Hunting Project Lightspeed

2:00 PM –- I'm no Crocodile Hunter, but I am nimble enough to catch a big hunk of metal, set in concrete, provided I skip my three-martini lunch.

And, following my latest piece on Lightspeed, some folks are curious as to how they can tell if AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s new U-verse services are coming to their neighborhood. For those readers, I offer a very general tutorial on hunting down Project Lightspeed:

1) Look for big beige cabinets. In this pic, we see a power pedestal, a digital loop carrier cabinet (in the middle), and a crossconnect box (on the left). That's really the outside plant tip-off that Lightspeed is on the way:

If you find a phone tech nice enough to open up a crossconnect box, you'll see it looks a lot like this:

I point this out because, if you're not sure of what you're looking at, you can always compare it to the larger box -- the digital loop carrier. The front end of that cabinet looks like this on the inside:

In the main part of the DLC cabinet (the side panels), you can see the actual DLCs -- like these voice and ADSL-enabled Litespan 2000's from Alcatel:

2) Keep your eyes peeled for new construction (fresh concrete, dead grass, etc.) and new cabinets, like this one:

The box above is an IP DSLAM cabinet which, when loaded up with gear, will house the Alcatel 7330. It may or may not be near a DLC cabinet. But it will always be somewhere near a crossconnect box, like this one:

Sometimes, for reasons unknown to me, these boxes aren't right next to one another. This DSLAM cabinet actually looks as if it has its back turned and is not talking to the crossconnect cabinet. Maybe they had a fight:

3) If you find a phone tech nice enough to open up the crossconnect box for you, look for a sign that shows each copper pair has been tested for Project Lightspeed:

4) If your hunt is successful, share your spoils. Take a photo, and email it to me for publication. And that's it. Now that you see what's in the field -- and what's being added in certain fiber-to-the-node neighborhood deployments -- it's time to get out there and start snapping. Happy hunting.

— Phil Harvey, Slow Game Editor, Light Reading

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