Municipal fiber deployment: create jobs, ignore consumer benefits

Fiber optics are the fastest form of transmitting data. Every scientist in the universe would acknowledge this as truth. There is no form of matter that can physically move faster than light. Fiber optics use light as a transmission medium & flexible glass fibers as the containment for the light. Even though the speed of light holds the cosmos’ best record, the implementation of light as a means to communicate is considered technology.

Like all technologies, it’s susceptible to improvement. Fiber optics have been implemented in communications for several decades and have seen various enhancements across several prongs including speed, distance, and effectiveness of glass insulation. Below are some speed marks that have been hit over the years:

1975 45 Mbps

1987 1.7 Gbps

2001 10 Tbps

2006 14 Tbps

2012 1,020 Tbps

The telecommunications industry has been using optical fiber cable for some time. In fact, much of the infrastructure that connects the internet today is comprised of fiber optical cables laid at various points in time. Continents, countries, states, and cities all connect to one another using fiber optical cable. It is in the “last mile”, a term commonly used to describe the lines running to individual house, that the majority of the infrastructure remains copper. The minority here is large scale businesses and industries that require large amount of bandwidth. Schools, hospitals, government agencies, and other big businesses reach agreements with telecommunication agencies to have dedicated fiber optics run to their facilities. What benefit would putting fiber optics in “last mile” infrastructure serve?

For many of us, there are several things that could be accomplished with such a speed upgrade. For starters, Netflix would be faster. Or if paid subscriptions aren’t your cup of tea, torrents would download more quickly. Entertainment consumption would be rid of wait times. Hosting ones’ own cloud or server to access files from anywhere is another possibility that comes to mind. Then there’s the transmission of UHD or 4K content. This new video format is the evolution of HD and pack 4 times the information into a video stream. That also quadruples the amount of data each video stream contains. Aside from entertainment applications, the need for gigabit speeds is largely superficial. Social networks, email, web-browsing, & gaming can run optimally at 25 Mbps.

Laying down lines in neighborhoods is extremely laborious. In modern human history, this type of municipal renovation was first performed in cities to make drinking water and sewage accessible. Then again for electricity, telephone connections, and cable television in that order. The logistics of undertaking such an upgrade were immeasurably comprehensive then. Now that current cities have grown, the task is even greater. The benefits most consumers will see from having fiber lines run to their homes can be widely spurned. However, there exists a responsibility by the government and American telcos to acknowledge the detriment of employment within the United States.

Mammoth municipal projects like the building of infrastructural improvements are the type of thing that create jobs in the thousands. While it’s a huge investment in technology, large telcos are recording huge profits. It’s time they started investing back into American communities by creating more jobs & modernizing infrastructure. Until they do so, the federal government needs to revoke all subsidies. The public has already been made aware the government is collecting data. What are the telcos going do, blackmail the US government with that information? Too late…


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