Electrical contractors and datacom installers will soon have the opportunity to capitalize on their V/D/V experience. According to the IEEE, three U.S. phone companies are planning on building fiber optic networks to the curb as early as the first quarter of 2004. The all-optical link into homes or businesses can provide a bit rate of nearly 20Mb/s, which is almost 40 times the rate of a cable modem. Fiber-to-the-curb networks will give homes and businesses the necessary bandwidth and speed to do video-on-demand, high-speed file sharing, and videoconferencing.
Verizon, BellSouth, and SBC have developed common specifications that allow vendors to build products that can be used by all phone companies. One fiber, which is about the same length as a current copper loop, will serve as many as 32 customers. Since it could take nearly a decade to replace existing copper networks, the phone companies will initially build all-fiber local loops at new developments.