The future of fiber

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The future of fiber

“The capital markets may be skeptical, but physics is on the side of optical technology, explains Corning Optical Communications president Wendell Weeks.”

The McKinsey Quarterly, 2002 Number 2

Policy relevance:

This article helps to get a better feel for the future of fiber optics – and an informed opinion about broadband’s ability to transform the Internet. With the Barcelona Summit requesting eEurope 2005, to enable the EU to become the most innovative knowledge-based society by 2010, this article forms interesting reading.

Main conclusions from the interview with the President of Corning:

  • Business conditions are not worsening, current skepticism is a classic counterrevolution;
  • Broadband will transform the internet and the real ‘killer application’ for business is the power of next generation peer-to-peer applications and connections;
  • People really value high quality connections;
  • Subscription based software is a promising model, although the problem is that all the cost is in providing the connection and how to get the money to the provider of this connection;
  • There are two problems with competition for new data services:
    • The technology challenge increases by orders of magnitude because of complexity;
    • Companies might have moved too early.
  • There is a lot of innovation to be done in access and a lot of technology that can be applied, but someone’s got to want it and the market needs to be opened to competition;
  • It’s human nature to hang on too long to some things and not long enough to others;
  • The biggest growth will come from those who decide they want to solve the broadband problem. Countries that make broadband deployment a national priority have certain advantages.

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