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by Mike Zazaian October 9, 2006 - 10:17am, 4 Comments

US Fiber Optics Connections Reach One Million

While Japan and South Korea are thoroughly connected with fiber optic networks, the US is slowly hitting higher speeds as its own Fiber-to-the-Home users increase in numbers.

According to Mike Render, an employee of the fiber optics consulting firm RVA, approximately 1,011,000 Americans have had fiber optic ethernet connections installed in their homes in lieu of traditional coaxial cable lines. Verizon is the primary culprit for fiber optics installation, pushing to make its FiOS network available to as many as 18 million homes by 2010.

The fiber optic lines laid by Verizon offer transfer rates as much as ten times faster than was possible with coaxial networks. Verizon’s technology is still far behind those already in use in Japan and South Korea, however, with fiber optics users in those downloading at speeds near 1 gigabyte per second.

The primary roadblock for Fiber optics in the US isn’t that it’s exorbitantly expensive to implement, but rather that most users don’t see it necessary to have it installed in place of existing coaxial lines. At about $933 per home to install, fiber optics are just a hair more expensive than the $800 per home than the figure that comes with traditional cable broadband. Coaxial lines don’t require the same large scale implementation that fiber optics do, however, as they’re available to anybody who already has cable TV.

Those who have dished out the money for the souped-up FiOS connection don’t seek only the faster transfer rates, but also believe the luxury of fiber optics can increase the value of a home by as much as ,500. Of course, this number will decrease sharply as fiber optic networks become more readily available, but in the short term it is a consideration for some.

But even with the large costs of the technology in the short term, Verizon sees it as paying off in the end. They hope to save as much as $1 billion by 2010, at which point they hope to get the cost of implementation down to $650 per home. Considering the cost has already fallen from $1,220 this past January, it wouldn’t be surprising if other innovations drove the cost down even further.

[via ars technica]