Hey AT&T, just park that U-verse DSLAM in my yard

Hey AT&T, just park that U-verse DSLAM in my yard

Summary: Nate Anderson wrote a pretty good article AT&T's U-verse negotiation troubles.  U-verse is the AT&T marketing name a hybrid fiber/copper Internet transport system that relies on lots of distributed miniature DSLAMs that are within 3000 to 5000 feet of the homes that each mini-DSLAM serves.


Nate Anderson wrote a pretty good article AT&T's U-verse negotiation troubles.  U-verse is the AT&T marketing name a hybrid fiber/copper Internet transport system that relies on lots of distributed miniature DSLAMs that are within 3000 to 5000 feet of the homes that each mini-DSLAM serves.  Instead of spending a fortune on running fiber the entire way to millions of homes, AT&T merely installs a mini-DSLAMs every 8,000 feet apart.  The short range copper connections from the mini-DSLAMs to the homes permit very high speed DSL service at 20 mbps.  This allows AT&T to offer "triple play" telephone, DSL, and HDTV IPTV services to compete with the Cable companies many of whom already offer voice, data, and TV.

But there seems to be a big hold up on U-verse partly because of the size of these mini-DSLAMs called "52B" boxes which some people have aptly renamed "B-52s".  A lot of towns have started putting moratoriums on them and the Cable companies are threatening to sue to try and classify U-verse service as a Cable service to force AT&T to abide by the same build-out rules especially when they're installing these massive 52B boxes on public right-of-ways.  The few towns that didn't object to them were towns that didn't have any existing cable service.

I might have a solution for the merged SBC-AT&T company and here is a letter I typed up on behalf of residents that want U-verse service.  The letter can easily be reversed and sent out to customers that are sitting near the locations that AT&T wants to put a 52B.

To whom it may concern at AT&T,

I hear AT&T is running in to some roadblocks on U-verse in many of the suburbs it's trying penetrate with because of public right-of-way issues with the 52B miniature DSLAMs.  Why bother with those pesky city councils and lawsuits?  Why don't you park that DSLAM in my backyard inside a small cage out of the public's sight?  I'll let you park it there RENT-FREE if you'll just run a short CAT-5e cable from that mini-DSLAM in to my house and we'll call it even.  You only need to abide by the following house guest rules.

  • Put a secure fence all around it so the kids won't play with it.
  • Make sure it's less than 30 dB noise at 6 feet away.
  • I'll take my burst bandwidth at full duplex 100 mbps.
  • Hook me up with your premium IPTV service.
  • You can even use my electricity so long as you pay for the extra power it draws.

I'd say this is a pretty fair exchange to bypass all those right-of-way problems you've been having.  Give me a call any time.

Topic: Fiber

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  • Sign me up!

    AT&T can use my yard under the same terms. I think AT&T putting these boxes in private owners' yards in exchange for service would be a triumph of the free market over excessive regulation.
    Erik Engbrecht
    • Yeah, sign me up for sure

      I'd love to have an ugly B-52 ... I mean 52B in my yard if the public can't stand it.
  • Curse Embarq for not offering this

    I would love to donate my space for a good free service. I am right next to a main road and would not be too hassled by such things as a large box in my back yard
  • B-52s versus Fiber

    Let get this stright,

    AT&T is willing to shell out all the money to run Fiber up to these boxes, then CAT5e to the houses. Then spend more money on lawyers pushing local city governments to let them place these B-52s Big Iron boxes on public land by bypassing previous legislation for smaller more astetic boxes?

    Why not just Fiber all the way to the houses and tell the local governmwnts that AT&T is "upgrading your Internet Experience", for $44.95 a month, and be done with it.

    Then they can reap the benefits of a true Fiber Network. Just don't forget to get some NIC supplier to offer a discont on Fiber NICs, but only if you sign in the next 15 minutes. Operators are standing by!!!!

    BTW - I do not work for AT&T.
    • Let's get you fixed

      This doesn't offer the speed of Fiber and is cheaper than fiber. I was looking at the website and was confused by the fact that I don't see how this connects to the DSLAM. The input looks like a Coax Cable. There is only a single RJ45 connection and it looks to be like it is for connecting to the LAN, not connecting to the DSLAM. If anyone remembers, an ethernet line is only good for 100 meters or 330 feet (Unless Shielded or higher grade) depending on how you want to describe it, so pushing that kind of access won't work over ethernet.

      I would gladly go for that kind of access though. 1.5 miles is quite a bit of coverage and would cut down on the cost of fiber which is still way too high.
    • No, it's running existing phone lines to homes within 5000 feet

      The CAT-5e connection is just for the person would would be willing to host a 52B rent free.
  • The 52B boxes aren't the problem. It's the money

    As Nate Anderson pointed out in his article, AT&T has already put 52B boxes on private property in Wheaton to avoid regulatory issues. Once the local government found out that AT&T was trying to roll out a cable TV service without paying a franchise fee, the city threw up a roadblock by limiting the size of utility boxes (wow, along with the pad mounted power supply, those things are huge - did you see the photo?) placed in the public right of way. In reality, the city would probably allow such a box on every block as long as they knew that they would be reaping a tax benefit from IPTV subscribers in the form of a franchise fee. Local governments don't what to give up the taxing authority that they have established with the local cable TV operators (it makes every city manager feel like a mini-George Bush). They are loath to give up that authority over AT&T, just because Telephone (that's what insiders call AT&T) also carries phone calls over their "upgraded" network.

    Yep, when you boil it all down, it's about the money.

    I sure hope they straighten this out, because most communities need a little competition in the cable TV space.
    • The Net Neutrality folks are all over this and fighting it

      They want a full build-out or nothing rather than negotiating something that would be less demanding on a new entrant in to the TV service market. I say let's sit down like adults and work out a build-out schedule once certain levels of subscriber are met. This way, the Telco would only be forced to build out if they're profitable with sufficient subscribers.

      Net Neutrality is actually the anti-QoS poison pill designed to derail the Telecom Act of 2006 and has nothing to do with "saving the Internet".
  • Do not trust AT&T...

    ...wern't they hooked into Comcast at one time? I do not trust 'em. They should have to satisfy the local franchise autority rules..just like the rest of the players. The feds are just carrying water for the telecos who have bought and paid for their influence!
    • After all, who wins with competition?

      That is a horrible thing, everyone should have to pull from the exact same service all the time and no one should have choice over whether they want AT&T or Comcast to provide their TV.

      Who needs that trouble with making a decision. I mean look at how far behind South Korea is when they have to decide which provider they want for fiber. Life there must be similar to the underworld.

      How about they get rid of the franchise taxes and create an open market? Oh, but that would be too much of a pain.
    • Do not trust AT&T. I hear that.

      It's no secret that AT&T are cheapskates who are just looking for our sloth "government" to hand the Internet over to them. All Mutha Bell is doing is saving their pennies until Verizon completes their FiOS network. Then the vultures swoop in to "acquire" Verizon, leaving only Qwest to absorb and reform AT&T, complete with absolute control over the net.

      One has to wonder; Exactly what is AT&T going to push down their "network" to our TVs and PCs and down our throats? Corp-think? Government propaganda? Spywarez? Given their past record of conspiracy to hand private data over to king D'uh'bya's domestic-invasion-of-privacy program, you'll want to stop watching TV as now the TV will be watching you.

      So far, the only monkey wrench in Mutha Bell's plans is a lone FCC hold out with a conflict of interest. Hopefully, he'll hold out long enough until the reforming Bell is forcibly shattered again and kept from ever reforming.
      Mr. Roboto
    • Do not trust...


      ...and especially...

      the government!

      Without government intervention through antiquated laws of dubious origins the telcos and cable companies with keep each other in check through competition. Right now it seems the greatest asset on of these companies can possess is not network infrastructure or some radical new technology but rather local governments.

      Take the government out of the equation and we'll all have better service at lower prices.
      Erik Engbrecht
  • Good idea

    Of course, the one risk is that, when you sell the house, some neo-luddite who brags at the Whole Foods that they have never been on the Internet would order AT&T to remove that monstrosity out of their yard. Plus, in California, lord knows someone would get hurt around the device, and trial lawyers would sue AT&T for endangering the public health.
    John Carroll
    • I doubt that they would have to move it far.

      In Cali, I am sure there are enough people in an area that some one else could be quickly found. Although personally, if a person had to sell the house, I would assume that they would also have to build into the bill of sale about how the 52B is required and can not be removed from the premise. Also, there was a reason for the fence, although Liability Insurance may need to be informed if there are any additional requirements or hazards that the cabinent might bring to the area.

      AT&T should have good enough lawyers to wrap things up before anything is set into place.
      • Moving it would be a BIG problem

        But read my other reply to John about the life time contract that can only be changed by full agreement both parties.
    • Good point, but I'd sign a permanent contract.

      I would sign a permanent contract with them for the life of the house with any-time right-of-way in to my back yard (with a courtesy notification). If I sell the house, the new owner would have to agree to it though I would think it would be a GOOD selling point to have permanent 100 mbps Internet and HD IPTV services. For every 1 person that would reject this deal when they're shopping for my home, there would be 10 others who would jump a the chance. I'd even advertise this arrangement when I'm selling my home.

      The contract would essentially give them use of that small piece of land for free permanently and neither side should be allowed to change the agreement unless BOTH parties agree.
    • About getting hurt...

      Does it require any size of equipment for some one to get hurt and sue for liability of the property owner. Frivilous suits will happen, usually without any warranted cause.

      A person could equally slip on the sidewalk in the front lawn and sue for just as much.
  • Dig Deeper

    I really don't think you will want one of these once you find out just how big it really is, how much room is required because of door clearances (fenced, it will take up two or three times the area that you expect since it has large doors on all sides), how badly and how long your yard will be destroyed by the digging and heavy equipment (the tunnel machine will leak oil onto the ground and nothing will grow there ever again), and how very loud it is when the fans kick on to cool it (the noise specs don't take those into account).

    They will pay you for the (permanent) easement, but they will not give you service as compensation. You can, however, add things like fences into the agreement, but, once the fence is in, you will be responsible for maintenance.

    This is just a little advice from the experience of AT&T putting a DSLAM in my yard. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't.
    • It would all have to be worked in to the agreement

      When I mention the 30 dB at 6' noise spec, that is MAX noise levels permitted, not the idle noise. If they make a mess in the yard or do any damage to it then they have to pay for it.
  • Makes me glad I live in Verizon country

    I'll take my fiber straight to my house. No fuss, No mess, No noise