Telecommunications operator. 12 years of evolution

    This opus is free creativity on the topic of both our own (since 2002) experience in the provision of communication services (mainly Internet access), and the experience of many other companies from other cities and countries with which we have had occasion to communicate. Some of the events are fictional, some are not.

    Instead of a preface: the
    Internet has become an integral part of the life of a huge number of people in ex-USSR space. The level of computer literacy of the population over the past 10 years has grown significantly. This is largely due to the reduction in the cost of computer equipment, which allows you to have 2-3-4 computers at home and no one remains offended. However, entering the beloved Odnoklassniki, almost none of the people reflects on how it works, how it is provided, and few people know and remember how it all appeared ...

    2002. Dashing trouble began

    Man, did you decide that the future is beyond broadband !? In your hometown there is only a couple of companies that provides dial-up Internet. It is slow, uncomfortable (constantly busy phone) and expensive. But there is a technology that allows you to include people's computers in a single network and inside it give access to the Internet! With great speed! You are now practically unemployed with a lot of free time.

    You have internet at home. You set yourself a radio Internet and get crazy 128kbps. It costs a lot. Very expensive. In dollars. It’s good that they managed to barter these guys a couple of sites and give them an advertisement on the acquaintance channel.
    You conduct consumer research in your city. You print announcements in which you praise the benefits of new obscure things and paste them in different areas. Collecting statistics of appeals from different regions, it becomes clear where it is worth starting the construction of your “network”. You have the first applications.

    Having borrowed money from your girlfriend, you go to the neighboring regional center in a minibus and drive back, holding with your feet, a 300-meter bay of UTP cable. Copper. They don’t sell it in your city. There they managed to buy a “crimp” and “jacks”.
    Attracting a neighbor you connect the first two subscribers. Connection cost: 60 dollars. For $ 20 a month, you give them crazy 100 MB at a speed of 32 kbps. This is a lot, considering that the average page on the Internet weighs 40-60 KB. There are practically no audio compositions. Video? Do not make me laugh. In RuNet, there is practically nothing to do. Your subscribers also do not quite understand why they need it, but it is cool and fashionable.

    Billing for Windows 2000. "Billing" .... before, no one knew such a word. But this is almost a real billing that can do something. You have a website and there is a forum on it. Already not bad.

    2003. Who first got up - that and slippers

    Together with your neighbor, you crawl in the pigeon litter in the attics of the “five-roomed”, “nine” and “quadruple” and turn on new subscribers. Residents look at you with interest, ask a lot of questions, help solve problems and want to connect themselves. The chairmen of cooperative houses follow you with a request to connect to the Internet in their house. Out of the corner of your eye you start to notice strange people on the roofs with similar habits to you. You have competitors.
    Inclusions only from the roof. It’s just impossible to throw cables on the porch. All low-current channels are clogged with rubbish and cigarette butts back in the 80s. From the roof to the roof comes the same UTP cable, which is wound with a wire to the steel cable that you fasten between the houses. Of course the cable is frayed, roofers burn it with burners and trees fall on it. But you are not working the first day. You take two pieces of cable, a soldering iron and on the roof in severe frost - you solder the cable cores between each other. Your switches are scattered on the roof. The usual 5 and 8 port "shuriks", "harpsichords", "long". They are also not easy to buy and need to be ordered.

    Your network is growing little by little. You already have 200 subscribers. You begin to create a tariff grid. You enter bezlitny tariffs at speeds of 64 and 128kbit / s. You took a channel from a higher provider in 2Mbit! A penny starts to move. It is very inconvenient that your network is fragmented and located in different microdistricts that had to be connected by separate radio channels that converge to your provider. And this is also a cost.

    On the network, you begin to introduce some services. Internal video archive (a friend from the bazaar starts giving you CDs, movies from which you upload to your computer) , Counter Strike game server, static pages with flash games

    2004. Bad to be stupid

    It turns out that it is not necessary to solder the cable. Twisting is even nothing. The main thing is to wind well with electrical tape so that water does not flow. I managed to get a little military cable, "pawn". Thanks to him, it is possible to connect houses that stand at a distance of 150-200 meters from each other, which was previously impossible.

    That billing for Windows is starting to die, which was supposed to die even earlier, but miraculously reached 300 subscribers. You do not understand anything in Unix, therefore there is another billing for Windows, which you reluctantly buy for WebMoney that has recently appeared. Pay money for software ?! The mind is incomprehensible!

    You have two more employees. It's comfortable. You pay everyone $ 5 a day, and now they climb roofs and throw cables. You can finally sit in the little room you rented as an “office”, monitor the network (there are practically no monitoring tools yet) and accept payment from subscribers who simply bring money to you with their feet.

    New trend. Exchange magnet links. DC You are raising this service. Finally, subscribers can exchange files inside your network at high speed, and not "stack" your outgoing Internet channel, which, frankly, is not enough. But you simply don’t have money for more. You hold an action and offer subscribers to chip in to purchase new hard drives for the video archive. This is a lot, but many agree. Subscribers are gradually forming in the community. They gather for meetings, actively communicate in your forum. For most, the Internet is new. You get beer steadily.

    2005. The die is cast

    You take two loans from a bank and buy a new server and laptop. You will pay them all year, but it was worth it. You have an acute dislike of spring and autumn. Because thunderstorms. Because of thunderstorms (cable interference) , your switches burn out. They burn in dozens. And there’s often nowhere to get new ones for. As a result, some pieces of the network are idle for 5-7 days. Discontent of subscribers. It’s good, though competitors have the same trouble. It is much worse when the switch does not burn out, but begins to “flood” and drives network debris, clogging the communication channel. You can search for it for weeks.
    Many subscribers pay you for Internet “barter”. Someone gives you mobile recharge cards, someone jeans at the bazaar, someone some network equipment, and students are not averse to sticking or leaving cables in the summer. Somewhere near the ghost of communism flashes, where money is not needed for life.

    2006. Hedgehog - a proud bird

    Your friend ceases to communicate with you from the bazaar, which traded discs. His business is collapsing. The whole area is downloading movies from the Internet.
    Optics. New incomprehensible word. You buy a drum (1000 meters) of fiber optic cable and roll it from the delivery service to the trailer in the snow. Finally, you can connect your disparate pieces of the network together. Where it was impossible to connect the houses directly between each other (the length limit did not allow) - there, finally, you will put optics. Although the pleasure is not cheap, it also requires equipment.
    You have an accountant. It is required to somehow make ends meet in papers.

    2007. Sold - had fun

    Your network is growing and flourishing. Exchanged 1000 subscribers. You already have 10 people and 2-3 cars. Up to 20 new subscribers are included per day. You already know which months of the year are the most "fat", and when it will be "tight." You understand the structure of your income and expenses.
    You introduce new services on the network. Internet TV - two dozen channels that can be watched directly on the computer. Cool!
    You are already buying large quantities of new good equipment. Old switches are not thrown away, but will be carefully put to new points. You haven’t covered all the houses with your attention.
    New equipment appears on the market - for the radio Internet. It is interesting. You can cover remote areas. For starters, on the left channels and, of course, without permissions, you start a radio connection. Not bad at all, although new unknown features arise.

    2008. The farther into the forest, the thicker the partisans

    A major competitor appears in the city. He works all over the country, and now he has climbed into your city. New technologies. Everything is on optics. At the communication nodes only managed equipment. The worst is very low rates. Highly. What is the competitor? He has an almost unlimited incoming channel, and you have to channel (which is not enough)pay already 4 thousand dollars. But in conversations with subscribers, it becomes clear that they will not run away anywhere. They like it here. But new subscribers are connecting to the competitor, because people have more and more computers. These new subscribers ... they ... are not like that .... they don’t know what a network forum is, they don’t understand the pleasure of talking with other network subscribers, they haven’t made new friends at meetings .... For them, the Internet is simply a means of obtaining information, downloading music and essays.
    The chairmen of cooperative houses begin to squint at you. The competitor, it turns out, began to pay them money for rent or to give personally free Internet. Your " installation managers " are no longer given the keys to the roof. Everyone is starting to want money.

    2009. We were born to make a fairy tale come true

    You already have 25 people working. You have a whole system administrator and there is a round-the-clock person on the phone. You, in principle, can already do nothing and have a good time. But it does not work out yet. Much does not work on its own. Your loafers can walk one after another, double fray on the same repair and in that spirit. The organization is lame.
    In general, cadres are a disaster. You pay them 10 dollars a day. But who are they? Students on the summer holidays ... vocational school planner ... someone drills a hole for the cable in the wall and drops the plasma TV of the subscriber, someone catches the police for past merits. It seems that they drink brakes every day. The shortage of personnel. Yes, and nowhere they come from.
    You kick out your employee who steals. After all, subscribers continue to carry money to your office in cash.

    Competition. Like mushrooms after the rain. It seems that there is already no place under the sun, but everyone rushed into this business. With money. Well, the part will bend, so normal and without turning around.
    Theft is flourishing. Someone is stealing your switches. Actively. Homeless people cut copper cables. They burn them and melt copper. Previously, stealing switches did not make sense - there was nowhere to put them. And now there are many who wish. You are actively starting to buy boxes, because earlier your switches simply lay on the floor. True, the boxes also break.

    New era. Despite the fact that you just bought a new powerful server - your billing for Windows has died. Networking colleagues, listening to you, look up at the forehead - how did this billing live up to your number of subscribers. Your sys.admin puts FreeBSD and billing under it. You are slowly starting to learn Linux.

    2010. There is a roof, no mind

    Your first search. What do you want? Lenin bequeathed to share! Of course, this is a shock for you. Of course, you weren’t virgin law-abiding, but you were very frivolous about the possibility of arrivals.
    Further events are like in a nightmare. Although in general, everything looks good ... If you do not sober up. Criminal proceedings, seizure of equipment (everything is in one place for you - it was more convenient for you), more searches. Attempts to restore the network .... Competitors are not asleep, and while you are trying to do something, they switch 50-70 subscribers per day. YOUR subscribers. Finally, you “solve” your problems, but you are thrown back almost 2 years ago in development. It is sad. You expel almost all employees. No one has faith. But instead of stolen equipment and cut lines, you are setting a new one. It will work more reliably than the eight-year-old.
    Innovation - payment terminals. You can remove the endless stream of subscribers to the office who carry money. Remove risks. You conclude an agreement with the payment system and money begins to drip to your current account in the bank. It's nice, but there are nuances of taxation.

    2011. Fight and seek. Find and hide

    The subscribers are completely crazy. All reach for huge numbers in advertising. Everyone wants to have 100Mbps internet. What for? They do not understand that in 90% of them, all bottlenecks will not allow them to accept more than 50 Mbps, which they also do not need. To download a movie? Not in 5 minutes, but in 2? The current average subscriber demand on the Internet does not exceed 5-7 Mbit / s, but marketing is such marketing ....

    The innovation is to reach the rooftops, you see, not comme il faut. We leave from the roofs to the cellars. Previously, they fought off bats in the attics - now from rats and clouds of fleas and mosquitoes. It is already possible to solve something with the rental of underground cable channels. At the porches, you begin to drill ceilings and put up risers. Of course, not everywhere this goes smoothly. And with the axes they chase your guys and let the dogs go. “You bullied with your Internet! Who needs it ?! ”declare the residents. They hang new locks and do not give keys. Do not let in the porches. You have many competitors whose employees are several times worse than yours. Residents do not care - they only see a mess, garbage, mate and neighing.

    Private sector. All these huge areas of one-story buildings, to which no one ever cared. But today, when there are 7 providers on each multi-storey building, everyone is starting to try to make money in the wild. There are much higher construction costs, but also higher average income per subscriber. Yes, and paying a relatively high price for inclusion - the subscriber is unlikely to switch somewhere.
    On some rooftops in the nooks your employees find someone's old switches. The memory of competitors who have not been there for several years. Surprisingly, these switches still work. They are powered by the left paths to electricity and out of them are idle subscriber cables.

    2012. Adventure Continues

    Ten years. Damn it, man - you launched this network ten years ago! Having covered the clearing, in the team you recall the past, share professional secrets with beginners, make plans. There were so many unique cases that you won’t pull on your head. Having removed the night club, you call all the subscribers and have a party. Many old acquaintances come. This is one of the first subscribers. You are slightly drunk, happy and feel that this is the family.

    2014. Epilogue

    You have done a lot and understood a lot. You know how much in this life. You know the price of friendship, betrayal and human meanness. Sometimes you smile, remembering your beginnings, mistakes, achievements. You know everyone you need, everyone knows you. Your company already has more than one office. You spread your nets over a vast territory. Every day, tens of thousands of subscribers including a computer and going into another reality do not suspect that it is you and those like you who made the information breakthrough in your country.
    Highly qualified specialists work for you. Someone you raised and selected yourself, someone attracted from the side. In your company, for the most part, modern and reliable equipment is used. Several enterprises have been opened, between which subscribers, cash flows and responsibilities are spaced. Where is the "core" - your server - knows only a few proxies. Something is distributed, something is buried, something is where no one can find. Do you remember the lessons and are always ready for new searches and arrivals. The word "diversification" is not an empty phrase for you. You survived and move forward with your head held high.

    Instead of an afterword:
    In 2007, we started developing software primarily for ourselves, as a huge number of processes were not taken into account and was carried out “on leaflets”. Already in 2008, we started selling these products to other telecom operators. We are currently working with hundreds of operators in seven countries. A huge amount of interesting experience and useful information flocks to us. This is a real storehouse of concentrated knowledge that we accumulate and share with our customers. Some of them can be combined and laid out on Habré.

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