Plastic fibres to bring cheap super-fast broadband

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New York, Jan 13 (UNI) Engineers have developed cheap and easy-to-install plastic optical fibres, which they hope would remove the bottleneck on broadband speeds over the last few hundred meters to a user's computer.

Homes and businesses across Europe may soon receive ultra high-speed broadband over these cheap wires optical fibres.

Glass optical fibres form the backbone of high-speed data networks, but the branches into homes and businesses are old-fashioned copper connections.

In 2006, the European Union funded researchers to further develop the plastic optical fibres, which have been used in niche markets like security for years.

The initiative, called POF-ALL (Paving the Optical Future with Affordable Lightning-fast Links) is headed by researchers at the Instituto Superiore Mario Boella, affiliated with the Politecnico di Torino, in Torino, Italy. Other partners included teams from the Netherlands and Germany, New Scientist reported.

Plastic optical fibres have many benefits over copper. Anybody can install a plastic optical fibre, they are cheaper than copper wire when installed in big volumes, and it gives a remarkable increase in speed.

Also, being tough, flexible, and immune from electrical interference, plastic cables can be threaded along side existing electrical wiring, instead of needing dedicated shielded conduits like copper.

Tests have shown that the plastic fibre can reach speeds of 100 megabits per second through 300 metre long plastic fibres.

UNI XC YA HS1331

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