Central Western Daily, 9 July 2007
In the letter to the editor by Gary Reid on 4/7/07 entitled "Rudd Promises First Class Candidate", he asked what fibre to the node meant. It means fibre optic cable is used to carry the data to a node near the building where the very fast broadband will be connected, but not into the building. The last mile is still done using copper cable (traditional twisted pair phone cable). Each street will have a node in it. I guess you have seen those Telstra columns on the street corners where they lift the lid and you can see all those telephone line sockets and cables. The node housing will be similar to that but may be underground. The fibre optic cable is run from the exchange to the node in the street. From there the final mile is still done via copper. There are other ways to cover the last mile by using wireless broadband. Fibre optics is much faster than wireless in the order of gigabits per second. One fibre optic cable could service hundreds of houses without congestion. That is why if you can afford it, fibre optic cable is much better than wireless. Fibre optics is excellent for multimedia where you are delivering videos on demand or doing videoconferencing or Voice over IP (VoIP) phone calls like Skype which consume megabits per second. In Korean high rise apartment blocks, there is one fibre to the node connection on the ground floor and the whole building shares the fibre optic connection via a network of ethernet cabling going through the ducting of the building. People just plug into the ethernet jack on the wall to get internet access.
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