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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:51 pm 
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Lamma-Gung wrote:

They also complain that the Marine Dept rules make it very difficult to build a cable across East Lamma Channel.

....

That's true, though it really highlights the biggest single problem we have, which is the backhaul, ie, the subsea cable link. If we can have big fat pipes built to all of the islands, then we could use WiFi and LTE from multiple service providers and not have to wait years for PCCW's fibre. Right now those subsea links are too slender to support large number of high-speed broadband users, but fixing them seems to be the fastest solution.


For God's sake, HKE already has at least one tunnel.

Why the hell can't PCCW or preferably someone else pay a fee to string some fibre through it?

We're told that there are already links for HKE's own operations. Fibre cables are tiny compared to the massive electric cables.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:32 pm 
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We asked the PCCW guys the same question. They evaded the question.

There are 3 separate undersea electricity tunnels from Lamma to HK Island, built by HK Electric, large enough to walk through, but for their own communications ONLY. I've tried - unsuccessfully so far - to get in there for a photo shoot.

Basically, it seems that Hutchison Telecom/HK Electric can't collaborate well enough with the other part (2 sons/rivals) of the Li Ka-shing empire, Richard Li's HKT/PCCW/Netvigator/NOW TV part. That's why using the cable tunnels for public broadband/fibre seems a non-starter for every insider I talked to. But I might be wrong...

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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:01 pm 
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I thought there are not any tunnels across the strait; just cable laid on the sea bottom. Could not find any such info on the Internet. Actually, HKE map shows existing cable tunnels - no tunnel under the sea.

https://www.hkelectric.com/en/MediaReso ... nts/CT.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:49 pm 
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rambler wrote:
I thought there are not any tunnels across the strait; just cable laid on the sea bottom. Could not find any such info on the Internet. Actually, HKE map shows existing cable tunnels - no tunnel under the sea.


May not be "tunnels" as under the sea floor. Probably dug a channel and put a tube in and covered it over to protect it from anchor chains and whatnot.

Anyway, L-G said you can walk through them. A fibre cable is as thick as a thumb. Just send a guy through the tunnel with a spool and we could have massive back end bandwidth in a week. If they wanted to.

Possibly it's some bullshit regulation that is the sticking point. If the politicians get involved they could get that waived. Though I think PCCW is quite happy squeezing blood out of us with no investment necessary given most of us have no alternative and pay more for 1-2 MB/s than the rest of HK pays for 100.

Anyway, we have a huge water main pipe from Hong Kong. We have several massive electric cables.
Why is it so difficult to lay a couple of km of fibre? The oceans are criss-crossed by thousands of km of them.
International fibre cables already run all over the seabeds around here.

Maybe I'm completely on the wrong track and it isn't as easy as that. But the bullshit and evasion from PCCW and Hutchison on the subject only leads me to speculate and assume the problem is their greed and not a technical issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:17 pm 
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That would be great if there were walkable tunnels or tunnel to HK but I still doubt that. Not sure how many cable routes are there. I talked to a person involved in the construction of the first link i.e. the one with the very steep descend from the Wind Turbine area. Certainly this cable was not in the tunnel.
The other one along the YSW bay to Pak Kok and further to HK is on the note below. The technology was simultaneous trenching and direct laying. This is just a notification of the project. Could be that the design/method was changed. I could not find any more information.

http://www.gld.gov.hk/egazette/pdf/2001 ... 405983.pdf

http://www.gld.gov.hk/egazette/pdf/2001 ... 405983.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:30 pm 
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rambler wrote:
That would be great if there were walkable tunnels or tunnel to HK but I still doubt that.


On reflection, I think you may be right.

Whoever told LG there was such a tunnel was probably thinking of the tunnels through the hills on HK side.
An underwater walkable tunnel would cost a lot more than just sealed cables.

However, HKE does have a fibre link and HGC did lay a fibre network around Yung Shue Wan and down the coast to Sok Kwu Wan, so they must have had a back end planned. Maybe using spare capacity from HKE that corporate politics blocked.
So whether there is a tunnel or not, getting HKE to the party probably is the only hope for real broadband here this decade.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:19 am 
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Quite a few new developments about Lamma Internet in the new and very active Islands Broadband Concern Group 離島寬頻關注小組:

- The co. who actually built the HGC fibre network on Lamma (Top Express) is doing tests soon with a cross-Lamma Channel radio link (see details in group above). Home users potentially in a few years, perhaps.
According to 3, the only location on Lamma currently available on their HGC broadband fibre network is 3-4 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, the building just to the right (see map below) of the middle SKW ferry pier. Checking it out soon...

- PCCW is working on Vectoring Provision for their existing Lamma/Outlying Islands broadband network, according to multiple media reports and internal sources. Double-digit broadband speeds would become possible. Tests could start next year, but might cost at least $5K per home to install.

- A startup might be testing new cross-Lamma channel microwave links next year. Commercial service for end-users in the future, maybe.

In the meantime, I spent much of Saturday afternoon with senior guys in 3 telcos about how to get faster, affordable Internet on Lamma.
Short answer: Any more than the enforced data cap of your mobile plan costs you a lot of extra cash and often has severe speed restrictions (0.1-0.4 Mbps), no Wifi/1 mobile-only, and needs one extra (sometimes several temporary) SIM card(s) in a 2nd mobile phone.
If you're willing and capable to pay a lot more for faster Internet ($500+/month), there are a number of restrictive options from various telco providers.

So I'll have to live with my strict 5+1GB data cap a while longer, at $248.

This means no large up/downloads for me during the day, just at night, via unlimited data on our standard 3Mbps Netvigator broadband ($218). But during the day for everything else, my Wifi hotspot on 4G connection flies. See Speedtest below while typing this post. So I'm currently one of the rare, temporarily quite happy Internet users on Lamma.

We'll be staying here with our great 4G reception and stable PCCW Broadband for at least another 2 years, and then we'll reevaluate. Maybe there'll be other Internet options by then, but I won't hold my breath.
When you're looking at moving flats, always test the 3/4G speed inside the flats, varies from none to great even within the same village house!

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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:25 pm 
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I still miss my former IPTV, 396 worldwide channels for $100/month, 1st year free. Mainland China cut it off.

Here's a little info (plus my impressions from the recent PCCW senior techie meeting) from the friendly guy who just installed our NOW TV, special pack for Lamma Island customers, $174 for minimum 2 Channel Packs.

Vectoring Provision for Lamma:
Ca. 30Mbps for Lamma's future vDSL, no fibre, same copper cables and existing microwave link (with new hardware) on top of Po Wah Yuen, but expensive new modems and probably higher cost/month.
No schedule known or announced to the engineers yet, probably stuck at the higher levels and in the marketing of PCCW. Maybe next year, but their finance people might kill the idea as "unprofitable".

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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:17 pm 
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Dismayed to find out today that the evil PCCW charge 700$ for a new account set up, on top of the obviously overpriced 298/month. :-(

thinking of not even getting internet now ......

What a load of BS!


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:42 pm 
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gfunk wrote:
Dismayed to find out today that the evil PCCW charge 700$ for a new account set up, on top of the obviously overpriced 298/month. :-(


When there was competition, they waived the installation fee, they discounted the monthly fee. Now they squeeze every last cent out of us.

For a DSL line, as long as there is a phone line installed, all you need to do is plug the filter splitter into the wall socket and then plug your modem into that.
All they actually need to do is activate the account on their server, maybe also at the local exchange.

My first account was with Sony, who gave the choice of DIY for free or pay for a technician to call. I took the free option, they posted a box to me and I did it myself in half an hour, most of that spent tidying up the phone lines.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:54 am 
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For those few that have been back and forth on this, based on the article provided where a community in Washington created their own high-speed internet option I am trying to get some information together about how we might do such and the relevant issues in ensuring the proper speeds and bandwidth...

I don't want to use the Islands Broadband Concern Group without permission but was wondering if, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, with whom do I contact to see if we can work together on this?


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:31 am 
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Quote:
All they actually need to do is activate the account on their server


Arrgggh. They are so annoying. What about Smart tone? I tried them when in lived on ground floor in tai peng towards pak kok but it was terrible and had to cancel it. Now I live further up in Tai Peng, just behind the house with the what appear to be lots of telecommunications dishes etc so I was wondering if Smart Tone would be viable once again.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:19 am 
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I'm at 138 Tai Peng.
I know that China Mobile doesn't work at all around here.
There is a cell tower on the roof of 129, a few yards away, but I don't know who it belongs to. They don't put any signs on it, probably to prevent being asked for compensation by those who believe it gives them cancer.

Unlike other countries where cell towers are a matter of public record, here TELA considers it confidential. Even though anyone can see them and if you have the right gear you can read their callsigns -- I've been looking for something that works on a smartphone, but so far only find things that tell you about the cell you are connected to.

There are tower mapping sites but the info they give for local areas is obviously wrong.

If you still have the modem you used for SmarTone you might get more info from that, I had a friend with that for a while and when setting it up the router showed a bunch of available signals and their strength.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:02 pm 
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Ah cool info thanks Alan. Will try giving Smart tone a call later and see what they have to say!


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:15 pm 
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if you have an iphone you can enter field test mode to get a more accurate reading of signal strength and details for nearby cells:

Go to the phone umber screen and "dial"
Code:
*3001#12345#*
and hit call. "Serving Cell Measurements" will show you the RSSI for the cell your connected to. (Neighbour Measurements will show the cells around you). Only for the network of the SIM you're using mind. (RSSIs are negative - values closer to 0 indicate a stronger signal)

There are similar programs for Android I dare say.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:59 pm 
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jamie wrote:
more accurate reading of signal strength and details for nearby cells:
...
Only for the network of the SIM you're using mind.


I already know what my network signal is: zero.
What I want to know what the other network strengths are, before I change.

I can see all the wifi routers in range, their names and strength, that's what I want for phone networks.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:00 am 
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There must be an app for that?

Many people would love that!

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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:27 am 
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Lamma-Gung wrote:
There must be an app for that?
Many people would love that!


I have been looking, asked on an Android forum a few weeks ago; nothing except apps that tell you how strong your own network is (redundant); apps that use a crowd-sourced map (wildly inaccurate).

The phone obviously can receive all these signals, it can't connect to a cell without the right SIM,(except to make a 999 call -- you can use any cell to do that) but it can read the ID and strength. But no sign of an app to expose this information.


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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:39 pm 
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Let me ask around with some experts...

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 Post subject: Re: Broadband Internet
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:18 am 
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Not successful in finding a solution for checking OTHER service providers' signal strength from your mobile phone.

Anybody got a solution?

In the meantime, I'll continue to use my 3 mobile hotspot for my home office PC, see below right now.
But down the road, it's Emergency Calls Only on 3 and other networks, no data at all, just standard broadband.

My speeds are fine and fast for regular home office work, but after 6GB/month data cap, it's nighttime up/downloads via 3Mbps PCCW Broadband...

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