"Fiber Versus Copper" Argument is Stale

Telecom network strategists have been debating the feasibility of copper, optical fiber and mixed-media access networks for a few decades. But a couple of developments show how “stale” many of those arguments have become.

For starters, with the rise of hybrid fiber coax as the leading platform for consumer Internet access in the United States, and the leader in gigabit access availability, “sustainable bandwidth,” not access media, is the issue.

It is becoming irrelevant what the access medium happens to be. What consumers are buying is fast Internet access, that can be supplied in a growing number of ways.

Also, rapid advances in fixed wireless and mobile platforms will make wireless a viable and sustainable way to supply huge amounts of bandwidth to fixed locations.

Ronan Dunne, O2 UK’s former CEO and new Verizon Wireless president, thinks the arguments about “fiber versus copper” are stale.

“My sense is that there’s a more forward looking context for the delivery of regulation and policy there, which is adopting the notion of a digitally-led mobile first,” Dunne said.

“In the longer-term, we will forget this stupid debate about rolling out fiber cables,” he said.
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