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Networking Communications

Fiber Optic vs Copper 234

pcnetworx1 writes "Recently companies, such as Verizon with their FIOS service, have begun to migrate from legacy copper to fiber optics. Corning (admittedly one of the largest fiber optic cable makers) is running an article which explains why it is actually cheaper to go for the fiber optics."
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Fiber Optic vs Copper

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  • why it is cheaper. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @06:24AM (#14019473)
    laying fiber is 10x more expensive than copper.

    But fiber carries hundreds to thousands more channels of data than copper.

    that's why it's cheaper.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2005 @06:32AM (#14019491)
      Yes, in the long run it is really worth it to build fiber infrastructure. Companies like Surewest [] are investing for the future, and will play a big role in competing with the telcos and cable companies. I am lucky enough to live in an area where Surewest offers service, and they have 10Mbps and 20Mbps bi-directional packages available. I know it is nothing compared to the service you can get in other countries, but to have that big of a pipe to the Internet in Northern California is damned good. Surewest equipment is full 100Mbps, and can scale to 1Gbps [] without much upgrading (relatively).
    • by Melkman ( 82959 )
      Yeah, but they say its cheaper on the premises. Which it won't be until standard business PC's include an optical ethernet connector as they do copper ethernet connectors now. The cost of installing the extra interface card PC's is just too high, 1000BaseSX cards still cost more than a complete office PC, which today include a 1000BaseT NIC as standard. Also ethernet switches with all fiber interfaces are magnitudes more expensive than copper stuff. Conclusion: fiber at the premises is only the way to go if
    • by Hymer ( 856453 )
      10x more expensive ?? Why are they then using single mode fiber where multi mode would be enough (single mode is more expensive than multi mode) ?
      I do not really buy the 10x more expensive argument... glass (even flawless) is cheaper pr. kg than copper... and btw. you can multiplex a signal on a copper wire too...
      Where I live the most expensive part of laying anything in the ground is the digging.
      There is one factor that in fact makes fiber cheaper than copper: glass is corrosion-free and will last forever.
    • Do the math (Score:3, Interesting)

      by postbigbang ( 761081 )
      If you put in 62/125 micron fiber in 1985, you'd still be using it.

      But if you installed Cat3, then you yanked it and went to TSB Cat 5. Now they're goading us into Cat 6, and extended variants.

      It's true that 20 years ago, one used bizarre jigs to terminate fiber, but those days are long gone. Optical TDR test equipment had dropped like a rock, and you can get unbelievably cool handheld and laptop-based diagnostic equipment these days for fiber.

      And the cost to do fiber has dropped amazingly, too.

      Fiber has al
      • But if you installed Cat3, then you yanked it and went to TSB Cat 5. Now they're goading us into Cat 6, and extended variants.

        By the book, yes. However, practical experiance is that these demands don't make much difference in practice. I've seen fast Enet work just fine on cat3 and I've seen 2 fastE connections work over a single cat5. I've never seen a GigE connection that actually needed cat5e or cat6. It's usually the expensive cutting edge 1st generation hardware that is so picky. The dirt cheap 2nd

    • Why do you say that it is 10x more expensive? The install costs are roughly:
      • digging. (same cost)
      • Amplifiers ; fibers amp is cheap and fewer are needed due to their ability to go longer distance.
      • buying the media (copper/fiber). copper is cheaper, but this represents a small costs.
      • connectors; copper is cheaper to do.

      In addition, during the lifetime, fiber requires less power, and due to fewer amps it has fewer points of failure. Of course, a break in the line is more expensive.

      So 10x? I don't think so.

    • I have to wonder why it's more expensive to lay down fiber when you're basically doing the same things: Dig a trench, lay fiber down, add terminators, connect, cover back up. It's almost the exact same thing as laying copper. Why is it more expensive?
  • they basically said that for extremely high bandwidth or long range applications, fiber is the way to go. this is news? i've known this since I started networking (late '90s) and it was common knowledge well before then.
  • network security (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @06:33AM (#14019494)
    Fiber is a step above copper with respect to infrastructure security. While this doesn't have implications for everyone plenty of businesses and government agencies require that level of security.
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @06:56AM (#14019543) Journal
      It's not really that different. If somebody wants to wiretap your home's or business's Internet connection by climbing telephone poles or popping manhole covers, the fact that the connection is fiber just means they need to bring some splicing hardware instead of copper alligator clips, and have a co-conspirator / getaway-driver with you to explain why your fake phone company truck is working at Midnight ("because that way it won't interfere with our customer's business", which is true for real repair people as well as wiretappers.) It's a bit more of a skilled job, but it's not the easiest place to attack most businesses anyway. More typically, you're an insider, but if you're an outsider, you want to crack into the victim's firewall over the Internet, or email them trojan horses, or if you *must* do hardware, you want to get into their phone closet where they've got the yellow sticky with the router password. But it's probably an inside job.
      • You also forgot that because of the EM field generated by copper it's signal can be read from several feet away, where as fiber doesn't have this problem. The exact distance depends on several variables including, but not limited to the following, What kind of network is going through the copper, how many pairs in the bundle, weather it is shielded or not, etc...

        So this means it is easier to detect a wiretap on a fiber network then on a copper one, because you have to splice the fiber, where as you can jus
      • note to self - remove the yellow sticky next to the router in the wiring closet.
      • You'd be surprised how involved dealing with fiber is. The thing about fiber is there's no way to easily tap a line without interrupting service for more than a few minutes. You basically have to cut the line, pull the PVC jacket and buffer (typically Kevlar strands) back, and strip enough of the cladding off to expose the core itself. Then you'd have to polish the ends, and put them in a butt-splice using something that will split off enough light for you to be able to at least listen in on any communica
        • Well, there is no reason in principle you can't cut through all the jacketing and get to the bare fiber without cutting it, then sand away some of the cladding until you can use evanescent wave coupling to pick off 10% of the signal, which will hardly be noticed (10% ~1 dB loss).

          Alternately, you can just go to where there is already a splice, such as an amplifying station.

          This is harder than attaching a tap to a copper line, but only because people haven't really tried. I am sure that the NSA and friends c
        • I didn't say you're not going to take the circuit down for a few minutes in the process. But most targets aren't going to notice that if it happens at night, especially if you hit some time like Sunday at 1am, a common telco critical-equipment maintenance time (or 2am on Daylight-Savings-Switchover Sunday :-).

          Also, with larger companies that use fiber, it's fairly typical to configure it in a ring for reliability, with the signal transmitted on both sides of the ring so it can switch over rapidly if one si

  • by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @06:41AM (#14019512) Journal
    Carry on downloading during that thunder and lightning!
    • Unless you've got an independant power source, then you still run the risk of frying your computer via the powerlines.
    • Well...sorta. You do have to have something on your end keeping the fibre lit. Most telcos these days aren't giving you fibre directly to the computer...they give you copper ethernet to the computer and have the fibre lit by a splitter for the ethernet and phone stream. One problem: that device needs power. The telco will install an UPS for their device, which will last a few hours (6-8 is the range I've seen quoted). If your power outage goes beyond that (or the UPS doesn't work right), your phone and
  • by Oid.Surin ( 896240 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @06:42AM (#14019514) Homepage
    Higher speeds, longer distances... And never forget the bragging rights of... "I am on fiber."
  • by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @06:48AM (#14019529) Journal
    I'm sorry, but I prefer the richness and a more natural warmth of browsing the internet over copper wires. Fiber optic lends a certain harshness to the "feel" of internet surfing, resulting in a less enjoyable experience.
    I use special oxide free copper wiring and power cords to eliminate excessive "power banding" that produce a grittiness to the intenet.

    That's why I'm sticking with copper.

  • POTS (Score:2, Offtopic)

    Back in the day of 56k modems, you could only get 56 if you dialed into an isp that supported it somehow, and even then, only get that speed incoming. Connecting to your friend's 56k modem would yield only 33.6 in each direction IIRC. What kind of device was needed and how did it work to support 56k connections, and how much did they cost?
    • Re:POTS (Score:4, Informative)

      by bernywork ( 57298 ) * <bstapleton AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 13, 2005 @07:25AM (#14019593) Journal
      Lucent / Livingston PortMaster [], Cisco 5200 [], 5300 [], 3600 [] and a T1 line or an E1 line, dependig on country. These days you can do it on a 260 [] as well.

      Essentially, one of the sides of the connection had to be digital, if you ran two analogue signals (Two modems) back to back, you got 36K, but they found out if that one of the sides of the connection was digital, and was essentially guaranteed to be error free, they could push the speed at which that side transmitted. Hence what the other side recieved at. Whether you actually got 56K was also extremely dependent on the quality of your line. I remember being about 200m away from the exchange on the copper run (I worked at an ISP, so we had a line run for testing) and still only getting 52K.

      We used to tell customers it was just the theoretical maximum as nobody in the country at the time had a chance in hell of getting those speeds.

    • Connecting to your friend's 56k modem would yield only 33.6 in each direction IIRC.

      That's because the modems did 56k down, 33.6k up, at best. Your download being your friend's upload, and vice-versa, the best you could do together was 33.6k. I guess ISPs have special modems that do 33.6k down, 56k up.
      • That's because the modems did 56k down, 33.6k up, at best

        Playing devils advocate here, but with the new V92 standard, the upload was upped to 40kbps. So it *may* be possible for 2 new modems with V92 to connect at this speed max.
  • I've wondered why nobody's developed a fiber standard for things like connecting external disk drives to personal computers? Wouldn't it be great to just snip an unjacketed monofilament line to length, and stick it into a grab-and-hold fitting? I'd love to see cheap plastic fiber replace cat-5 cabling for any runs from 1 to 100 meters.

    • I've wondered why nobody's developed a fiber standard for things like connecting external disk drives to personal computers

      Fibre cables can't have sharp bends in them because the photons would literally not make it around the bend if it is too tight.

      Because of this the cable has to be carefully laid. You can't just string it anywhere.

      • Fibre cables can't have sharp bends in them because the photons would literally not make it around the bend if it is too tight.

        Because of this the cable has to be carefully laid. You can't just string it anywhere.

        This is true for today's high-bandwidth glass fibers, but is it necessarily the case? I'm not talking about multi-kilometer signal paths.


        • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @07:52AM (#14019651) Homepage Journal
          This is true for today's high-bandwidth glass fibers, but is it necessarily the case? I'm not talking about multi-kilometer signal paths.

          I don't know if you can get away with less quality over short runs. Because it is an optical system I would expect that it will either work or not, there won't be much middle ground.

          Most of my experience with fibre dates back about ten years when I was involved with a large, distributed CCTV system. The cable would enter the building via a large pit (about a metre across) and from there it would be cable tied to mesh cable guides all the way to the network terminating gear.

          Where the cable had to negotiate a corner in a room (for example, wall to ceiling) it would follow a gentle curve from one cable guide to the next with a radius of curvature of about 200mm.

          Fibre cabling around the 19 inch racks which held the equipment was done with a similar amount of care.

          The funniest thing I saw was a contractor who used an auger to bore a hole straight down into one of our main inner city roads. The auger went straight into the pipe holding the fibre for a nearby traffic camera and 100 metres of cable wound itself around the auger bit exactly like pasta aound a fork.

          Needless to day that length of cable was totally stuffed.

      • Fiber cables can have short bends, *IF* (doubtful) they use Lucite for the fiber. It's semi-reflective on it's polished surface so the light can bounce around. (this is commonly used in light scopes for snooping around arteries, computer equipment, and the military uses this as well.) Add a good insulating cover over it, and you can bend it to a curvature of less than 2cm and not have any light screw up. You will still get a drop in bandwidth though as some of the light will be reflected back to the source,

    • Nope I thought not. Fibre-attach is the standard way that people connect from a server to a SAN, its very expensive at the moment and its much easier to use things like USB 2.0 or Firewire 2.0 as they have much lower production costs.

      So its already invented but you probably can't afford it.
      • I have worked in data centers, and that's why it seems to me that FDDI is overkill in many situations. I should be able to get Gigabit-Ethernet equivalent speeds over short runs of plastic fiber.

    • I've wondered why nobody's developed a fiber standard for things like connecting external disk drives to personal computers?
      It's called Fibre Channel []. It is used on Apple's XServe RAID [], for example.
      • Fiber channel isn't really what I'm describing. I'm talking about extremely cheap media, here. Polyester monofilament, which doesn't need to be capable of carrying signals for kilometers.

        • What's the need? (Besides the buy new gear syndrome) what cheap consumer device creates data faster than you can transfer with, say Firewire 800 or USB2? Consumer hard drives are an order of magnitude slower or more, and all but high end solid state memory is around the same speed. Firewire already does video.
          • What's the need?

            The chief benefit I see would be the convenience of joining devices together with a length of fishing line, which could simply be cut to length with no need for connectors. Slice it with an x-acto knife, and it's ready to go.

            I've built a lot of cables in my time, and it's a nuisance.

    • FireWire have fiber optic connectios (glass and plastic fibre) specified for 800-3200 Kbps up to several kilometers. We use it in house for backup purposes, and I know of TV-stations that uses it for live connection of DV-cameras straight to the editing studio some distance away.

      The problem with this it the same as with all optic links, the cable is rigid and can't be turned nearly as tight as copper cables. It isn't that practical for the applications you mention.
    • I've wondered why nobody's developed a fiber standard for things like connecting external disk drives to personal computers?

      It's called Fibre Channel; but it is mainly enterprise class. (And yes, the spelling I just gave is correct.) You can buy portions of it cheap on EBay (Optics for $10 - Search for "Optical SFP" or HBAs for $50 (Host Bus Adapter; PCI card with optical connections) -- search for "Fibre Channel HBA")... but then you need the drive enclosure (typically rack mount) and the drives themse

  • no way! (Score:3, Funny)

    by geoff lane ( 93738 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @07:28AM (#14019599)
    I tried fixing a broken fibre, but the solder wouldn't stick!
  • by TheZorch ( 925979 ) <thezorch@gmail. c o m> on Sunday November 13, 2005 @07:32AM (#14019609) Homepage
    I will be thuroughly impressed if fiber can be brought from the pole into the home. A analog/digital converter would allow uses to keep using existing phones on an all fiber phone network, but a whole range of new products could be used for digital Internet access. DSL doesn't work via fiber optics, so an all fiber phone system could usher in a whole new type of Internet service via the telecoms and at speeds that exceed what DSL can offer right now. Regular modems would still work but much more efficiently than before since fiber isn't volunerable to EM interference like lightning from thunderstorms, high-tension powerlines, peak cellphone usage (yes this does effect copper landlines), raido signals (try going online via an unfiltered phone line if you live near an airport), and sun spots.

    Fiber lines are harder to illegal tap. There is a device that can connect to a standard copper pbone cable without piercing the outer insulation. By turning a set of dials you can listen in on all of the phone conversations going on through that cable. Such a device wouldn't work on a fiber line because it exploits certain laws governing electromagentism and how electricity travels through wires. In order to illegally tap a fiber line you'd have to cut it, that would disrupt service for a while, and its would instantly be noticable.
    • That's what Verizon's FIOS is, internally known as FTTP - Fiber To The Premis.

      Verizon is engaged in the staggering task of rewiring (dewiring?) America, or at least that part of it that falls into Verizon's territory. Whole towns are being upgraded to fiber - first down the street, then indeed brought to your home when you order the service.

      The fiber carries voice, data (internet) and video into your home, with the voice being ATM based (converted so that you can use your existing phones), although obviousl
  • by bjoeg ( 629707 )
    As the repost properly would say. Copper can be sufficient enough, but what starts happening when in future the speeds and demands of the copper start increasing? It needs to be replaced, which means installation all over again.

    With fibre, in same scenario as above, not much will change, so the same cable can be used for higher speeds.
  • Fiber to the home (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2005 @08:13AM (#14019686)
    I gotta say I work for a Telco that is now installing "Fiber to the Home" and it is great. The ease of use and setup is fantastic. We are just in the process of rolling out this service and provisioning an new customer is very easy and it is great to work with a device 40 miles away and have no lag, after doing the same kind of work with Cable Modems and Dialup over the years this has be the way to go.

    We support 802.11 wireless (it sucks, The technology isn't reliable and most people don't understand how to use it!), Cable modems, Dialup, fixed point wireless (this sucks worse, slow and almost unusable), and now "Fiber to the home" of all of them the fiber seems to be the best. We are even considering replacing some cable lines with fiber in existing builds where we have had problems with the cable or we have higher bandwidth demands.

    I know the cost is more but maintenance is much lower and that is what kills you in the long run, going out and splicing a rodent chew. Fiber just doesn't have the same problems.

    Just my opinion, but I use it now, in the real world and it isn't speculation at this point.

    • going out and splicing a rodent chew. Fiber just doesn't have the same problems.

        They do when it comes to backhoes and trenchdiggers. ;)

    • I know the cost is more but maintenance is much lower and that is what kills you in the long run, going out and splicing a rodent chew. Fiber just doesn't have the same problems.

      Actually the costs are the same/lower for infrastructure fiber in just about every way but one: You have to pay techs trained in splicing fiber more than the knuckle draggers who splice copper. Verizon most likely looked at their workforce and figured that since they were paying all their guys to know how to splice fiber, they migh

  • by ClippySay ( 930525 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @08:14AM (#14019688) Journal
    / None of them. Chromed steel all the \
    \ way!                                /
            \     ____
             \   / __ \
              \  O|  |O|
                 ||  | |
                 ||  | |
                 ||    |
  • Perhaps the big players should try and coincide a wide spread roll out of fibre with a general aboption of IPv6. That way we could get all the pain and expense over and done with in one hit. Mmmmmmh huge untypeable IP addresses - just what I've always wanted.

    • Re:IPv6 (Score:3, Informative)

      by imroy ( 755 )

      I don't know about other countries, but AARNET here in Australia recently upgraded their network [] with 10Gbps fibre connecting major metropolitan centres as well as Seattle and LA in the US. Slower copper links are used for redundancy and connecting not-so-major metropolitan centres. And it supports IPv6 as well as IPv4.

      It's refreshing to see their attitude about IPv6 in their design goals []:

      Therefore IPv6 must be afforded the same priority within the new network as IPv4. A network that treated IPv6 a

  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @09:15AM (#14019811) Journal
    I'd love to have fiber drops to the rooms of my house. It was'nt the cost of the fiber which was prohibitive. It was the cost of the Fiber SWITCH!
  • by neildiamond ( 610251 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @09:28AM (#14019850)
    here are the problems! 1. Monopoly CONTROL! Verizon isn't just trying to give you high speed Internet, they're trying completely take over your phone. Once your phone is on fibre, you can no longer switch local service providers (unless they allow that for some reason). The reason is that the fibre line is completely theirs and the old copper was financed by govt regulated monopoly. This is a return to the old Bell only days! 2. They do everything possible to cut off copper service to your house even if you tell them not to so as to make it nearly impossible to get a phone line from someone else! (Took me over a month!) 3. Why else would you want a copper phone? POWER OUTAGES! Copper phones usually have their own power and continue to work when the main power goes out. Fibre phones installations come with a battery pack that you have to maintain. They saw the phone can get 4 hours of talk time. Not so good if you run a company or home business on that line. Plus, the only thing that worked during 9/11 was the copper phone line (yes sometimes the lines were busy, but it still mostly worked as cell phones didn't). Internet was pretty slow at that point too. If having a working phone isn't important to you, you could always go with Vonage or whatever, but that's still relying on a single communications channel not to fail in a major emergency. 4. Verizon's customer service sucks. THey know they have you by the balls and once you have fibre, there is no going back! That said, the internet service is pretty sweet. I've been running it since September and not a single burb since then. The 1.5 Mbs upstream speed is really nice too. So my advice is switch your local phone service to someone else and then get Verizon to do your Internet. That way they have to leave your copper phone lines in place. However, they just bought out MCI and the other local phone guys are pretty sucky so beware! Verizon is the next M$ watch out!
    • Wait.. you're on Fiber optic and you're only getting 1.5 Mbps upstream? That sucks! Come on Verizon, you've got the infrastructure and bandwidth if you're rolling out fiber-optics, why not bump everyone up to some insane speed and just blow the market away and force a market evolution? For crying out loud, it's the same pipe!!
    • Once your phone is on fibre, you can no longer switch local service providers (unless they allow that for some reason).

      I don't have any other choice for local service providers NOW.

      I do have the option of VOIP over my Verizon DSL, which I can't possibly see them taking away with FIOS. I also have the options of cell phones. And you can bet, in short order, that Cable TV companies are going to be providing local phone service of their own.

      Copper phones usually have their own power and continue to work when

      • do have the option of VOIP over my Verizon DSL, which I can't possibly see them taking away with FIOS.

        I know that Verizon and Verizon Wireless are 2 different companies (VZ owns the majority stake in VZW, though), but any of the contracts and marketing materials on VZW's wireless data plans specifically prohibit you from using any VoIP services. I would think that we'll see this down the road from any of the carriers that offer voice services.

  • The article linked to is about using fiber instead of Cat 3, Cat 5, Cat 5e, and/or Cat 6 (and, I guess, RG-58) for networking inside the premises, not for connecting your telephone to the phone company's central office.

    As long as I'm livin' here in hurricane land I'm stayin' with 48 VDC current loop BUG* wire.

    *Buried Under Ground

    On a just barely related note, Sprint is coming under fire from the union for their plans to spin off their land line business (the old Carolina Tel. & Tel.) and leave it saddle

  • by anon mouse-cow-aard ( 443646 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @10:24AM (#14019980) Journal
    It's a marketing piece. As such nothing in there is actually false, just a little rose coloured.

    The article says the same cable is used, but it glosses over the terminaors. I've gone through ST & SC, and now LC. Every couple of years they change the connector and then you stuck with frankefibres (patch cable with the new connector type on the patch, and the old on the machine.) It costs big bucks to replace your connectors. I hope they plan to stay with LC for a while, because replacing the connectors is nearly as expensive as replacing all the wiring.

    We have an office building. The copper used to go down several floors
    to a central patch. We figured we'd modernise by having the copper terminate at switches on each floor, and run fibre down. Great except the fibre downlinks blow like popcorn. We were replacing cisco gbics every other week, and they're not cheap.

    For long haul, I'm sure it makes a lot more sense, but in terms of building infrastructure, it would not have saved anybody much in the
    past 10 years if they had stayed with copper. And the end point electronics are still way more expensive.

    Where fibre was a big win was with HIPPI. We had copper HIPPI and those
    cables were about an inch thick with 100 or so pin connectors. The fibre was just plain ST terminated multi-mode. Much easier to run.

    If the phone companies start rolling it out in a big way, maybe the
    price for end point equipment will come down.

    • by Bishop ( 4500 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @02:11PM (#14020998)
      Everything you wrote is contrary to my experience with fiber optics.

      Changing fiber connectors is not expensive. It takes more skill then crimping copper, but it is not hard. It requires some specialized equipment but it is nothing outrageous. Changing the connector types should not be an issue. All infrastructure fiber should be terminated in a patch panel with a pigtail used to connect the hardware (servers/switchs/etc) to the patch panel. Fiber is somewhat fragile so once infrastructure fiber in in place it is best if it is not touched.

      I am not aware of any shop replaceing GBICs every other week, every other month, or indeed ever. In my experience fiber transcievers have been more reliable then copper. At any rate Cisco GBICs aren't that expensive. Through Google I found multimode transcievers for $180.

      Any shop that ran copper 10 years ago is running new copper now to take adavantage of 1Gbit/s. Those shops will be running new copper again in 10 years. Fiber shops are using the same old fiber with new switches. When 10Gbit becomes affordable fiber shops will switch over to that.

      At my last shop every 24 devices had a 1Gbit/s fiber link to the fiber plant. This density was choosen to keep the copper runs short. Most switches are not full so there are actually fewer then 24 devices per fiber. There are 4-6 dark fibers for every fiber in use. This gives room for spares and future growth. That may be excessive, but the cost of fiber is cheaper then labour. It is a great setup.
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @01:37PM (#14020838) Homepage
    the big Canadian telcos have been replacing all their copper with fiber for years now. I know for a fact you'd have a damn difficult time finding copper between towns in British Columbia -- even the dead-end podunk town 100km to the east of my home, population 400, has fiber to its switch. And if what I've heard is correct, all new developments this past five to ten years have been laid with fiber to the local switch, and possibly dark fiber to the home in addition to the copper pairs.

    I a little startled to hear that fiber is a big deal in the USA. Talk about behind the times!

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