Science, politics and the optics of broadband

From 2.5 Gbps in 1990 to 400G in 2012, the optical technology keeps getting better. Good news for Internet. What’s bad is that our access to the Internet remains in control of oligopolies who are the real gatekeepers of our broadband future, not science or technology.

3 tech breakthroughs that will help boost our digital & online future

As we become more and more reliant on silicon and bandwidth, the need for fundamental technology breakthroughs has never been more acute. Scientists are working on those solutions and the marriage of optical and silicon is an area of immense focus. Here are three notable breakthroughs.

DSL Trembles (a Tad) As Fiber Rumbles

Fiber broadband is finally coming into its own, thanks to the growing number of fiber broadband deployments across the world. However, fiber broadband’s growing popularity is coming at the cost of DSL, one of the more widely deployed broadband technologies

In Japan, Many Undersea Cables Are Damaged

The horrific earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in Japan have caused widespread damage to undersea communications, according to data collected by telecom industry sources. Initially, the damage to the cables that connect Japan to other parts of the world was said to be limited.

Despite Quake Japan’s Undersea Cables Still Hold

Japan is a hub for trans-Pacific undersea cables that provide Internet access between many regions of the world. About 20 submarine cables land in Japan, giving Friday’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake the potential to disrupt communications around the globe. Luckily reports of cable damage have been low.

For the Web Delivered at Light Speed: Go With the Flow

MIT’s brains have figured out how to deliver a faster Internet using optical connections throughout the entire transmission, which could result in a web that’s up to 1,000 times faster, cheaper and more power efficient. But this faster network requires new routers — an expensive proposition.

Miami Firm Plans First U.S.-Cuba Fiber Optic Cable

istock_000004000555xsmallIn a move that could have a major impact on the lives of Cubans, a small Miami-based firm is hoping to give the isolated island nation its first-ever fiber optic connection to the rest of the world. TeleCuba Communications Inc. said the U.S. government has approved its effort to link Key West with the Havana suburb Cojimar via a 110-mile cable by 2011, which could drastically lower international calling rates and make the Internet more accessible for Cubans.

Cuba — which is the only nation in the Western Hemisphere without a fiber optic link to the outside world — has yet to give final approval to land the cable, and the Cuban government would set calling rates and could restrict web access. But it’s tough to overstate how important fiber optic access could be. While Cuba currently uses slow, expensive satellite links, TeleCuba’s cable would support 8-10 terabits per second, enough for more than 160 million simultaneous phone calls. So while Cubans may still be stuck with antiquated American cars, they may soon have access to modern American broadband — and that could be very good news for the Cuban economy.