NTC/360 Network and Telecommunication Concepts
May 14, 2005
FIBER OPTICS IN OUR SCHOOLS
Fiber optic refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of information as light impulses along a glass or plastic wire or fiber, about the thickness of a human hair. Fiber optic wire carries much more information than conventional copper wire, and is far less subject to electromagnetic interference. A single glass fiber can carry the equivalent of 100 channels of television or 100,000 telephone calls, with even more capacity possible by encasing many fibers within one cable. Fiber optics was developed by Bell labs and Corning in the late 1960s. It does not experience signal degradation over distance as would coaxial cable. School districts are aware of the need for the upgrades to fiber optic cabling, but costs frequently preclude the upgrade. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rulings in October of 2004, that relieved incumbent local exchange carriers from having to share fiber networks that reach within 500 feet of homes, have led to plans by BellSouth to boost fiber deployments. Concern among competitors is that their ability to compete for business voice service will be hurt. (Quesada, 2004). But while the unbundling protection for fiber-to-curb is a blow to competitive local exchange carriers, BellSouth plans to increase deployments of fiber-to-the-curb by 40 percent in 2005, a move that will help decrease the cost for local school districts. Since any installation of new wiring is labor-intensive and costly, it is little wonder that school districts lag behind the corporate world in obtaining this superior technology. School districts are rarely provided with enough state and local funds to expand current technologies to encompass such upgrades. There are numerous programs and opportunities in place, however, that will allow even less affluent school districts to keep...