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2006


Backing Up Fiber-to-the-?

Curtis Ashton



Traditional phone companies have seen their telephone market share significantly eroded in the past few years mainly due to competition from wireless, cable TV companies, etc. To keep existing customers and regain market share, these companies believe they have to offer the “bundle”; i.e., wireless, wireline, broadband data, and video. The existing long copper loops in the ground are not going to provide the necessary broadband pipe to do the “triple play”. So, similarly to what the cable TV companies have done, fiber must be extended deeper into the network. The amount of power carried by fiber is so miniscule that the optical-to-electrical conversion electronics must be powered by some other means. Although lifeline telephone service is required to have 3-8 hours of battery (or similar alternatives) backup by various regulations in the U.S., those same regulations do not exist for high speed data and video service. As new fiber-based architectures are deployed, these phone companies must decide which services to back up, how much backup to provide, and how to maintain that backup power.


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