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Page 1 Latest Updates Broadband comes to South Kona, Hawaii

Broadband Internet Access

September 8, 2000: The Roadrunner installation I requested on August 30 completed by Time-Warner operator Sun Cablevision. (I called the day I became aware the service was available in my area - $39.95/mo which includes a GI external cable modem and free installation. I was told to call on the installation date to get an approximate time. When I called at 8am, I was told the couldn't give me any time - and, if I wasn't home, the installation would be re-scheduled for December!)

Around 12:30pm, an installer showed up to run a cable to my computer location. Around 1:00pm another truck with 2 technicians arrived. I had already installed my own Ethernet NIC, so it took only a few minutes to hook up the cable modem, set my NT networking TCP/IP to DHCP, and be online!

For the few hours I've used it it's been great! Highly variable throughput, but generally 4 - 10x faster than my 56k dial-up. But, I can see trouble coming: i.Unreliable?

The high-speed 'last-mile' connection I've gotten with cable can be choked by bottlenecks anywhere - and it appears to me that every provider that has facilities between Hawaii & the US Mainland has capacity problems. Local Roadrunner status page:

Last Modified: Fri Sep 8 07:35:59 2000
Due to issues with one of Road Runner's Internet backbone providers, Hawaii users may see higher than normal latency (ping) and generally slower browsing during peak usage times. Network Engineers are currently working with our mainland providers to produce a suitable resolution. Temporary measures have been and will continue to be implemented as an effort to improve performance.

I've experienced these problems with every ISP with local access numbers - and it's been painful! Now, it will be painful to have to use a dial-up modem when Roadrunner goes out. Yet, the bandwidth provided by cable and DSL is short-term: the future will require fiber to the curb and a bigger and more reliable backbone network.

Here in Hawaii, the second phone line I have primarily for Internet Access costs me $24.76/month, and a dial-up account $12-$18. (I keep switching as none of them can stay reasonably reliable for long.) If I disconnect the 2nd line and use only free ISPs for RR backup, the cost for broadband is about the same.

My Roadrunner Subscriber Agreement: Prohibits customer from accessing the service with more than one computer. Any attempt to configure an authorized computer in a manner that allows other computers not authorized for the service to access the service, including by a proxy server, will terminate customer's right to use service and no refund of deposit or fees will be given.

That's ridiculous: almost like the old monopoly phone company that wouldn't let you add any phone or device to your phone line unless you rented it from the phone company! Or the old cable company that made you pay for every Cable TV outlet. If I want to work from my computer upstairs instead of the one downstairs, I can't use Roadrunner?!! It's also almost unenforceable: without a physical inspection of your home, it would take sophisticated surveillance to detect the use of a proxy server.

[Almost immediately upon hookup, my firewall started reporting intrusions. In just a few hours, I've had more port probes - most of them originating from other Roadrunner users - than I get in a week of dial-up use. If I had installed my RR NIC with default options, or not correctly set bindings, without a firewall, I'd be unprotected!]

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