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Copper offers broadband for users who won't wait for Google

By Donna Donnowitz
October 3, 2014

For many consumers, the wait for Google Fiber just keeps getting longer. Those living in Google Fiber pilot cities like Austin and Kansas City have suffered multiple delays, and for those that live outside of Google's target cities the dream of surfing gigabit Internet seems permanently out of reach. Thankfully, new breakthroughs with old technology may soon make gigabit Internet more accessible than ever.

Copper on deck
New developments in copper wire have revitalized interest in using the legacy infrastructure to support gigabit Internet access. This hybrid approach, referred to as fiber to the node, eliminates much of the digging and uprooting of old cables that occurs when companies decide to perform costly roll outs of fiber-optic cable directly to the home. However, the use of FTTN strategies minimizes weaknesses of both cable types used independently, according to InfoWorld. Fiber to the node now takes advantage of a new technology called vectoring, which enhances the capability of copper wires to ignore interference and almost doubles connection speeds. AT&T's U-Verse infrastructure is an example of an FTTN system that delivers gigabit service at a price much lower than that of Google Fiber. Much of this cost reduction comes from the fact that new FTTN connections can be built without stripping copper and removing copper wires, thanks to advances in vectoring and fiber-to-Ethernet technology.

Fiber leaves much to be desired
Despite the fact that Google Fiber was touted as a project for the people, large percentage of citizens in the Fiber pilot are unable to access the service based on cost. In fact, The Wall Street Journal notes that just 10 percent of Kansas City's low-income citizens were able or willing to convert to Google Fiber, with 20 percent of non-adopters citing price as the leading barrier. These numbers have inspired critics to accuse Google of not doing enough to prevent a "digital divide," where access to gigabit Internet speeds is defined across the poverty line. However, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Google invested extensive time and effort into reaching out to low-income families during the initial roll-out of fiber. Slow adoption was also driven by Kansas City citizens with minimal interest in surfing the web, and those that are content with their current connection speeds.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160 km.


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