Saturday, January 5, 2008

Broadband reliability / Fiabilité de broadband

I've always assumed that one of the main drivers for fiber connections would be telework. Benoît Felten has a wonderful piece this week on Fiberevolution about how FTTH facilitates telework and how that, in turn, would have a key impact on the environment. I absolutely agree.

However, this will only happen if fiber is more reliable than current cable and DSL connections. Case in point, my cable modem connection (via Numericable) starting blinking in and out of service for a few days before losing the connection altogether. During my EUR 7 call to Numericable they tested the line and couldn't reach my modem so the problem was on their end. However, they also said they couldn't send someone out to look into the problem for at least one week. This is why I pay for both a DSL and cable connection at home. When one goes out I can quickly jump on the other.

The telecommunication world has long used statistics on the number of PSTN line faults and how long it takes operators to fix those faults once they've been notified. In the monopoly days, a week-long wait wasn't uncommon. However, now most PSTN faults are restored within 24 hours. It seems therefore that we are still be in the early stages of broadband development and operators treat residential connections as luxuries to users, rather than necessities. Until that mindset changes teleworking can't be a viable option for most users.

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