BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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86 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 TECHNOLOGY 10 Gigabits: The Next Frontier Over the last year, several network providers have launched 10 Gbps residential Internet services. But that's just the frst sign of a much larger network transformation. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities T he frst announcement came in December 2014: US Internet, a small competitive ISP, revealed that it was launching 10 gigabits per second residential Internet service in Minneapolis. Te idea seemed improbable. Ten gigabits – when most consumers hadn't even heard of a gigabit? Who would pay $300 a month for Internet service, anyway? A year later, enough fber-to-the-home providers have followed suit that 10 Gbps can legitimately be called a trend. VTel, a small incumbent telco in Vermont, introduced 10 gigabit speeds in June. Salisbury, N.C., became the frst 10 gigabit city when its municipal provider, Fibrant, made 10 Gbps service available anywhere in the city. EPB Fiber Optics in Chattanooga – which had laid claim to being the frst gigabit city in 2010 – quickly introduced NextNet, its new 10 gig Internet service. Rocket Fiber, a brash startup launched by Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert, made its debut in November with residential speeds up to 10 Gbps. Other providers have said they will start ofering 10 Gbps speeds in 2016. Why are they doing it? How are they doing it? And when will your customers and residents start asking for 10 Gbps speeds? MAKING A SPLASH Residential customers are not asking for 10 Gbps speeds today. Most of their devices and home networks can't handle that speed, and no consumer applications are available for which 10 Gbps would make a diference. Te fact that service providers are pricing the 10 Gbps tier at $300 or more per month indicates that they don't expect it to be a true consumer product. Tat doesn't mean no one will purchase the service. A few days after EPB Fiber Optics launched NextNet, it announced its frst 10 Gbps customer: Dr. Jim Busch, a radiologist and entrepreneur in Chattanooga. He downloads and uploads massive diagnostic image fles at his home ofce, and high-speed fber optic Internet is critical for him. "I've had a great experience every time EPB upped their Internet speeds," Busch said at the time. "You don't know how big a diference it's going to make until you have it in place." He added, "In my feld, fber optic speeds save lives." Harold DePriest, EPB's president and CEO, said he expected other Chattanooga residents to use the 10 Gbps service "to push the boundaries in ventures ranging from health care and 3D printing to flm production and software development." Serving the few home-based businesses that will beneft from 10 Gbps speeds doesn't warrant major technology investments or press conferences. However, service providers do have two good reasons to ofer 10 Gbps: competitive positioning and preparation for future demand. US Internet launched its 10 Gbps service in Minneapolis only four months after CenturyLink announced 1 Gbps service there. Neither deployment is citywide, but the two providers may compete head-to-head soon, if they aren't doing so already. A top speed of 10 Gbps sets US Internet apart from other local providers. (US Internet has since added 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps speed tiers.)