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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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August 27, 2008 11:05 AM

Qwest Also Claims Fiber Optic Mantle - It's Time to Drop The Acronyms

After lambasting cablecos yesterday for touting their fiber optic networks, I today discovered the same practice underway from Qwest, which goes so far as to call its service "Qwest Fiber Optic Internet Service."

But of course, like the cablecos, these claims are somewhat deceiving as Qwest has been vocal in its lack of support for deploying fiber all the way to the home.

Yet the problem still stands that by the definition of Qwest and the cablecos, basically any and every ISP offers fiber optic service since they all rely on fiber optics to interconnect communities and get from the central office onto the Internet.

In other words, we're allowing the meaning of fiber optics to become so muddled that it's going to become meaningless to the average consumer when someone comes to lay fiber all the way to their home.

I blame this in part on the efforts to denote full fiber networks as FTTH, FTTP, FTTN, FTTx, etc.

I can understand why these acronyms were created in the first place and that their initial intent was to help distinguish different types of fiber deployment. But as an unintended result of this I think we're affording those network operators not deploying fiber to the front door to get away with obscuring their lesser investments by wrapping themselves in the guise of fiber optic service.

And there's only one clear way to fix this: put an end to the acronyms.

Instead, we should be saying that only full fiber networks can claim to deliver fiber optic service, that everyone else has to call their service copper-based, and that anyone defying these new definitions deserves so much public scrutiny and shame so as to force them to end these deceptive marketing practices.

I don't know if it's realistic to think we can make this semantic shift a reality as suppliers don't want to upset those clients that aren't deploying full fiber networks, obviously those clients have no interest in giving up their claims to offering fiber optic service, and out of the entities deploying fiber only Verizon has the national clout to push the needle on this issue, and they're probably not overly worried given the growing strength of the FiOS brand regardless of what their competitors claim to offer.

So I may be tilting at windmills with this rallying cry, but I do think that if we can't find a way to insure overzealous marketers aren't destroying consumer awareness about the value of full fiber networks, then the hill we have to climb to achieve a full fiber nation will only get steeper.

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