According to the research firm CRU group around 19 million miles of optical fiber were installed last year in the US, the most since the Internet bubble burst in 2000. Corning Inc, a leading maker of optical fiber has sold record volumes in the past year and has told customers it cannot guarantee that their orders would be filled.
These are still early days but some experts are calling this as a new boom for the fiber optics industry which has been through a rough patch till late. The demand has risen primarily due to exploding Internet video traffic, requests from the finance sector for faster trading connections and increasing mobile phone use which needs to be tied to land line networks. The 2009 economic stimulus package had set aside $7.2 billion for telecom projects also helped.
Some skeptics have cautioned whether there is enough demand to build more. On one hand trading firms are ready to pay more for faster connections and on the other hand some worry that new government regulations regarding high frequency trading could shrink the market. Skeptics also query how high mobile traffic would materialize given the huge cost involved in delivering wireless data.
Cisco systems predict that mobile data traffic will almost double by the year 2015. But Andrew Odlyzko, a math professor at the University of Minnesota who had warned almost a decade ago about slower Internet growth than expected, says the predictions about skyrocketing mobile traffic are overly optimistic. He is of the opinion that mobile bandwidth is expensive to increase. Each cell phone data connection runs through a phone company’s cell phone tower into a landline telecom network.
Although there is a buzz in the fiber Internet industry, some companies are not overly excited as they are wary of the 2001 collapse which wiped out millions of dollars in stock value.
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