Cambridge Bandwidth Consortium FAQ
net-access for the clued since 2001
What is the CBC?

The CBC (Cambridge Bandwidth Consortium) is a 501(c)12 corporation, a "Nonprofit, rural telco". We were started by a group of networking experts in the Boston area with the goal of providing more flexible internet access to the clued. As a co-op, we are self supporting - we don't have a formal support organization.

While our original focus was providing service via T1 circuits, we are now primarily offering IP (v4 and v6) tunnels and some colocation services.

What can I use my CBC connection for?

As far as "commercial" use goes, we want to avoid competing with the organizations that have made the CBC possible. Our policy is if you want to sell some hosting, or do small scale cost-recovery stuff with your connection, that's fine. If you use it to telecommute, that's no big deal. If you're getting this strictly for commercial gain, then that's not what we're here for.

More to the point, this is a community effort, and as such we don't offer anything by way of SLA's, or any specific support. People have been pretty good about donating their time to the cause and helping other people out, and there have been various "help the community" types of projects that have gone on. Someone losing money because a line is down won't be a motivating factor for other people to rush to help out. It's very much a volunteer effort, and has a (lack of) SLA that's appropriate for that.

As we grow, and have better resources we're constantly looking for ways to make our service more solid, flexible and reliable. We still don't want to do commercial lines. It's outside of our focus.

While we don't have a formal Terms of Service document, we'd expect you to follow common sense rules such as don't spam or allow your network to be a source of network abuse.

So, how do I support myself?

We have a mailing list that we use for discussing issues. You can get at least read-only access to our core router and escorted colo access is available.

Can someone help me configure my equipment?

Sure, no problem. Even better, we'll teach you how to get it up and running. Configure a person's router, and they'll route for a day. Teach them to "write mem" and they'll run forever. :)

Other Technical Tidbits

Our default IPv4 network allocation is a /28 (16 addresses) at the moment. As our available pool increases, we might be able to offer /27's (32 addresses). We also provide IPv6 netblocks upon request for both colocation and tunnel members.

We're happy to announce and route your portable/legacy/swamp netblock, should you be so fortunate as to have one. We do request that you make some portion of it available to the rest of the co-op, if that's possible.

Other Co-Op issues

Though the CBC is incorporated as a non-profit, we are allowed to hold money towards incurred and to-be-incurred expenses. We are not out to run a profit, but we do aim to eventually have enough of a buffer to be able to pay things easily, as well as having enough "income" to be able to allow us to pay off our start-up debt, grow and add more services and bandwidth, upgrade core infrastructure, and keep the CBC hardware on maintenance contracts.

Similarly, since it's a volunteer effort, we encourage contributions. There are a lot of little tasks/things that need to be done here and there, and extra resources is a good thing. People have contributed time, equipment, netblocks, knowledge and money towards getting us off the ground. That's what got us going and keeps us rolling.

What would we like people to contribute? We could some coding to help us manage the business side of the Co-op. We can always use help getting new members up and running, and answering questions once they're installed. We might be able to use some help with accounting (handling A/P and A/R).

What do I need to get started?

If you are colocation equipment, you'll want to make sure it can be rack mounted and handle 208vac (our colo provider does not provide 120vac). For a tunnel, you'll want to make sure you can terminate a GRE and/or 6in4 tunnel.

Other Random Tidbits

The CBC has some colocation space but it is currently full. We'll update the colo page when we have space free up. More information is available on the colo page.

How many people are in the CBC?

As of early 2017 we have around 20 members. More is always better.

How good is the bandwidth?

Getting better all the time. We now have dual upstream providers and better connectivity than we've ever had.