“Comcast told him it would cost $17,000 to speed up his internet. He rallied 41 South Bay neighbors to build their own lightning-fast fiber-optic network instead ”
Tech-rich but internet-poor, residents of the Silicon Valley neighborhood were fed up with sluggish broadband speeds of less than 25 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload — the federal definition of a home unserved by adequate internet. Frustrated by the take-it-or-leave-it attitude of internet providers, they created their own solution — and now this tony enclave has one of the fastest residential speeds in the nation.
Scott Vanderlip, a software engineer, said Comcast gave him a $17,000 estimate to connect his home to the faster internet service at a neighbor’s home. “You got to be kidding me — I can see it on the pole from my driveway,” Vanderlip said, remembering his reaction to Comcast’s quote.
So the self-described “town rebel” jumped at the chance to partner with a startup internet service provider called Next Level Networks. If Vanderlip could rally a few neighbors willing to invest a couple thousand dollars, Next Level would get them very fast internet. That was in 2017. Now, Vanderlip is president of the Los Altos Hills Community Fiber Association, which provides super-fast speeds — up to 10 Gigabits-per-second upload and download — to its over 40 association members, letting them transfer huge files and load webpages in the click of a computer mouse, Vanderlip said.
That’s 125 times faster than the median download speed in Santa Clara County.
It helped that his home “also happened to sit near a local school with a spare fiber optic internet connection,” the article points out.
But a startup internet service provider called Next Level Networks also handled “the infrastructure procurement, contracts, logistics and retail — essentially providing the residents a turnkey fiber optic internet service — while Vanderlip and two of his neighbors, who joined with an investment of $5,000 each, bought the fiber optic infrastructure, crowdsourced new members and mapped out an initial fiber route to their houses.”
Thanks to Slashdot reader k6mfw for sharing the story!