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Optical/IP

Last Mile Lexicon

The last mile, first mile, local loop, access network: Whatever you choose to call it, the meaning's the same -- that part of the telecom network that links users with broadband services.

And it's a crucial part. Today's optical networks may be big enough and fast enough to span the globe, but their ultimate worth will be gauged by how well they deliver the broadband goods to residential and business customers. Without subscribers, costly optical gear becomes a carrier liability, not an asset.

Unfortunately, the last mile is the most primitive portion of the telecom network. Sources estimate that fewer than 5 percent of all office buildings and homes in the U.S. have fiber connectivity. The majority of broadband customers are battling for bandwidth over old-fashioned copper-based PSTN and leased lines.

Getting these users up to optical speed is a key priority for vendors and service providers interested in staying profitable. The result is a rapidly changing landscape for business and residential access.

In this report, Light Reading sets out to describe this evolution in basic terms. First, we describe the present architecture used to deliver fiber-based broadband services to business customers. Then we talk about how this is changing and give our take on what tomorrow's business last mile will look like. We then do the same for the residential network.

To help things along, we've constructed a chart defining key elements of the access network and who makes them. And we've compiled a glossary to help readers stay on track. A list of vendor Websites is provided for easy lookups.

Read the report sequentially, or click on any of the pages hyperlinked below:

Business Fiber Today
Business Fiber Tomorrow
Residential Fiber Today
Residential Fiber Tomorrow
Last Mile Glossary
Vendor List
NOTE: We'll be treating the last mile chiefly as it applies to North America. Although there are similarities in Europe, different issues may apply.

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grmagic 12/4/2012 | 9:02:44 PM
re: Last Mile Lexicon This would have been done 10 years ago except for one minor problem. It's very, very expensive. I think to provide fiber to the home everywhere in the US would cost about $1T. That's trillion with a "T."
jzanthony 12/4/2012 | 7:16:02 PM
re: Last Mile Lexicon haven't seen this outragous proposal of mine..quite simple..EVERY bit of RBOC, ILEC whatever those clowns are calling themselves this week is paralled with alternate fibre utilities..say it loud and say it clear...NO MORE MA BELL..
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