Muni Fiber (was: Re: last mile, regulatory incentives, etc)

Ray Soucy rps at
Tue Mar 27 08:41:26 CDT 2012

Ignoring the fact that we haven't reached our limits with fiber yet ...

If you're talking broadband, I think it's pretty reasonable to suggest that
a fiber plant will last 20 years with minor maintenance just given the
history of how long we've used copper.

When its 2012 and you have people who are still on DSL with 768K
"broadband", it's nice to toss around the theory that technology moves fast
and that 20 years from now everyone will have Terabit to the home over
wireless, but I really don't see it.  Back in the 90s I was sure everyone
would have 100M to the home by now.

The next major speed boost for broadband will be over fiber.  And because
the bottleneck at that point becomes equipment, we'll continue to see a
healthy round of upgrades in speed over the same fiber plant.

If people got serious about FTTH, I think a _very_ optimistic timeline
would be something like:

2015 - First communities coming online, 100M to the home (probably Gigabit
line rate, but throttled).
2020 - Gigabit to the home starting to become common
2030 - Gigabit to the home "typical"
2035 - 10G to the home starting to become common
2040 - Newer optics require better fiber for back haul, minor upgrades to
middle-mile needed to push speeds.
2050 - People finally agree to invest in those upgrades after "suffering"
10 years of "only" 10G to the home.

On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 8:45 PM, William Herrin <bill at> wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 8:04 PM, Jacob Broussard
> <shadowedstrangerlists at> wrote:
> > Who knows what technology will be like in 5-10 years?  That's the whole
> > point of what he was trying to say.  Maybe wireless carriers will use
> > visible wavelength lasers to recievers on top of customer's houses for
> all
> > we know.  10 years is a LONG time for tech, and anything can happen.
> Hi Jacob,
> The scientists doing the basic research now know. It's referred to as
> the "technology pipeline." When someone says, "that's in the pipeline"
> they mean that the basic science has been discovered to make something
> possible and now engineers are in the process of figuring out how to
> make it _viable_. The pipeline tends to be 5 to 10 years long, so
> basic science researchers are making the discoveries *now* which will
> be reflected in deployed technologies 10 years from now.
> There is *nothing* promising in the pipeline for wireless tech that
> has any real chance of leading to a wide scale replacement for fiber
> optic cable. *Nothing.* Which means that in 10 years, wireless will be
> better, faster and cheaper but it won't have made significant inroads
> replacing fiber to the home and business.
> 20 years is a long time. 10 years, not so much. Even for the long
> times, we can find the future by examining the past. The duration of
> use of the predecessor technology (twisted pair) was about 50 years
> ubiquitously deployed to homes. From that we can make an educated
> guess about the current one (fiber). Fiber to the home started about
> 10 years ago leaving about 40 more before something better might
> replace it.
> Regards,
> Bill Herrin
> --
> William D. Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
> 3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <>
> Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

Ray Soucy

Epic Communications Specialist

Phone: +1 (207) 561-3526

Networkmaine, a Unit of the University of Maine System

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