Posted by: miniflex | March 26, 2010

What is the likely impact of Chapter 2 of the National Broadband Plan on Fiber Networks

Following on from our article on the key points of the National Broadband Plan, we’ve set out the likely impacts on Fiber network developers below:

1. 50Mbps D/L – 20Mbps U/L goal for 100 million households by 2015

  • Fiber or Ethernet will be more effective than DSL

These speeds are almost in the range of DSL and it is feasible that improvements to the DSL service can be made. Copper-based Ethernet is also an option though may require substantial infrastructure changes, it also suffers the same issues with range as DSL. As fiber will be run to the exchanges and cabinets anyway, it will make more sense to lay fiber over the last mile in most cases.

2. 100Mbps D/L – 50Mbps U/L goal for 100 million households by 2020

  • Fiber or Ethernet will be more effective than DSL

The technology options are limited at the current time. DSL based services cannot guarantee this bandwidth over standard telephony cable. Copper-based Ethernet can be used but does not have the same range as fiber. The only alternative to Fiber will be the DOCSIS 3.0 cable standards

3. Lead the world in Wireless network capability

  • Fiber will be needed for increased backhaul

The uptake of wideband wireless services is going to demand a substantial amount of backhaul to the major networks and between cells. Some of this demand can be served with microwave links, although we foresee a greater need for fiber backhaul from key wireless sites.

4. Make 300Mhz of Wireless spectrum available by 2015

  • Broadcasters will be squeezed

This is going to require a significant amount of spectrum, most likely at the cost of the military and broadcasters such as radio and tv. That’s not to say that some of the broadcast services can be moved to digital technology to make the most of the bandwidth though!

1. 50Mbps D/L – 20Mbps U/L goal for 100 million households by 2015

  • Fiber or Ethernet will be more effective than DSL

These speeds are almost in the range of DSL and it is feasible that improvements to the DSL service can be made. Copper-based Ethernet is also an option though may require substantial infrastructure changes, it also suffers the same issues with range as DSL. As fiber will be run to the exchanges and cabinets anyway, it will make more sense to lay fiber over the last mile in most cases.

2. 100Mbps D/L – 50Mbps U/L goal for 100 million households by 2020

  • Fiber or Ethernet will be more effective than DSL

The technology options are limited at the current time. DSL based services cannot guarantee this bandwidth over standard telephony cable. Copper-based Ethernet can be used but does not have the same range as fiber. The only alternative to Fiber will be the DOCSIS 3.0 cable standards

3. Lead the world in Wireless network capability

  • Fiber will be needed for increased backhaul

The uptake of wideband wireless services is going to demand a substantial amount of backhaul to the major networks and between cells. Some of this demand can be served with microwave links, although we foresee a greater need for fiber backhaul from key wireless sites.

5. Make 500Mhz of Wireless spectrum available by 2020

  • Further pressure on broadcasters and backhaul capabilities

This will place a further squeeze on those currently using spectrum, and will require a further increase in the capacity of backhaul to support the loading of the wireless infrastructure.

6. Ensure every citizen has access to broadband, at a price they can afford

  • Depends on increasing competition and cheaper deployment

This will require the generation of significant competition by enabling access to existing networks and infrastructure, and the driving down of margins for the current providers. We expect to see significant changes to the cost and skill level involved in the deployment of all network technologies. It should be noted that this is the most heated debate at the moment, most commentators worry that the FCC isn’t doing enough to pressure incumbent suppliers.

7. Aim for an adoption rate of over 90% by 2020

  • Every household to have broadband

To achieve an adoption rate of 90% will require that those in the remotest of locations to be served along with those in towns and cities.
Fiber is the ideal medium for reaching out to remote locations due to it’s cost compared to copper, and the distances it can travel and more should be done to carry fiber to rural settings.

8. Every anchor institution such as schools and hospitals should have a minimum 1Gbps broadband service

  • Fiber will be needed for these links

This is likely to only be achievable with fiber and could lead to each anchor institution being near, or becoming a node, this is ideal as it will help to serve the communites built around the amenities.

9. Create a national wireless first responder emergency network by 2020

  • Increased backhaul demand

This will almost certainly form part of the new spectrum allocation, and will place similar importance on backhaul, with a likely need to encrypt or secure communications.

10. Every citizen should be able to monitor their power usage on a Smart Grid energy network

  • Smart grids will reduce energy demand

Citizens that are aware of the usage of their energy will take more care with the energy they use, the widescale availability of broadband should allow energy and other functions within the home to be monitored remotely and closely looked after.


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