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Dark Fiber Week in Review

July 05, 2014

Dark Fiber Week in Review

By David Gutbezahl
TMCnet Contributing Writer

The need to be connected is growing, and with it the need to use more dark fiber networks. Reports regarding dark fiber networks abound. Let's shine a little light on this week’s news in dark fiber.

Trade groups NL Kabal and Cable Europe have released a report stating just how important it is for there to be advances in dark fiber technology. Currently broadband is delivering speeds average speeds of 30 Mbps, a number that may not be considered sufficient in the near future. According to the report, within the next six years consumers may be demanding faster speeds, estimated at 165 Mbps. These numbers may become a difficult goal to achieve unless Internet Service Providers become dedicated to increasing their output.

Fast enough speeds do exist, with many companies providing services that can go up to 500 Mbps, or even 1 Gbps. Unfortunately, one article shows that the price of these services may be too exorbitant, reaching into triple digits. Such prices can lead to a very slow uptake for these services, and can harm the development of faster broadband services.

AT&T (News - Alert) is one company that has announced the introduction of a 1 Gbps broadband speed. This week it was announced that AT&T will be providing 1 Gbps broadband speeds to a Chapel Hill, NC. The new network, made entirely of fiber, will be able to provide 1 Gbps, while also providing cutting-edge TV and Voice services. The decision to provide the fiber optic network to Chapel Hill comes as part of the North Carolina Next Generation Network initiative, a partnership between several cities and universities with the goal of building higher speed networks in North Carolina.

Evidence of the growth in market for fiber optics came from a report by Communications Industry Researchers. According to Communications Industry Researchers' “Active Optical Markets – Data Center Applications” has revealed that the sale of active optical cables for data centers will increase to $1.5 billion by 2019.

A growing force in the fiber optic industry, Birch Communications has been focusing its attention to spreading its networks to southeastern United States. It was reported this week that Birch Communications has made moves in this direction, extending their network into Eastern Kentucky. The company unrolled 11,520 strand miles into Kentucky. This new network will provide speeds between 1 and 20 Mbps, with the ability to provide private 1 Gbps networks.

While Kentucky is getting faster Internet speeds from Birch Communications, Illinois will be gaining access to a tool that will help them find the best fiber optic networks. SolveForce will be providing a real-time tool as a free service to those in Illinois. This tool will allow users to search through fiber optic services in the area, and upon selection will be contacted by a salesperson from SolveForce in order to make arrangements for the broadband service.

While the report from NL Kabal and Cable Europe may point to a dearth in broadband speeds, the other news released this week seems more positive, with increased speeds being spread in different areas, it seems clear that broadband services will be able to handle the need for more speed. Have a great Fourth of July, and be sure to check back in next week for even more news.

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