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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Saturday, October 11, 2003

 

"Fiber to the curb" is a misnomer

"Fiber to the curb" is one of the great examples of marketing "spin". Ask folks what they think it means, and most will tell you it must mean fiber to the curb in front of their house (or perhaps their immediate neighbor's house) and a copper drop into the house of perhaps 50 or 100 feet.

They're wrong. More often it's one fiber link shared by several dozen homes served with 500' copper runs. A recent pro-FTTC propaganda piece from FTTC supplier Marconi (and written for a telco audience) proposes taking the fiber and bandwidth rationing even further:

"The 'Modified POTS only' model is depicted in Figure 2 and has also been deployed as an even better economic solution for FTTC deployment. In this model, every other ONU is populated with electronics, and each ONU [Optical Network Unit] turned up supports twice as many living units, or 14.4 in this example. Under this scenario, all ONUs are placed, while every other ONU is turned up. The FTTC system supports POTS delivery at distances up to 1500 feet from the ONU.  Thus, for narrowband service delivery, populating every other ONU is a feasible option.  As enhanced services are desired, all ONUs are energized so that broadband services may be delivered over the 500 feet of copper without requiring advanced, or any, modulation techniques, such as Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL)."

Marconi likes to sell FTTC units, so their example shows an ONU serving 14 homes but there's nothing to stop BellSouth from serving many, many more out with the same ONU within that 1400 foot radius.

In other words, if BellSouth gets its' way and uses this model, they eliminate their competition while getting a free ride to stick with copper and POTS (plain old telephone service). They don't even have to offer DSL ("maybe POTS without competition will keep folks paying for second line for their modem"), let alone advanced video services until they choose to at some point in the indefinite future.

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