Network demands have been changing quickly over the course of the past few years. As a result, many legacy networks have seen their role in the telecommunications industry diminish with newer technologies, such as fiber-optic cabling, taking their place. In Europe, many telecom customers are weary of performance issues that stem from primarily copper cabling and are clamoring for upgrades, a recent Gadget report said.
According to the news source, the move to fiber may make sense for telecom customers, but service providers currently see a great deal of financial value in copper networks. As a result, the move to fiber has been slow across the continent. For more than a decade, copper cabling has been king. Telecoms are wary of simply undoing this long-standing investment and moving on to a new architecture. Instead, many are focused on maintaining their copper infrastructure and building out ADSL capabilities.
The report suggested this ongoing focus on copper makes sense from a financial standpoint. Replacing copper infrastructure is fairly costly, while the short-term revenue boost provided by better copper systems is fairly significant. As a result, shareholders are loathe to see copper networks cast aside when there is considerable financial gain to be had from the technology.
There is just one problem - copper can't keep up with operational needs. The report said telecoms focusing on copper often end up having to build out Dslam cabinets and multiplexing. Furthermore, the operating costs for power and service are rising. All of these problems come as copper struggles to simply keep up with current needs and will likely be unable to meet next-generation requirements. This is leading to more demand for fiber from a consumer perspective and creating an environment in which telecoms may have to begin building new fiber networks soon.
Fiber-to-the-home technology has the capability to expand the potential of internet services considerably, giving consumers access to much better networking options. However, the cost of building new fiber networks has limited the technology's growth in some regions. To counter this, some governments are pushing optical network deployment through subsidies or legal options. For example, the U.S. government has invested considerable funds into fiber backbone networks in rural areas to provide a foundation for FTTH infrastructure. Australia, on the other hand, is mandating fiber installation alongside utility infrastructure in new construction projects.
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