Long-Distance Broadband Over POTS Copper


ADSL broadband only works for a certain distance from the telephone exchange, digitally disenfranchising those who live in the sticks. It would be possible to set up ADSL wired repeaters every so far along a connection, but this wouldn't be cheap. In this position, most people are advised to use satellite connections. There is however, a fairly cheap solution using POTS (plain old telephone system) copper wire.

Standard technologies exist to pair two phone lines and use them as one wider pipe for a faster connection. There is no reason why you cannot do this with ten phone lines. Most businesses have a higher mains power supply and a larger capacity water/waste system than a domestic property, so there's no reason why they shouldn't have 10 phone lines installed. If ten houses are built, the telco will happily install ten lines. It is not a technology issue.

Now take the ten lines into your box of tricks. This contains ten dirt cheap 56k dial-up modem chipsets, controlled by a bridging router. The interface connects the ten phone lines to your PC via ethernet, USB, or Firewire.

Your PC software monitors URL calls and incoming data. It can examine the size and form of requested incoming data and send amended URL requests across up to ten lines, to pull data in the most optimised manner for a speedy reconstruction of the data stream, delivering it to your browser or other software. When using streaming software, it could be preconfigured to handle such data streams in an optimal manner, and may incorporate additional, dedicated compression routines (such as dropping data in unimportant screen areas on video-conferences to maintain quality and resolution in others: your eye does this).

This approach has the added advantage that you can choose how much of your pipe is dedicated to an uplink or to a downlink at any time, and alter it dynamically as you need to. This is rarely possible with bog-standard ADSL services. If you fix all of your lines as 'uplinks', you have a pure firewall, and your connection becomes invisible.

This is a cheap solution. It requires ten modem chipsets which cost peanuts today, a routing chip to move packets from your ethernet/USB/Firewire cable to and from the chipsets, and a piece of software to handle the data gymnastics. And you need to persuade your telco to do you a special deal on ten phone lines and the charges thereon, that fix the cost to match that of an ADSL line. The best way to do this is with political pressure, politicians being under pressure to provide a fast internet infrastructure to all areas at an equal cost.


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