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August 19, 2016

Gee, that's fast.

As a former network planner, I have to tell you the world in flux is hard to watch.

It was not a surprise to me that The Wall Street Journal found Google Fiber had troubles and struggled in deployment - to the point where they were rethinking their solution and need to be in the business.  What was a surprise was that it made the front page.

You see the game changing often is subtler.

 When we first worked on recommendations to Level 3, our general sense was  you only needed two data centers to provide service across the U.S.

When I first worked on SONET rings, I wondered how long before the central office was going to be looked at as something to bypass.

Now I drive by the fiber coils on the poles and think to myself, how does this change the connection point in the central office? 

And then I wonder, is there anything left in all that copper?

This became particularly ponderous to me as I drove out to a friend in one of those developments that got built without phone poles.   Where the Controlled Environment Vault housed a DSLAM. 

I probably have you bored to at this point, so lets cut the glass and talk about copper.

You see G.Fast as a protocol has come of age and Sckipio has gotten its implementation up to 2Gbps with bonding and has broken down some of the distance limitations as well.  The result is that there is life in copper.  Not only that, but the existing copper is being mixed in with fiber and satellite services to change the economics in every thing from MDU to home delivery.

Talking to Michael Weissman about an implementation they did with Windstream and Calix’s AXOS solution, I was struck by how copper was now starting to resemble the early fiber market.  

In the old days, Level3 and Global Crossing would have excess capacity to sell as they deployed local services. Now, the copper in MDUs and existing installments are assets worth reconnecting to deliver the need speeds.

In contrast to some of the small cell costs, I would say copper has found a sweet spot again. 

Because “Gee. It’s Fast.” 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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