So why don't US citizens get this?

Jack Bates jbates at
Mon Jul 28 14:37:24 UTC 2008

michael.dillon at wrote:
> FTTC is far more interesting that FTTH, because it is not just a
> technology buzzword driven idea, but one based on economics. It is
> cheaper to rollout a nice high bandwidth fiber link to most
> neighborhoods than to use that fat bundle of copper pairs. But, on the
> other hand, it is cheaper to leave that last quarter-mile intact and
> only build out fiber where new development is being done. 
It is cheaper to bore fiber and attach more remote systems than to use the 
already existing copper? I'm curious how you come up with those economics. 
(seriously, that wasn't sarcasm)

> So the real question that is much more interesting is as follows:
> Does the US lag the world in high-speed fiber to the cabinet (FTTC)?

Good question. I'd say my little backwoods part of the world is roughly 10% 
FTTC, probably less.

> Don't let the copper thieves know where you live. They might show up one
> nice Sunday morning bright and early to clean out the county's copper
> wire. When I lived in British Columbia, Canada in teh 90's, I noticed
> that our incumbent telco was well ahead of the game. They were putting
> up fiber everywhere and then following up by cutting the fat copper
> cables into sections for recovery of the metal. They even ran fibre into
> remote valleys were there were only a few dozen families and it was
> probably economically worthwhile because they recovered a higher dollar
> value of copper from those remote locations.

Yeah, mom was a little aggravated that she lost her connectivity in the valley 
out in El Salvador because one weekend thieves stole the entire stretch of 
copper down the mountain off the poles.

>> Still I beleve is interesting to analyze why the US is 
>> lagging behind on high speed services.
> Analysis paralysis perhaps? AKA bipartisan politics.

I have a high speed cable competitor here in town. They love sucking up the 
competitive profits in town. Of course, our plant footprint by law is about 20 
times theirs. They weren't required to service pop and his cows 20 miles out 
where you'll never catch up on costs. Estimated population is roughly 5-6k. I've 
heard similar issues with CLEC's in small population areas. They suck up the 
profitable areas, and stay out of the areas where you will *never* recover your 
money. This was the whole point of regulation to begin with in my opinion; to 
ensure that every household had a phone line, even if it lost money.

Of course, who cares about the rural areas. They always get the fallout from 
regulation changes made with the big cities in mind. If the want fiber to every 
home, they'll either have to up their incentives or remove the competition to 
average out profits. Forcing competition to the same requirements as the 
incumbent should effectively kill them off in the rural exchanges and keep them 
in the big cities. The last I checked, NTT didn't have to compete for their high 
profit areas while losing money on the fringes (I presume Japan still has SOME 
rural areas?).


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