We’d be lucky to be able get wireguided communications to 10 percent of homes in the countries we work in. But we can reach 75 percent plus homes with wireless even now. So we’re all for getting fiber to neighborhoods and are quite agnostic about the access network as long as it’s wireless. In places where they got money, life is not that simple. The bills to pay for those who get the answer wrong are quite high. Full story in the Economist.
Basic copper and cable internet access cannot run faster than about 5 megabits per second, which is just about fast enough to watch something on YouTube or for a video chat over Skype. But networks seldom run as fast as advertised. The cable networks upgraded with fibre can run at speeds in the hundreds of megabits per second, enough to handle most present-day applications and many in the immediate future, like high-definition video. Yet Verizon’s network could leave these in the dust. In tests in Massachusetts its fibre network has run as fast as 10,000 megabits per second, and it could go faster.
This puts Verizon in a tricky position. Its old copper network, still 40% of its customer base, is not fast enough but FiOS is faster than most consumers need. So the company is having to weather the transition to a time when faster networks become more important. On October 22nd Verizon said that its overall revenue, at $26.5 billion in the third quarter, was 2.9% down on the same period a year ago. Its mobile-phone division performed strongly, with revenue rising by 6%, to $16.3 billion. But its wireline business remained under pressure: revenue fell by 3.6% in the period and operating profit slumped by 90%.