Last week I called in to CNet’s “The Real Deal” show. They had a guest in the studio whose job is, in effect, milking every last bit out of DSL so telephone companies can hold off on expensive fiber upgrades. One important thing to note is that the main deployment costs of fiber is the digging, stringing, etc. required to run any sort of wireline infrastructure. The fiber itself, and the electronics on the ends, are relatively cheap compared with, for example, coaxial hardline cable (the low-loss cabling that serves Comcast’s and other providers’ cable internet to your home).

If you want to hear my call, it’s at about 16:07 (minutes:seconds) into the video, a bit earlier in the audio. My question was simply whether Qwest, with their new VDSL2 technology, was able to reach as far as the last-generation (ADSL2+) technology. Or, put another way, would this next-gen technology mean that less people would get internet above 7 Mbps than if Qwest had just stuck with ADSL2+. The answer: VDSL2, on newer equipment, will fall back to ADSL2+ on longer loop (wire) lengths. Fun stuff.