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This week in telecom news, researchers say that due to the Internet's rapid growth, fiber optic cables are reaching their capacity limit. The General Accountability Office (GAO) suggested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collect more research data before conducting its annual broadband speed test.
Telecom and cable providers are making gains in the home security market, as they've more than doubled their number of customers since last year, and Deutsche Telekom is looking for potential partners for T-Mobile in the U.S.
Capacity limits in sight for fiber optic cables
The Internet's recent rapid growth could ultimately lead to its demise, as fiber optic cables that were once considered more than enough for eternity are closing in on their capacity limit, researchers at a Royal Society meeting in London discussed recently. Fiber optic cable has a power limit, and in order to ensure the continual growth of the Internet, researchers said they have to figure out how to increase those limits without relying on amplifying the signals, Gizmodo reported.
Fibers can't transmit an infinite capacity, and current technology is almost at its limit, according to researchers at the meeting. A possible fix to this point would be to "blast more power through the tubes and clean up the mess on the back end," according to Gizmodo. Engineers are also looking into new fiber that contains multiple cores capable of transmitting significantly more data.
GAO to FCC: Rethink broadband speed tests
The General Accountability Office chimed in on the Federal Communications Commission's plan to expand its annual broadband performance report, which would provide more relevant information for consumers, suggesting the FCC needs to think again and collect more information before proceeding. The GAO said the FCC should conduct extensive outside research on performance rather than relying solely on data provided by Internet service providers, as it does now, according to Multichannel News.
The FCC wants to expand its broadband speed target to 25 Mbps, which it said is the capacity needed for multiple video streams in the same household.
The GAO report said the FCC's annual broadband speed report is highly technical and filled with raw data that makes it of little use to the general public. The FCC said it will continue to provide performance information and reach out to consumers to provide effective performance measurements.
Telecom, cable providers grow home security customers
Telecom and cable providers are making gains in the home security market, according to a recent report from investment bank Imperial Capital, telecompetitor reported. Telecom and cable providers now have 1.2 million U.S. accounts, up from between 400,000 and 500,000 a year ago, the report said. Home alarm systems sold by cable and telecom providers use either wireless or broadband connectivity, whereas traditional systems used a central monitoring station via phone line.
Imperial Capital said cable and telecom providers had some marketing and customer service issues, but they are on track to create "serious dislocation" in the market, outpacing growth for small alarm companies.
Deutsche Telekom seeking U.S. T-Mobile partner
Deutsche Telekom (DT) wants a partner that will help improve the profitability of T-Mobile, the fourth-largest wireless provider in the U.S., Reuters reports. DT owns 66% of T-Mobile. DT CEO Tim Hoettges said the German telecom provider would consider taking on a partner to improve the operation.
In recent years, T-Mobile has struggled with customer loss, but Hoettges said T-Mobile added more than 8 million subscribers in 2014.
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