Forget The Last Mile, It's Inside The Home That Will Cause IPTV Problems

from the pricey,-pricey,-pricey... dept

The story of bringing fiber optics to the home has always been that it was that "last mile" that was the killer in terms of cost. More recently, some people have trimmed that down to the last "fifty feet" or so, as it's just that final connection that seems so costly. However, others are beginning to realize there's another cost on the other side -- once you're in the home. People working to set up IPTV systems (often associated with fiber to the home, though it doesn't have to be) are discovering that anyone who wants to set up a few TVs is costing the provider a lot of money -- and it's money that the service provider simply can't charge for, or no one will sign up for the service. This is why some providers will do things like offer free installation only for one or two rooms. However, it appears that one big area for development is creating systems to make it easier to transmit high bandwidth offerings within the house cheaply. Over time, this should sort itself out, but as long as the expenses are still high, it certainly could limit early adoption, as no one will want to pay the cost of setting up the system when the existing system that's already in place is seen as "good enough." One answer may be to look to wireless systems, as running wires is a good part of the expense. Unfortunately, most wireless systems are still capacity constrained in a way that won't help solve this problem any time soon.

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  • identicon
    Lawrence, 11 May 2005 @ 5:57am

    What about CAT5?

    In Japan fiber installations are, depending on your timing, anywhere between Y0 - Y30,000. They string the expensive, time-consuming fiber to the roof outside your house, hide a splice inside a box and run a thinner, more maneuverable cable through a wall. Once inside they give you a modem that takes fiber and outputs CAT5 (ethernet) cable.
    What's so expensive about running the CAT5 around a house for extra TVs, or even running it outside the house and into each wall? They have to do this with regular coax for cable TV, and with CAT5 the expensive time consuming fiber installations aren't a problem.
    And ethernet's plenty fast enough for any consumer use for the forseeable future.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ram A M, 11 May 2005 @ 1:20pm

      Re: What about CAT5?

      There is a cool technology used in high end construction and retrofits called conduit. The idea is you run PVC or whatever where you want to be able to run wires and then you pull wires through. Need more wires, pull them through. Pretty cheap, real easy. Solves all the worlds problems.

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  • identicon
    Beck, 11 May 2005 @ 8:34am


    I love it when the cable guy comes to the house with his foot-long drill bit and starts drilling holes through the siding into the house, and through the floors to the basement.

    Maybe architects can design built-in passageways for future cabling required in a house.

    I know a guy who about ten years ago had his newly constructed house wired with CAT5 to support his computer network, only to realize a couple of years ago that the wiring is obsolete due to the advent of wireless home networks. He also wired all of his cable outlets from a central point with RG5, and now wishes it was RG6.

    The point is that the delivery method changes, and it would be nice if houses could provide easy methods to adapt so that the outside of the house doesn't become a web of wires drilled through the walls.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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