink nor Comcast is going to step up and volunteer to start building infrastructure. Why would they, when they already have a captive market for the inadequate cabling they already own?

We need to tell the County Council that we care about getting broadband in Los Alamos. So please go take a look at the Better Los Alamos Broadband NOW petition and sign it. Note: it may say you signed while not yet show your name in the list. Apparently it takes a while for new names to show up. And if you use noscript or similar plug-ins, make sure you enable javascript before signing.

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[ 15:17 Dec 08, 2020    More politics | permalink to this entry | ]

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