The world is getting rewired with fiber-optic cable, and the process makes for a lot of holes in city streets. A ZDNet story claimed that the optical fiber being laid worldwide this year would stretch from the earth to the moon and back 117 times. Wired News brought the figure down to earth: "There are 22 telecommunications service providers in town right now digging up the streets," according to a San Diego cable TV honcho.
The New York Times ran a brief, unsigned note on Cable & Wireless' plan to build a nationwide fiber-optic network in Japan. The company plans to wire corporate clients in 80 cities at a cost of $1.4 billion, according to the Times.
Wired's Joanna Glasner focused on Denver's FrontierVision Partners, one of only a few companies aiming to bridge the "last mile" to consumers with optical fiber. Glasner surveys the economics of such a build-out to consumers and leaves the reader questioning whether the pioneers like FrontierVision will ever recover their initial investment. Glasner quotes Conard Holton, editor-in-chief of the networking trade publication WDM Solutions: "The cost-benefit analysis is a really tough one."
Let's hope both FrontierVision and C&W have manufacturing agreements in place to procure all the fiber they're going to need. According to a lengthy ZDNet analysis by Bill Scanlon, fiber-manufacturing capacity around the world is stretched to it limits, and no relief is in sight until at least 2004. According to Scanlon, the big fiber makers are picking and choosing which customers they'll even talk to. Corning is expanding its manufacturing capacity in North Carolina, Australia and Wales. Alcatel is building out in Germany, North Carolina and Paris. Lucent is spending $1 billion to upgrade its plants in Brazil, China, Denmark, Georgia and North Carolina. Sounds like the guys dreaming big dreams of wiring the world in fiber ought to camp out in North Carolina. - Keith Dawson
Fiber Optic Agreement in Japan
New York Times
Coming Soon: Fiber to the Home
Fiber Shortage Has Carriers Scraping