Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Comcast matches Verizon Fios speeds | CNET

I get allot of my tech news from CNET News, but I think their headlines are sometime misleading. Today they reported Comcast matches Verizon Fios speeds, implying that Comcast is reacting to Verizon. Of course the Verizon spokesperson chotelled such in the article.

For those of use that have worked in telecom, we know that this is bunk. Cable so far exceeds any offer a wire line carrier can give you that there is no rational comparison. See, to most people, the networks of the world are just a big nebulous cloud in the middle of a wiring diagram. As for me, I helped build the cloud.

Here's the deal: Phone companies (like Verizon) use a star topology. They run wires from the CO (central office) to your home. This was an architecture that Bell designed for Washington, DC, in the 1880's. Cable companies run trunk lines, and peel off a network segment to your home. This is the same construction we see in an ethernet architecture. Now which would you rather have-- 1880's wire line service or ethernet?

Still not convinced? If a cable trunk line fails, thousands of customers loose service. If the phone company looses a DSL repeater in the CO, a dozen customers loose service. Needless to say, the cable companies are much more responsive.

Then there is basic physics. Most cable companies actually have fiber trunk lines. Most phone companies still have wire trunk lines. Until they migrate to fiber, they'll never match what Comcast offers.

The bad thing about this story is they are only upgrading service in four cities. The good news is-- I live in one of the four! Woo Woo Woo. More bandwidth! Yeah!

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