back to article 10Gbps over crumbling COPPER: Boffins cram bits down telco wire

Bell Labs has pumped data faster than ever before down antiquated copper wiring. The boffins used a frequency modulation system that they claim will be perfect for hooking up aging telco cables to future broadband fiber networks. The technique is based on the G.fast standard being considered by the International …

  1. Herby Silver badge

    Wire up my home?

    Please. I'll do beta testing cheap. Make that DSL line into a nice wonderful firehose of bits.

    1. Lusty Silver badge

      Re: Wire up my home?

      Surely your home already is wired up - that's the point of this.

      What I want to know, is why nobody is ditching the requirement for legacy telephones to share the wires, surely that will give massive gains in bandwidth as the frequencies available increase. I don't know many people who feel a desperate need for a house phone these days but most people would love streaming 4k video!

  2. psychonaut

    not round here

    Some of my customers are lucky to be able to make a phone call on their god knows how old copper lines let alone get > 1mbs adsl. I think the quality of the copper might make a significant difference. Also...did they use monster cable or cyrus oxgen free speaker cable for this test??

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: not round here

      Ditto around the place I bought. In London's Zone 2. Apparently because it's the Docklands, with residential properties developed in a very ad hoc fashion, overwhelmingly since the privatisation of BT, they've just sort of thrown the wiring together and don't have the money to fix it. Most properties are copper all the way to the exchange, a few kilometres as the crow flies so I can only speculate what it is in cable length.

      I can only imagine the problems in less-dense areas.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: not round here

        I think the idea here is running fiber to the curb, and hooking up to the copper going into each house. As opposed to VDSL2, which has nodes a kilometer or less from houses but maxes out at around 50 Mbps or so.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: not round here

          "I think the idea here is running fiber to the curb, and hooking up to the copper going into each house. As opposed to VDSL2, which has nodes a kilometer or less from houses but maxes out at around 50 Mbps or so."

          I alread have a FTTC service in North London, close enough that I can see the fibre endpoint box only 100m down the road ...

          ... however since the cutover to FTTC I've actually got worse call quality now than I ever had before when my line was 2.7km of copper all the way to the exchange. Sometimes bad enough that we actually have to abandon calls.

          BT's line checker utility reports no problem with the line, suggests helpfully that its my own equipment at fault, and threatens us with a £99 callout fee to come out and check it. This is despite unplugging everything from the master socket and still hearing crackling and popping on the line.

          1. Steven Jones

            Re: not round here

            VDSL and FTTC makes no difference to the copper run to the exchange. Apart from passing through a low-pass filter at the cabinet, there's no difference. Indeed, if you had ADSL before, the line would have passed through a similar low-pass filter at the exchange. (Plus a similar low-pass filter in your house). Unless there was a poor connection made at the green box, then I can's see why there would have been any difference to call quality at all.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: not round here

            "This is despite unplugging everything from the master socket and still hearing crackling and popping on the line."

            Your voice circuit is still copper all the way back to the exchange. Most likely when the circuit was rejumpered it was done badly. I'd raise merry hell about it.

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: not round here

          "I think the idea here is running fiber to the curb, and hooking up to the copper going into each house. As opposed to VDSL2, which has nodes a kilometer or less from houses but maxes out at around 50 Mbps or so." The Holy Grail for telcos is the re-use of the existing copper from the house up to the nearest junction box (those green cabinets on the streets) or the local exchange. The latter means they just need the main backbone in fibre, the former means they need to add fibre between the junction box and the exchange as well. So, unless your house is within 10m of one of those junction boxes the 10Gbps figure is just hype, and even the 1Gbps becomes doubtful. But completely ripping and replacing all the copper is hideously expensive, which is why firms will pay for such tech as a fudge. They will justify it by arguing that no-one really needs 1Gbps to the door (unless the Government want to fund it for them).

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: not round here

            "But completely ripping and replacing all the copper is hideously expensive, which is why firms will pay for such tech as a fudge. "

            The endpoint gear for this kind of shenanigan is more expensive that replacing with fibre but that's a cost which can be charged to the customer immediately, vs recovering it over 20 years.

      2. James 100

        Re: not round here

        A long run of copper between you and the exchange is actually perfectly normal - indeed, better than some people are stuck with: back before privatisation the GPO was using aluminium for a while.

        The key thing, though, is that the copper will go from you to a very close DP (distribution point: in blocks of flats and similar, a little grey box on the wall somewhere), then almost always from that to a PCP (Primary Connection Point, usually a green cabinet on the pavement) and on back to the exchange. BT's "Infinity" connects a piece of fibre at that PCP level, which is much closer to people than the exchange.

        Until FTTC, *every* line was copper 'all the way to the exchange', unless you were unlucky enough to have 70s cheapskate aluminium instead! (Or, in a few unlucky cases, you shared that piece of copper with someone else thanks to DACS, a 'pair gain' system.)

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          Re: not round here @James 100

          It's the complete absence of PCPs in my area that they cite. So there's no trunk level at which it is economical to install fibre. They'd need either to install PCPs or add fibre direct from the exchange to every individual building. The local fibre company that has jumped on that opportunity charges £20k/building for installation even after they've got sufficient interest in subsequent subscription.

          Sadly the phone reception is also quite dodgy in my specific flat (though I don't think that's endemic, just bad luck on my part) so LTE-or-whatever isn't much of a fix, and the local MP has been trying to obtain funds but is a Lib Dem so I suspect BT may just be running out the clock on any effort he's creating for them. Meanwhile Boris has marked his funds for Wifi on the DLR so local government doesn't have the resources.

          ... and, as I said, I can therefore only imagine what service people in the countryside get, probably with just as many logistical problems but most of them so specific that there's not even an MP on their side to ignore.

        2. Fluffy Bunny
          Thumb Down

          Re: not round here

          Pair gain - Telecom Australia cabled whole suburbs that way. Result, you could't run a high speed modem from your home phone and there wasn't enough spare copper to run a second phone for most customers. Competition did away with these horrible practices.

          This is why creating a new monopoly in Australia is such a horrible idea.

      3. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: not round here

        Ditto around the place I bought. In London's Zone 2. Apparently because it's the Docklands, with residential properties developed in a very ad hoc fashion, overwhelmingly since the privatisation of BT, they've just sort of thrown the wiring together and don't have the money to fix it. Most properties are copper all the way to the exchange, a few kilometres as the crow flies so I can only speculate what it is in cable length.

        That must be kick in the teeth considering the vicinity to Telehouse...

      4. psychonaut

        Re: not round here

        judging by some of my customers, this area is definitely not less-dense than anywhere else in the IT world...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: not round here

      If the building was connected in the 60s, it may not even be copper.

      Just very old and brittle by now aluminium. BT try to forget it exists, or even deny it, but I've seen it... I'm on it!

      Nothing like a bit of local redevelopment to disturb the slumbering, almost dust, conductor... And bye bye connection.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: not round here

        Not just aluminium cable.

        BT have told ofcom that there is no paper-insulated cable in their network.

        Ofcom have repeatedly rejected mountaions of evidence to the contrary, even taking into account BT's absurd claim that "In their network" means up to the local distribution cabinets, not to the customer premises termination.

    3. John Tserkezis

      Re: not round here

      Ditto again. The condition of some of the copper I've seen could be best described as "wet piece of string".

    4. Jim 59

      Re: not round here

      Thy wanted to but it was too expensive.

      1. David_H
        Happy

        Re: not round here

        If BT won't provide super fast broadband, then you have the option of rolling your own with a willing commercial friend. We are looking at 1Gbps FTTP for our cluster of rural villages, with the digging (hopefully) starting in the autumn and all finished before Christmas.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: not round here

          Regarding dig-your-own (commercial rollouts)

          The moment you announce it, BT will suddenly decide that DSL is viable - which in turn will lock any EU funding which was acquired to make it possible.

          BT will then take their sweet time in actually providing the service (2-4 years is common) and at a significantly worse level than originally announced.

          They've done it a number of times. Ofcom aren't interested.

  3. Snowy Silver badge

    If your going to upgrade to fibre the connection to the street cabinet why not go the whole way and put in a new wire to the property.

    It is a very nice idea but the cable is too short, the amount of money spent trying to get more down the "antiquated copper wiring" could have replaced it with something better well able to carry greater data.

    1. Ashley Stevens

      It's due to cost

      I have Verizon FIOS in my vacation home and the amount of kit they installed in the garage to terminate the fibre is quite ridiculous and looks very expensive indeed. There's three boxes I believe and several cables between them. The cost of the kit and the time to install it must have been pretty high. I can quite see why Verizon are not extending the FIOS network with what each house installation must cost them.

      So either they need to simplify the in-home installation to the point where the in-premises equipment is as cheap as DSL and installable by the user, or they could do what is proposed here it seems and share a single fibre to copper interface link between several houses and amortize the cost over say 10 houses. Makes economic sense to me. Sure, fibre to the home would be better, but the termination kit needs to come down in cost and simplify. Installing fibre connections isn't currently an end-user job.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

        Re: It's due to cost

        FibreOP installed a wee feisty ONT, a battery backup because the service includes telephone and that needs to work during outages, and a router. So yes, three boxes.

        Of course with 175 Mbps to enjoy, I then I added my own 16-port GB switch, several NAS, two additional wifi routers (to make full use of the entire 2.4 GHz band, plus one on 5 GHz too), and a four foot power strip that is already full. So I've swamped out their hardware. The 4x2 foot panel is crammed full of network gear.

        By the way, the old DSL installation was two boxes, modem and router (these can be combined these days, sometimes poorly). Plus a box for the POTS. Three becomes three, plus my 17 more.

        YMMV.

        I think that other telcos and ISPs had better study Bell Aliant FibreOP. They cracked the nut. They're doing it, FTTH. At about the same price as DSL. The secret sauce is that they can now sell Cable TV (over fiber). They have arranged financing and are rolling it out, even into rural areas. It's a solved problem.

      2. Aitor 1

        Re: It's due to cost

        Looks expensive, but is about 30-40 quid. for them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would settle for 10mbs right now, but that speed looks to be light years away from being implemented round my way.

  5. Stuart Halliday

    Let me guess....

    It's 10Gbps over 30 metres of straight wire with no corners or other cables next to it...

    Yeah, that'll work in the real world...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now when they are able to do that speed over 7 km of crappy copper cable they just might have something to shout about.

    As has been said, if they are bringing fibre to just outside the building why not take it all the way in. That is what should be done in built up areas but there are a lot of us living out in the country that would like a little more speed - at some times it is faster to use a carrier pigeon and a usb stick.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      why not take it all the way in.

      Exactly. Say FTTC is a given. It then takes a technician maybe an hour or so to run a new fibre from the curb to the house (*). To be explicit, the installation of new indoor kit is going to cost about the same with any new technology, fiber or ultra fast copper. Another hour or two, YMMV.

      (* His Outdoors technician might spend more time friggen around with the new fiber to copper box of tricks.)

      Decision makers ain't thinking straight.

      FTTC + 2% (if that) = FTTH. Get over it.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: why not take it all the way in.

        Ah, underground wiring may take longer than an hour. I have to acknowledge that.

        Of course, they might just use direct burial fiber cable, slit the ground and run the cable 6-inches deep and have it to the house in 20 minutes.

        YMMV.

        1. localzuk

          Re: why not take it all the way in.

          Its nowhere near that simple. The company needs permits to do any form of digging. They have to work with all the householders to gain access to do the install. They have to deal with any bylaws, or protected buildings. If they're using existing conduit, they need to ensure it has space etc...

          Its isn't so simple. Not to mention the disruption to the streets being dug up.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: why not take it all the way in.

            So getting fiber to the home is actually more of an urban problem, not a suburban nor a rural problem. The suburbs and rural areas being far more likely to have overhead wiring. So, ironically, people in the urban jungles might need to move to the countryside to get FTTH.

            1. Otto is a bear.

              Re: why not take it all the way in.

              My village is a mixture, but there's a distribution point on a pole less than 20 meters from each house where the wiring is overhead, this goes to a junction box at roof level and then there's a wire into the house on either side. I actually get up to 10Mbs but usually around 5 in the evening and 8 in the day, dam that contention. I also get pretty good access to the WiFi from the exchange at the bottom of my garden.

              Could you actually get fibre to the pole and, wouldn't it be better to put a decent WiFi units on these poles.

            2. localzuk

              Re: why not take it all the way in.

              @JeffyPoooh - not really. Most high density urban areas have conduits in place to large buildings.

              1. launcap Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: why not take it all the way in.

                >Most high density urban areas have conduits in place to large buildings

                Oh really? In which universe?

                Maybe in a nice new-build area but certainly not in most bits of the civilised world* that I'm familiar with..

                *Europe. Y'know, that place where towns and cities are usually more than 200 years old..

              2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: why not take it all the way in.

                LZ: "...high density urban areas have conduits in place..."

                Excellent point. So what's all the whinging about?

                The basic problem seems to be that many of the ISPs or telcos haven't figured out that they could offer 'Cable TV' service once they have fiber installed. Another $100 per month from every customer by offering the Triple Play (phone, net, TV). That'll finance a lot of digging and climbing.

        2. launcap Silver badge

          Re: why not take it all the way in.

          >slit the ground and run the cable 6-inches deep and have it to the house in 20 minutes

          The phrase 'wayleave' springs to mind.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: why not take it all the way in.

            " The phrase 'wayleave' springs to mind. "

            It must be difficult to live where there's no water, sewer, power, telephone, nor Cable TV services because of this insurmountable legal obstacle.

      2. Blergh

        Re: why not take it all the way in.

        I really can't believe that it would only take an hour extra for FTTH. My house is probably half a mile from the cabinet so I'd expect it to take another full day or more to run the fibre to my house. I think I remember something about BT expecting it to take 0.5 day but they were more realistically finding it took 2 people a little more than 1 day. That was a while ago and I can't remember the exact article so maybe that's not relevant.

        Anyway you've then not just got 1 house but probably 100 houses running from each cabinet. You fibre up 1 cabinet and 100 houses get faster broadband, but to give them all FTTH is going to take a lot longer and cost a lot more.

        So my expectation would be FTTC (5 days) + 100 houses (100 days) = FTTH (105 days) = 21 FTTC.

        FTTC is not a given they've still got thousands of them still to do and a huge to do list that goes into the next few years. Give everyone else a chance to get onto FTTC before upgrading the whingers to something faster.

        * I've not based this on any actual knowledge or research but it certainly not going to be the +2% JeffyPoooh expects.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: why not take it all the way in.

          I do think it would be cool for operators to offer FTTP where residences are prepared to pay their own costs for the access trench, or dig/provide it themselves to some standard.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: why not take it all the way in.

        "Decision makers ain't thinking straight."

        Or, given that they're educated, experienced managers under pressure to make a profit and invest wisely - and you presumably aren't - maybe they know things you don't?

        Businesses pursue opportunities to make a profit. If an existing company is 'lazy' a competitor will step in and take that profit for themselves. If neither an existing company or a new one is leaping at the chance, there's no money to be made.

        In the UK the last big rollout in the last mile network was made by the cable companies. They all went under, drowned in a sea of debt.

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: why not take it all the way in.

          In Canada, the Cable TV companies make out like bandits.

          Cable operators were the last big rollout in Canada (not including natural gas, lol), right up until Bell Aliant started rolling out FibreOP. They'll be stealing customers from the local Cable Co.s.

          I've seen some of the technical background to their FibreOP system. There are some extremely clever efficiencies in the fiber bundling and related equipment. They also outsourced the installation of the main runs.

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    70 meters

    70 meters of crappy cable is a trivial problem for Internet delivery - replace the cable. The real world is several hundred meters of crappy cable, crappy splices, and a lot of twisted pairs that have been untwisted and smashed together into a wad next to punchdown blocks. Even if magic can eliminate crosstalk and echoes, high frequency attenuation and environmental noise still dictate poor bandwidth.

  8. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

    While working on my MBA in the late 90s I found an article from Bell Labs about their development of a Gallium Arsenide modem. They ran a copper line over several hundred miles and maintained well in excess of 600Mps. I wonder what happened to that?

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

      "...over several hundred miles and maintained well in excess of 600Mps..."

      Let's examine this story. YOU PICK a reasonable number of dB loss per mile. I'll let you pick the number, but it would be insane to say a number less than 10 dB per mile, and that's being incredibly generous.

      Multiply *your* 'per mile' loss per mile by 600 miles. You should have a total loss budget of at least 6000 dB.

      6000 dB would protect you from The Big Bang. Seriously. The Universe could be being created 600 miles away, and you could just cower behind a cable, and you'd be fine.

      6000 dB is a big number. Bigger than you can image.

      .: Fake story.

      1. Badvok
        FAIL

        Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

        "Multiply *your* 'per mile' loss per mile by 600 miles. You should have a total loss budget of at least 6000 dB."

        And that's why transatlantic cables never worked ... err, hang on a sec ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

          Err, no. That's why transatlantic cables had repeater amps at frequent intervals, "ghost" powered by a quite scary voltage to make sure it got to the ones in the middle of the pond.

          Double Fail icon....

          1. Badvok
            FAIL

            Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

            @AC: The first transatlantic telegraph cables didn't have repeaters - check your facts! Triple fail!

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

          @Bad-lywrong-vok

          An AC has explained the bit about Atlantic Cables that you'd missed in school: repeaters.

          Also, I must point out that the old Atlantic Cables using copper utterly failed to achieve 10 Gbps. Which is one reason why they switched to fiber optics.

          Some your point is wrong on several levels all at once.

          1. Badvok
            FAIL

            Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

            @JeffyPoohPooh - I guess you also missed the bit of history (or very selective memory?) where they laid the first transatlantic telegraph cables, these didn't have repeaters, yes they failed pretty quickly but communication was established. Of course not at 10Gpbs, I never said that (it was more like 1bpm), I was just pointing out how stupid your 6000db attenuation figure was in conjunction with your patently ridiculous assertion that a 600 mile long wire couldn't provide any sort of signal even if the energy pumped into it was akin to the big bang.

            I have no doubt that Kev99's memory has served him false with this story, but your ridiculous attempt to sound like you know what you are talking about is a mega-fail.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

              "yes they failed pretty quickly"

              Because the insulation failed. This was finally cracked by the Gutta-Percha rubber company, which 150 years later is known as Cable and WIreless.

              So it wasn't just Nokia who got started selling rubber products.

    2. Jim 59

      Re: Bell Labs GaAs modem from 1960s

      @Kev99 sadly, Googling for "Gallium Arsenide modem" returns only one page, this one. I fear we must categorize this desirable item with yogic flying, force processing gyroscope, etc.

  9. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Dumb concept - stop being lazy and just run the fiber to the home

    Our neighbourhood (in the forest, multi-acre lots) was recently wired up with FibreOP branded fiber optic cable. Getting the fiber to the end of the driveway was a pretty big deal. Involved dozens and dozen of people working for days, maybe weeks.

    Then it required one technician about an hour to string a fiber down my 400-foot driveway to the house. Probably took him a bit longer than normal, what with getting the cable through the thick trees.

    Then another indoor tech dropped in for a couple hours to install the ONT, battery pack, and Wifi Router (a duration that would be unchanged if he were installing a new copper based terminal). Now we have fantastic Internet service, presently 175 Mbps. And telephone. TV available, but not good enough for us yet.

    So the delta on offer from this 'Save The Copper' offering is "one technician about an hour", the time it takes to string a fiber from the pole to the house. Whippity doo duh.

    A whole bunch of effort to save a tiny fraction of the total cost. Dumb. Just run the damn fiber.

    1. localzuk

      Re: Dumb concept - stop being lazy and just run the fiber to the home

      You seem to think that everywhere is like where you live. It isn't. Not to mention, you're comparing the costs of replacing the "last mile" copper with fibre, compared with running new copper. The problem with that is the copper already exists, so the cost of running the fibre is being balanced against a zero cost for upgrade of the copper...

      If you've got a highly dense urban population, running FTTP is relatively cost effective, but reduce that density and suddenly the costs are high enough that the company would never make their investment back. Ever. This is why the UK government is investing in rolling out high speed internet to rural areas itself. Its why the cable companies that exist now are not the ones that ran the cables in the first place - they have all just been bought out over time as each little company failed.

      So, I'd counter that your "tiny fraction" is actually a "majority percentage" of the cost.

      1. Nifty

        Re: Dumb concept - stop being lazy and just run the fiber to the home

        For a yardstick of how investment-averse private ISPs are in the UK, consider that Virgin Media will not even connect to a new block of flats that is adjacent to an existing Virgin Media junction box.

        Meanwhile, our entire housing estate recently received new gas main pipework. Done by digging holes at intervals and pushing new smaller flexible piping through the old ones. Every home in the street had a new gas termination. Now this estate was already covered by cable internet to compete with BT/LLU ADSL. Did BT take the opportunity to put a small future-proof conduit though the same route to replace their 60 year old telegraph poles and wire?

        Nope. Which shows how entrepreneurial THEY are.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dumb concept - stop being lazy and just run the fiber to the home

      I think the cost of putting up telephone poles around the place and stringing to houses would outweigh the cost of just digging up driveways, in the UK,

      I think it's great that in some places cables can be 'strung up through the trees' though. Absolutely agree that where it can be done, do it..!

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Dumb concept - stop being lazy and just run the fiber to the home

        The poles (wooden telephone poles, not the sort of Poles from Poland found in the UK) are already in place all over much of Canada. They carry the power, telephone, Cable TV and now FibreOP.

    3. Fluffy Bunny
      Thumb Down

      Re: Dumb concept - stop being lazy and just run the fiber to the home

      Not lazy - cost effective. Somebody has to pay for all this fibre.

      Oh and by the way, recently fibre was being rolled out to Melbourne consumers by tacking it onto the existing electrical poles. They were blocked by the citizens and local councils as being unaesthetic.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Dumb concept - stop being lazy and just run the fiber to the home

        "Oh and by the way, recently fibre was being rolled out to Melbourne consumers by tacking it onto the existing electrical poles. They were blocked by the citizens and local councils as being unaesthetic."

        One town I lived in had everything underground as a result of a 30 year program (It was cheaper overall than the maintenance of above ground infrastructure and dealing with the inevitable "car vs pole" stuff which happens.)

        Along came a cable company which sued the city council for access to string cables between lighting poles - the emphasis being on the first part of that name. The poles simply weren't strong enough to handle the weight of cable and they'd been told so, but tried to force their way in anyway.

  10. Martin Budden
    Megaphone

    I still want my NBN to be FTTH: fibre will *always* beat copper.

    1. Fluffy Bunny
      Thumb Down

      Fibre will always beat copper, except when you have to pay for it. I have installed fibre networks and I know about the cost.

  11. Mage Silver badge

    If it was "Last Mile"

    Then it would be wonderful.

    But it's 30m (or 70m of slower) under good conditions. So only from the cabinet. Problem is lots of cables from cabinet is more than 900m which means ADSL2+. If you have 30m to 100m then today's FTTC + VDSL is already better than 95% non fibre.

    Also how much RF interference from those copper wires on the pole to the 1MHz to 106MHz band?

    This is interesting. But I'd hate to see it used by politicians and bean counters to justify FTTC/FTTK rather than FTTP/FTTH. If it's only 30m to 70 then in most cases the existing cable can be used to pull in a fibre.

    The best value for it may be apartment blocks? Fibre to each floor and then existing copper.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know it's pedantic

    But it always bugs me that bandwidth capacities are referred to as speeds.

    Miles per hour is a measure of speed.

    Gigabits per second is a measure of capacity.

    Of course the upshot of more bandwidth is that you can download big files faster, but the speed at which anything is moving is the same.

  13. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Learn the lessons from Bell Aliant FibreOP

    They're just doing it - Bell ALiant FiberOP is FTTH. Urban, suburban and (slowly) even rural. It's a solved problem. Technical and financial. Many of the arguments against FTTH become hollow shells once you realize that FTTH is actually being done in other distant lands.

    Another rebuttal to the 'Last Mile' (or last 30m) whining is that natural gas distribution networks also require digging. They're also being installed locally through solid bedrock and they don't stop at the curb. Their resultant cashflow isn't all that much different to the cashflow resulting from FTTH - each about $100 to $200 per month.

    It's simply a management failure. Stop the whining and start digging.

    1. Nifty

      Re: Learn the lessons from Bell Aliant FibreOP

      Exactly,. And as I pointed out in an earlier post here, our gas mains were recently expensively dug up and filled over so that 100% of homes get a new gas termination. And guess what? Our UK BT/Openreach are completely uninterested in using this once-in-50-years opportunity to lay either fiber, coax or a could-be-anything future-proof conduit.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is cheaper?

    To replace several kilometers of copper or just upgrade the routers? Routers are neatly installed in rooms with removable flooring, while copper is (captain obvious)... on the dirt. Little effort, great results.

    To install new gear, copper isn't cheap, and is very often stolen and sold by its value per kilogram. Meanwhile, fiber is mostly molten glass in wire shape, which is made out of sand with no commercial value, to put it VERY simply.

    So yeah, it is easier to upgrade your old copper stuff, but when installing new stuff, fiber.

    Berkeley had to label their cables OPTIC FIBER - NO COMMERCIAL VALUE all over the place, because wrongdoers had cut their cables looking for copper, a couple years ago.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    faster datacentre Cu ethernet?

    If they can do 10Gb/s over two pairs, can we do 20Gb/s ethernet over 4 pairs (e.g. Cat 6?)

    Might be a nice little option (20GE) for datacentre cabling where copper is still preferred for some runs.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What really frustrates me is I'd slap down a sizeable wodge of my hard earned to get BT (or whoever, I really don't care) to run a fibre from the cabinet over the road to my house. It's a one off cost that I'll learn to live with.

    The problem though is that after paying through the nose for a hole to be dug they seem to think I then want to pay to have every byte hand delivered on a gold platter. Well, I can only assume that is what will happen considering the cost of fibre services. Why, once the cable is in place, can't I pay a regular ADSL type service charge? It's not like I suddenly want an SLA with a 15 minute response.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      "...can't I pay a regular ADSL type service charge?"

      Yes. Move to Canada within the service boundaries of Bell Aliant.

      Our previous boring old POTS (plain old telephone service) and 1.4 Mbps ADSL was right about $100 per month. 1.4 Mbps is pretty useless these days. That was as high as they could go over 4km of copper.

      Same company, Bell Aliant FibreOP has now rolled out fiber, even to our neighbourhood in the forest, and thus offers a vastly better telephone (over fiber) service, with tonnes of features including emailed voice mails, and basic 50 / 30 Mbps Internet in a bundle for ... right about $100 per month.

      Essentially zero difference in the price. You read that right. Better, faster, and no more expensive. Installation fee was $49. No contract. You pay another $15 to get 80 / 30 Mbps and yet another $15 to get 175 / 30 Mbps (which is nice). So about $130 a month for phone and 175 Mbps, but that's their top offering. Most people are happy with 50 Mbps.

      The financial secret sauce is that they're now able to offer 'Cable TV' (fiber optic) service. Imagine that; a telephone company offering TV, thus chasing down their competition, the local Cable company. It also potentially roughly doubles the cash flow of their company (another $100 a month per customer). This is the duh-obvious secret that finances the whole system.

      It will take many more years to get fiber run out to the distant corners. But since each run can reportedly span 40 km, it's pretty easy to roll trucks. They're so fast that they disappear down the road in an hour.

      Sorry to be ranting on about this, but it important to announce that FTTH is indeed a cracked nut. Technically and financially. Problem solved. Just needs time to permeate.

      1. Steven Jones

        Re: "...can't I pay a regular ADSL type service charge?"

        ISPs already offer TV & Films over broadband in the UK (as do the likes of NetFlix). You can buy them as bundles. However, there's a major difference in the regulatory regime in that there's no option to cross-subsidise infrastructure roll-out from retail revenues. Wholesale line rental is subject to extremely tight regulation, and whilst FTTC wholesale pricing is not regulated as yet, it has to be sold as a wholesale service to all operators.

        The consequence? A lot of retail competition, but not much money for infrastructure investment.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...can't I pay a regular ADSL type service charge?"

        My father went from 256 kbps ADSL, to 2 mpbs also ADSL, to 30 mpbs fiber, to 100... all for the same price.

        It took several years of the phone company RIPPING US OFF to offer those upgrades, for no extra cost, *beyond the licence you gave us to print money*.

  17. StimuliC

    Amazing!

    or rather Amazing how these labs sensationalize the results. So it's 10 Gbps over 30 Meters, when you slightly over double that length to 70 meters it drops to 1/10th of that speed. So would that be 100 Mbs at 163 Meters of copper wire from the exchange, at 380 Meters of copper wire it would be 10 Mbps , at 885 Meters it would be down to 1Mbps. Bearing in mind how the quality of the transmission degrades over the first 70 meters and since that degrade is effectively a steady rate as distance increases, it doesn't magically stop. So you have to have pristine copper connection and be so darn close to the exchange that you would be virtually living inside it to benefit since most of that length is taken up purely inside the exchange before it ever gets out of there.

    I just love these Lab's that find some Savant Rainman that comes out with such things.

    It's like those that make claims in their clean environment labs results of amazing wifi speeds that would make you manparts grow with excitement at the thought of getting such speeds when they don't make it clear that it is really because the equipment is inches apart in a faraday cage that stops outside signal interference and no walls to block degrade that signal.

    This is all really a way of giving a slight improvement in service to those parts of the midwest that are not just rural, it's a 10 mile drive to the neighbors house and have dial up of 13 Kbps at best or rely on expensive sattelite internet where those customers would be amazed to get 128 Kbps and be wetting their underwear.

    I remember up there in Nebraska when they first set up cable modem on their cable network and then charged up $100 a month for the privilege of getting 64 Kbps which was 4 times the speed of the dial up offering available and then made it feel like they were giving us a free upgrade when they finally doubled it to 128Kbps.

    It's all about appeasing natives!

  18. Tom 7 Silver badge

    How much power is involved here?

    The losses must be huge - and I would imagine the rf radiation would require some legislation changes.

    And you wouldn't need a wiretap law - more of a limiter.

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