Saturday, July 23, 2011

Copper vaporware as AT&T chief declares DSL obsolete

Every couple of years or so, an article like this one by Tara Seals of V2M appears arguing legacy copper telecommunications infrastructure designed for a pre-Internet analog era is far from obsolete. Technical innovations can extend its lifespan, even as bandwidth demand is increasingly challenging its carrying capacity, particularly from Over The Top (OTT) video content:

Telcos are seeking cost-effective solutions to maximize their legacy infrastructure. Reducing crosstalk across copper bonded pairs using the ITU-T G.vector standard (G.993.5), introducing software solutions to maximize network logistics and using caching in the network are all solutions that are occurring right now, as telcos position themselves to meet the rapidly growing consumer OTT demand.

If that's the case, then why did AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson declare this week that the workhorse technology that has transported Internet protocol content over AT&T's copper network for the past decade and a half -- Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) -- is obsolete?

What about that innovation to stave off copper obsolescence? If it were for real instead of vaporware hype, it would truly provide AT&T tremendous opportunity to offer more wireline Internet services to a lot more customers over its legacy copper plant. Clearly for AT&T, that's not the case as the telco shifts away from residential wireline and is instead concentrating capital expenditures on personal wireless services.

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