Private Infrastructure Fails to Provide Freedom

The United States Court of Appeals ruled today that the FCC does not have authority to require Net Neutrality on privately owned networks like Comcast’s cable Internet or Verizon’s FiOS. A variety of approaches suggest themselves to preserve the essential freedom of the Internet. One is to change the law to provide the FCC the needed authority, however this is likely to lead to protracted legislative and legal battles, where the network owners fight to preserve their control and freedom to manipulate conditions of use. Considering it is their investment, the private owners have some reasonable grounds for that position. Another approach is for the public interest to exert itself through direct investment. That is, for the public to build their own last-mile infrastructure and for that public infrastructure to be operated in their own interests, including freedom to use that infrastructure as they see fit, consistent with the physical limitations and fairness. Fiber optics to the end-user provides the best capacity bang for the buck. Public ownership provides the best freedom bang for the buck.

Portland Glassblowers Introducing Google 1 Gbit Fat Pipe

Hot on the heels of Hopworks’ Gigabit IPA, a few enthusiastic Portland glassblowers have announced the Google 1 Gbit Fat Pipe:

In honor of Portland’s bid for Google’s historic 1 Gbit Fiber project, local glassblowers Andrew Clifton and Anthony Kaufman have created the Google 1 Gbit Fat Pipe. The 1 Gbit Fat Pipe promises an unparalleled and future-ready smoking experience, beyond anything previously offered in the United States. Though it is designed for tobacco use, the open design of the 1 Gbit Fat Pipe is compatible with local laws both current, and those that may be changed through pending referendums.

According to Clifton, “Portland is clearly the best city for Google’s 1 Gbit Fiber, and we believe the city and community response speak to that. We’re just trying to do our part to generate some buzz.”

The 1 Gbit Fat Pipe will be available for purchase through your local glass art dealer in early May.

Update: More info is apparently available here.

Hopworks Gigabit IPA Announcement

Please read on for complete details on the release of Hopworks’ Gigabit IPA.

Portland Brews Up “Gigabit IPA” To Attract Google’s Fast Gigabit Fiber Network To Portland

Google-inspired IPA will be introduced to the public from 4pm to 6pm, Friday, April 2, 2010, at Portland’s Green Dragon, where the city’s geeks and creatives meet for “Beer and Blog’’ every week Portland’s geek, creative and beer communities have joined forces to brew up Gigabit IPA, special microbrew to help the City of Portland convince Internet giant Google to build an innovative gigabit fiber network here. Friday afternoon from 4 to 6pm, the new “broadband beer” will be introduced to beer enthusiasts at “Beer and Blog” at the Green Dragon brewpub (928 SE 9th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 503-517-0660) where techies and creatives gather to blog every week.

Justin Kistner, host of Friday’s event, says, “You don’t have to be a blogger to come. Everyone’s welcome to come and ‘embrace the bandwidth’ with a growler of Portland’s newest microbrew.” A senior executive at Webtrends, Kistner founded Beer and Blog in Portland two years ago. Today Beer and Blog chapters meet every Friday afternoon in 18 cities as far away as Tokyo, and Kistner is inviting all of them to join in serving Portland’s Gigabit IPA.

The idea of brewing a special beer in honor of Google’s superfast broadband began at a potluck with local geeks and creatives meeting with the City of Portland team to come up with a strategy to get Google’s attention. Over 1,100 U.S. cities have applied to be testbeds for Google’s innovative network, but Portland offers something extra that geeks at Google are reputed to love: awesome craftbeers.

Portland beer maven Kerry Finsand (whose title at start-up is “Chief Beer Officer”) was enlisted to find a local brewmaster who could produce a world class beer for the Google initiative and do it at Internet speed. He suggested Christian Ettinger of Hopworks, whose organic IPA won gold at the World Beer Cup. Ettinger spent years designing and building the world’s first carbon-neutral brewery in Portland, a city where green and sustainable living is the goal. (Google is also known for its many green initiatives. Google’s innovative gigabit network will utilize fiber-to-the-home to save many millions of dollars in energy costs.)

The new Google-inspired beer is, of course, organic. The best description of Hopworks Organic Gigabit IPA is the words on every bottle:

“This fresh & edgy IPA honors Portland’s new gigabit network project to pioneer a connected future with Google fiber-to-the-home. Embrace the bandwidth with a massive NW hop aroma, with rich citrus and pine accents aggressively balanced with clear malt caramel flavor, and a deep, clean, satisfying finish. From Hopworks, the world’s first carbon-neutral artisanal brewery.”

The cheerful logo for Gigabit IPA, with colors that evoke the Google brand, was designed by Bram Pitoyo, a typographer popular with the PDX geek community. The Gigabit IPA story and logo are featured on, the City of Portland’s new website, where visitors will find links to many communities and organizations supporting the new network initiative.

Portland has worked for 15 years to bring fast broadband and rich connectivity to this international hub for open source technology. And by coincidence, 15 years is exactly how long Christian Ettinger has been brewing innovative craftbrews. Plans are to make Gigabit IPA, his newest, available on tap, in kegs and in 22 ounce bottles in Portland.

Hopworks Introducing Gigabit IPA

Kerry Finsand at Taplister has the exclusive scoop on Hopworks Urban Brewery’s upcoming Gigabit IPA. Kerry, Sheldon Renan and Teresa Boze put their networks to work and the wonderful folks at Hopworks stepped up to create a beer that will honor Portland’s efforts to see a high-speed, open fiber network built.

The logo was created by Portland’s own Bram Pitoyo, and we certainly hope that the folks in Mountain View will see it as an homage and invitation to come enjoy a pint or two of one of Portland’s finest productions.

Gigabit IPA logo by Bram Pitoyo

Speed isn’t everything, freedom important too

Someone on twitter recently mentioned Molalla Communications Cooperative as a nearby existing fiber-to-the-premises network. It is, and there are others. It has better bandwidth and pricing than we get from incumbents here in Portland, their X-Fon product has 40 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up for under $50/month. However, looking at their fine print, we find this clause:

“You shall not connect servers of any type to the Services. Molalla Communications reserves the right to suspend or terminate Service without advance warning if a violation of this policy is detected.”

If you take that literally, and I think you have to, it would mean no Linux boxes that you can log into remotely, no web servers, no business email servers, no other “normal” internet services. It prevents you from using off-site system administrators to help you solve technical problems. In many realistic circumstances, this restriction makes the service unacceptably limited. Comcast has similarly restrictive terms of service. Service providers seem to like the bright line between producers and consumers, that you are a consumer and a consumer only. “We went to the trouble of labelling you, stay in your damned box!”

Users of infrastructure should pay for the infrastructure, but having done so, they should have the ability and freedom to use that infrastructure for what they want, not limited to some artificial set of consumption-only activities. Ward Cunningham tells the story of how he changed the world because he could provide a service over a 14,400 baud modem with a $300 computer under his desk that let people communally develop and refine ideas about computer programming. The “no servers” rule would strangle in the cradle just that kind of innovation and collaboration that can make progress possible and life for everyone better. Maybe there are no creative people in Molalla (I know that’s not true), but there are in Portland. A Portland fiber network cannot have a restriction like that and be considered a success. This is why an open-access model, where many providers on the same infrastructure compete on price, quality and terms-of-service is essential.

Hey Qwest: Fake Fiber Is DSL in Disguise

Qwest, our local phone company–the company that owns all of the phone lines in the city, ran this full page ad in the Oregonian. Qwest is eager to advertise their “Fiber-optic* fast connection speeds up to 20 Mbps.”

Qwest Ad for Fake Fiber

Qwest Ad from 3/26 Oregonian

What Qwest is less eager to advertise is the little asterisk on “fiber-optic” which leads to the fine print “Fiber-optics exist only from the neighborhood terminal to the Internet.” So, if you happen to live in the neighborhood node, this is a pretty great deal. Unfortunately, the node in my neighborhood is about 4 or 5 blocks away, and the size of a doghouse. Really, Qwest is selling plain old DSL, but they’ve moved the DSLAM (the device that creates the DSL signal on the phone line) into a box in your neighborhood, and connected it back to their office with fiber-optics. They could just as easily call their service “Ethernet fast connections,” because somewhere, far away from your home, they use Ethernet to connect equipment to the Internet.

Don’t be fooled by DSL service disguised as fiber-optics. The only truly fiber-optic service is one where the connection between your home or business all the way back to the data-center is fiber-optic. That is the only fiber service that will offer 1Gbps speeds. The best fiber service will also be open-access, allowing any service provider to compete to offer you the services you want. Qwest’s fake fiber doesn’t provide any of that, but open-access, community fiber would.

Qwest’s ad calls their service “100% fast. 50% off.” It would be more accurate to call it 50% fast, and 100% off. Qwest doesn’t offer fiber speeds or fiber service and they never will. That’s one reason Portland responded to Google’s Fiber for Communities RFI, and it’s one reason that we shouldn’t be content until we have a citywide, open-access, fiber to the home infrastructure.

Celebrate the Birth of the Portland Community Fiber Movement

Teresa Boze writes:

An invitation to the Beer and Blog and the Creative Community to celebrate wiki’s 15th Birthday, and PDXfiber’s 1Gb 1st.

“We changed the way the way software code was done world wide because I could”- Ward Cunningham, Wiki inventor.

The small miracle under Ward Cunningham’s desk that became wiki began 15 years ago. @BeerandBlog and the creative community are invited to help celebrate WikiBirthday 15 at AboutUs, and meet their very special guest, Mark Ivanov, co-founder of DavisWiki, “the world’s best civic wiki.”

In the spirit of open access, AboutUs invites the creative community and Beer and Blog to come on up and celebrate the #PDXFiber advent of 1GbFiber’s beginnings. Let’s be the city with the platform for the Killer App! “Everything wants to be connected.”- Sheldon Renan, Ubiquitous Netness

107 Southeast Washington Street
Portland, OR 97214

Friday, March 26th
After 6:15pm
entry after 6:15 if no one at the door, call:

For entry call:
503-488-5763 enter 5