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June 1, 2010 9:18 AM

China Telecom Set To Singlehandedly Match US Fiber Deployment

In yet another sign of the gaping chasm between America's broadband trajectory and the rest of the world, China Telecom has announced that they're going to install a fiber network that passes 18 million homes this year.

To put that into context, there are barely 18 million homes passed by fiber in the entire US today.

The vast majority of those passings have been made by Verizon, but Verizon's publicly indicated its intentions to slow down and even stop their fiber deployment.

While there are lots of other deployers and cities considering fiber, we have no clearcut champion ready to pick up Verizon's slack. Because of this America's year-to-year growth of fiber penetration is expect to slow.

So while America hits a plateau of next generation networks at about 18 million passings, China's ramping up to see 18 million homes passed in a single year.

Like Tasmania that I mentioned previously, the arguments against fiber's viability in the US (that we're too big and too spread out) don't hold water when a country like China, which is bigger and sparser, proves that the impossible is possible.

So how can we read this turn of events as anything other than the US not just being caught up to but that we're actually getting passed by countries large and small who are more committed to equipping their citizens with truly next generation communications infrastructure.

While elsewhere in the world countries are banding together, committing serious capital, and figuring out plans to accelerate their digital economies as quickly as possible, here in the US we're stuck in the slow lane, with nothing in the form of a concrete action plan for how we can keep up with the rest of the world.

News like that coming out of China simply takes these complaints about the US not doing enough out of the theoretical and throws them into stark reality. China's getting ready to start lapping the US. So what are we going to do about it?

Unfortunately, based on the current trajectory of our nation, the answer appears to be not much.

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