If fiber and cable provide faster data rate transmission speeds than DSL services, have you ever wondered why many ISPs offer DSL?
Why We Need DSLDigital Subscriber Line (DSL) is a type of access technology that delivers high-speed data via legacy copper lines. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will oftentimes opt for DSL technology to extend the life of legacy copper lines and forego costly infrastructure investments. This post is part of a three-part series that overviews the History of DSL, Different DSL Types, and Different xDSL Equipment Types. Click here for Part II of the series which overviews the different DSL technologies available. Telephone companies initially deployed copper lines to support a booming analog telephone industry. But with the emergence of new communication modes such as cellular data and the Internet, the demand for landline phones plummeted. As a result, telephone companies pivoted into becoming ISPs and repurposed copper lines to deliver high-speed broadband. But faster access technologies such as cable and fiber have caused DSL’s market share to steadily decline. According to TheNextWeb “DSL is the second-ranked access technology... At the end of June 2013, the 31 million DSL connections, or 34 percent of the fixed broadband market, lost 258,000 lines”. The future of DSL faces a paradox —while deployments are declining, the demand to deliver faster speed via copper lines is on the rise. New copper transmission methods such as G.Fast have achieved up to 1 Gbps in laboratory settings. Evolving DSL technologies such as G.Fast will prolong the utility of the legacy infrastructure. In addition, copper cables can be paired with fiber to create Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) deployments, a more cost-efficient alternative to Fiber-To-The-Curb (FTTC) deployments. Though DSL is a mature technology, DSL is by no means obsolete.
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