Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fiber Is The New Infrastructure

Infrastructure rebuilding dominates the news these days, as roads, bridges, water and power systems creak and fail with age. Major investments by both the private and public sector will be required for decades to modernize the national infrastructure. But along with simply refurbishing the facilities already in place and adding new capital, such as green energy, there is another infrastructure component that needs to be put in place. That's fiber optic broadband.

Fiber optic transport for voice, data and video is no longer an elite service for carrier backbones and specialized applications. It should be treated as a basic necessity for the business of the twenty first century. Wireline was adequate for the last century. This century needs telecommunication pipes that are transparent for the high bandwidth applications that will be in demand by both businesses and consumers. A few Mbps won't do it. What is considered fast today is going to seem as archaic as dial-up Internet access in a decade or two. There's really only one technology that has the potential to meet any need we can throw at it. That's fiber optic.

But infrastructure? How can you justify something like high speed Internet service as infrastructure? Easy. Business is more and more electronic in nature. It's also more and more interconnected than ever before. Do you still send contracts and drawings through the mail? How about purchase orders? Do customers still write letters to your customer service department starting with "Dear Sir or Madam"? I didn't think so.

It's happened gradually over the last 20 years or so. First came email, then Websites, then online shopping, electronic data interchange, CAD/CAM, and WAN networks as extensions of internal LAN computer networks. Now there's increasing pressure to implement electronic medical records and electronic every other record. That doesn't mean scanning-in paper records, storing them on disk and then printing them off when you need to review or mail a copy. It means electronic from inception through the entire life cycle of use and storage. With the right tools we may soon see the long heralded arrival of the paperless office as well as the paperless hospital, factory, warehouse, school and government agency.

There is tremendous productivity to be gained by making our business systems more electronic and more interactive. But you can't do that with a creaky old wireline telecom infrastructure. No more than a modern factory can run on line shafts powered by water wheels or steam engines. Electricity made the Twentieth Century. Fiber will make the Twenty First.

There is a lot of room for government support in building out a truly universal fiber optic communications infrastructure that will reach out into rural areas and permeate every building the way twisted pair copper wiring has become ubiquitous over the last hundred years. But private industry can make a certain amount of this happen on its own. The opportunity is obvious for greenfield projects such as new industrial parks or office buildings. In fact, it is almost irresponsible not to wire these projects with fiber optic cabling throughout, along with high bandwidth connections to the Internet and competitive telephone service carriers.

Savvy developers know this now and recognize the competitive advantage of offering their clients fiber optic broadband services as well as power, light, water, gas, sewer and roads. Fiber broadband can even be a profit center if the facilities manager contracts for the service and then resells it by the Mbps or Gbps. The higher the bandwidth, the lower the price per Mbps. Buying in bulk and then reselling at competitive rates can easily net a handsome profit on monthly lease rates. To explore this possibility, all you need to do is ask a friendly telecom consultant. You'll find a toll free number and online pricing engine available at

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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