How about that: Fiber Optics in the Homes
Coaxial Cable vs. Fiber Cable; DSL (and all its succeeding derivation technology) vs. Optical Fiber; Copper vs. Glass; this is the telecommunications battle often waged across the internet, and at present with no decided victor.
Yet, of those existing telecommunications technologies, it is clear that DSL had a substantial head start, with miles and miles of telephone lines already installed over most localities. These analog systems, as an internet access, however have a limited range, due to effects of attenuation over long distance, copper as an average medium, and its predisposition to distortion. DSL, particularly ASDL, SDSL and HDSL, are benchmarking internet speed access albeit short distances only.
That places fiber optics in a disadvantage. Fiber optic materials are very expensive due to the manufacturing it requires. Though plastic is a cheaper fiber optic material, it still cost comparatively higher than copper telephone lines. The manpower, such as digging trenches for the fiber optic cable (as telephone poles aren’t suited for fiber optic use) is costly, the acquiring of government permit to dig those trenches is also another added cost. In the end, the setting up cost couldn’t be justified if fiber optics in the homes is added for direct consumer internet access.
But that doesn’t change the fact that fiber optics is still the best telecommunications technology there is. It is a hundredfold superior than copper cables will ever be. Having significantly lesser attenuation makes it the best choice for long distance internet access, and its non susceptibility to crosstalk, interference, and temperature changes makes it the better choice for remote internet cable installation.
That’s why fiber optics most visible use is long distance telecommunications service, typically a continent to continent “peer-to-peer” handshake using the vast network of intercity and transoceanic optical fiber communications line. Among this intercontinental optical fiber line is the Submarine Communications Cable with the capacity of 2.56 terabit per second. Compare that magnitude with a conventional ASDL downstream which is 512 kilobits per second, and you’ll know the magnitude of the difference.
However, all’s gone to change soon. Numerous telecommunications projects have been mostly laying down optical fibers, even DSL internet providers. Yes, they are still from the telephone company like the “Baby Bells” (read The Verizon 100 Megabit Challenge at: www.newnetworks.com/tellthetruthverizon.htm), because telephone companies like Verizon saw the potential of fiber optics in business. Cable providers are also upping up cable service, like Comsat’s investment to put more glass pipes underground. And when Verizon will state that they will be bringing fiber optics in the homes right at the doorstep, anyone should listen, not only because Verizon is among the leaders of telecommunications, but these projects are too costly to demean with.