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Tells you what's happening in Telecommunications around the world

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Trends in telecoms
Wireline and wireless access platforms
Photo credit: AFP
Connecting fibre-optic cables in a junction box of an apartment building

Advances in cable modem and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks promise to dramatically increase the speeds at which businesses and consumers can access Internet content and applications. The cable television industry is using DOCSIS 3.0 to offer theoretical download speeds of up to 160 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 120 Mbit/s. Some cable operators in the United States are already offering speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s to large portions of their coverage areas. Japan’s Cablenet is offering a 160-Mbit/s service tier and the United Kingdom’s Virgin Media is piloting a 200-Mbit/s tier, with an eye towards offering a 400-Mbit/s tier in the future.

Within the telephony industry, FTTH networks are the current next-generation wireline alternative to (coaxial) cable-based technologies. Fibre can offer very high bandwidth to consumers and businesses. Some FTTH providers are already delivering 1 Gbit/s to residential customers in Hong Kong (China), the Republic of Korea, Germany, Australia, Portugal, Amsterdam (Netherlands), Japan, Sweden and the United States.

Meanwhile, wireless access networks based on 3G and 4G technologies are making the Internet available to more people. HSPA networks — commonly known as 3.5G networks — have proliferated in many countries.

Commercial WiMAX networks have been deployed in more than 147 countries, covering 620 million people. LTE, a technology that competes with WiMAX, also enjoys widespread adoption by major carriers, but deployment and operation of LTE networks is far behind WiMAX.

Backers of both WiMAX and LTE networking technologies have applied for ITU’s IMT-Advanced certification, which requires 100 Mbit/s mobile download and 1 Gbit/s fixed download speeds. WiMAX-Advanced and LTE-Advanced, as they are now known, could be deployed as early as 2012. These IMT-Advanced systems are considered to be true 4G technologies.


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