Use the plastic sheathing around the phone wires as a waveguide. With 1,000x more spectrum, you get 1,000 more speed. Glass fiber optic waveguides can carry 250 terabits. John Cioffi wants to apply similar techniques using the air gaps between the plastic surrounding a billion phone lines.
The proposed terabit DSL can use 300 GHz+ of spectrum, "submillimeter waves." Current DSLs use 100-500 MHz. Higher frequencies just wouldn't make it through a standard copper wire. The signals get weaker (attenuate) very quickly in copper. 500 MHz can only carry about 30 meters. Gigahertz, even less.
Cioffi proposes using the tiny air spaces between the plastic insulated wires as a "waveguide." The signal would travel over the air gaps, not the copper or plastic. Fiber optic, glass or plastic, "guides" the waves; why couldn't the plastic insulation do similar? (The waves are very, very small. They can easily fit in the gaps.) The signal is carried through the air between the wires, not on the copper wires.
Nobody's built a demonstration unit yet, but numerous very respected engineers are impressed by the concept. Using submillimeter frequencies, the telephone binders as waveguides, and massive calculations for "noise cancellation," speeds as high as a terabit should be possible.
Those specifications are at or slightly beyond the state of the art, so building the first unit is still to come. With support, Cioffi believes it can be done in just a few years and commercially soon after. That remains unproven but the industry is alive with enthusiasm. Technical presentation .
Terabit DSL Proposed By Stanford Professor John Cioffi
One Terabit 100 meters, 100 Gigabits 300 meters, 10 Gigabits 500 meters
I'm pretty sure it won't be that high, but with "unlimited" wireless it should become more of a factor. Parks Associates, a decent research house, just put out a survey, "10% of U.S. broadband households likely to cancel their fixed broadband Internet service over next 12 months. ... 15% of heads-of-household ages 25-34 are likely to cancel their fixed broadband service in the next 12 months."
Wireless broadband is now fast enough many places for almost all practical purposes. Much of the U.S. is covered at 20 meg or more, higher than most DSL. That's enough for 5 HD streams. The speeds in many locations are headed to 50-150 megabits over the next two years.
The limiting factor has been the cap, often at 2-10 gigabytes.
Estimate for 100% ultra-high speed goes from € 20 billion to € 34.9 billion. Cour des Comptes, the French government auditor, has recommended a rethink of France's plan to bring very high speed to 80% and high speed to 100%. They estimate the cost will be much higher and the expected private investors are not interested. Instead, they call for "un « mix technologique »"
Sebastian Soriano, chief of regulator ARCEP, warns of "rural desertification and the risk of decommissioning of certain territories, their inhabitants and their businesses." He recommends only modest changes to the plan, such as wholesale operators in rural areas.
Why bother to offload when your LTE is fast and unlimited? Growth rates seven years ago approached 100% as people first got iPhones. They are much lower now. Verizon last year saw about a 45% growth in data per customer, confirming a trend to lower growth in traffic. Cisco (and I) have been predicting this fall for the last three years because smartphones are now nearly ubiquitous. AT&T and others have been telling Wall Street that customers with smartphones were only increasing usage by about 40%. (Trends worldwide are similar but details deserve another article. Some charts below and at Cisco)
Technology in wireless is moving so rapidly that telcos could increase capacity 8-10X in the next few years without raising capex. They may not because they won't be able to sell so much data. Cisco projects a 7X increase in demand in five years, less than the potential capacity increase.
Strongman rulers delivering better results. We like to think democracy and openness are the keys to expanding broadband, and some very prominent ideologues have been making that claim. The data show otherwise. Egypt, the current growth leader, is a vicious military dictatorship. Vietnam remains a single-party socialist republic. The Chinese government has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, one of history's greatest achievements. The horrors of 1958-1975 are now in the past, but it remains an authoritarian state.
Thailand, #4 among nations with 1M or more connections, remains under a military government. #5 Belarus makes the Soviet Union look like a model Democracy. Among smaller countries, the leaders are Sri Lanka, Kosovo, and Syria. The growth rates for Q3 2016 of these countries ranged from 3% to 8%.
Much as we'd like to believe it, the evidence is clear broadband growth does not require openness, freedom of speech, public private partnerships, light touch regulation, or the other recommendations of the Washington Consensus. Nor is "multi-stakeholder" control required. These may be good things - I support most of them - but making stupid claims in public is not the way to achieve them.
200M wireless, 2M wired. Reliance just signed up 100M 4G subscribers in six months; India is likely to pass the U.S. in broadband connections by the end of the year. About 15M of those have DSL, mostly from government owned BSNL & MTNL. Bharti, which is the fourth largest telco in the world, has just connected DSL customer two million. The current offering is VDSL, which they sell as the misleading, "up to 100 megabits." I haven't found any evidence of vectoring nor a breakdown of actual speeds or distances. Based on the British experience, that means most customers will get 10 megabits to 50 megabits. They call it V-Fiber, a marketer's fantasy.
Reliance Jio is currently running fiber home, designed for a gig but apparently mostly sold at 100 megabits.