Broadband internet by horse


Fred, a Belgian draft horse, working with line crews to attach a fiber optic cable to a utility pole in East Burke, Vermont, on June 24, 2011. Fairpoint Communication hires Claude Desmarais and his horse Fred to pull fiber optic cable through difficult terrain in a effort to bring high speed internet to all of Vermont by 2013. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)




  1. fucking Vermonters, how do they work?
    seriously. living about twenty miles south of Vermont, it is a pretty great State.

    1. 2nd’ed, vermont is awesome, i live about 45 miles south of VT, Springfield, MA area, it’s nice but nothing compared to Southern VT

    2. How do we work? Very carefully. Seriously, I’m a tech worker in VT, and I telecommute. It’s a giant pain to try and get reliable broadband in unserved areas. Fairpoint _just_ made DSL available in my area, and it’s a huge relief to have fast reliable broadband. I was on “wireless to the house” for a while, and it was awful. Before that? Satellite. Seriously. I’m 5 miles from a decent sized town/city, so it’s not like I’m in the middle of a thousand acres of forest. If you’re moving to the state, make sure you check broadband options before you pick a house.

  2. oooops.

    mind, should have been comment #4 and man, #5

    state, of, mind, man.
    fully failed vermont stoner reference

    1. @dondi… yep, massive communication fail pretty much sums up Vermont. We had a fiber-to-door project (ECFiberNet) that was killed in favor of more copper and slow wireless, and ultimately culminated in Verizon scoring state $ to pull fiber. Even in the smallest states, corporate interests trump grassroots people-driven efforts every time. Vermont gets a lot of things right, but don’t kid yourself thinking we are THAT different from the rest of the USA.

  3. I love these photos. It’s probably because I love horses. Agreed, that is one well cared for healthy looking horse! Horses + technology = AWESOME.

  4. Something tells me that horse is installing internet that’s 80x faster than my diesel truck-installed internet in San Francisco…

    Maybe the involvement of farm animals is the solution to America’s slow internet problem.

  5. Interesting Post. It looking great that horse is helping them.Horse are also looking great and healthy.

  6. I don’t see what the nationality of the horse has to do with it. Belgian horses are just as capable of pulling fiber as horses of any other nation.


  7. Lovely horse

    Now I’m going to hoof it before the neigh sayers get here.

    sorry. So very sorry.

  8. Very cool, but I’m slightly disappointed the punchline to this story wasn’t “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a Belgian draft horse fully laden with USB thumbdrives.”

  9. if you allow a bit of conspiracy theory here, why the big rush to put us all on the internet? Could it be the modems are more than just that. Is there monitoring going on that lets the powers to be really see what we are all doing? If the companies that sell the service can see your device in order to do a reset of the device, what’s the next step?

    Just curious.

  10. I worry sometimes about the day when we throw out everything not mechanized. (Also sometimes thought of as “the Singularity”). At work I pointedly show all our co-op students how we did things in the old days so the rudimentary knowledge will not perish from the earth.

    While this song below has no horses in it, it does have cables; it is also a holiday weekend up here in Canada + seems to cast the mind wistfully back to the formative days of yore.

    Somehow the two come together in mind today while reading your post; Perhaps this ability to leap in logic will keep us ahead of the machines.

  11. This is like a scene out of Firefly, the low-tech meets high-tech aspect of it all.

    Fred’s mane makes me want to pick up some blonde Belgian ales on the way home from work.

    1. That’s a truely swell idea. I hope my local brewry has some blonde available for growlers tonight. Tasty!

  12. This kind of horse was once the most important export of Flanders. As recently as 1950 there were 200.000 of them in Belgium alone, now there’s about 2000 left and they’re nearly endangered. It’s heartening to see they are still being put to good use somewhere.

    1. Whilst I’m glad you didn’t trot out the usual pleasantries I’m somewhat perturbed that the usual crowd hasn’t bridled my language and jockeyed for position to point out the faults in my argument, which, it goes without saying, I would have tackled at a canter.

    2. interesting point Forkboy – there was a Czech movie (trilogy actually) made in the 50s about the Jan Zizka and the Hussite revolution.. For one fairly small battle scene – in which involved 2000 cavalry – they scoured the whole country and only managed to get 500 horses.

      Those Belgians are strong ones too – I went on a sleigh ride last year in Ontario the sleigh which must have weighed at least 500 lbs and seated 18 people was pulled by two Belgians.. King weighing 1500 pounds and Daisy around 1000lbs. Some of it uphill too.


  13. This just in: while plowing field, draft horse severs underground wire, cutting off internet for all of America.

  14. Отолично!=) мне очень нравится! russian =)

  15. I’m somehow reminded of “Horses in the Starship Hold” by Brian Aldiss.

  16. I love the look on Fred’s face in the first pic…he’s all like “whatchu lookin at, you never seen a horse doin’ his job before?”

  17. Wow. So Fairpoint can get fiber-optics strung to mountainous areas of Vermont, but Verizon still can’t run fiber-optics in my neighborhood located within a city?

  18. Seriously folks, FairPoint is expanding DSL to Vermont and we are pretending this is great??? Congratulations FairPoint, you are now where much of the country was 10 years ago. The fiber-optics is for the pass, not for residents and businesses to tap into.

    The state of Vermont has missed big opportunities to expand real broadband and is instead helping FairPoint to pretend they are meeting the needs of communities. What a joke.

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