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In recent years, enormous progress has been made toward the introduction of fiber-based customer access networks, which allow for easy access to a large variety of services. In many countries, pilot projects are in operation or in an advanced planning stage. All these projects offer a multitude of existing or new services to the customer, often at a better quality than the existing telephone or cable television networks.
The standardization by CCITT of the Synchronous Digital Hierarchy,1 originally proposed by Bellcore under the name SONET (Synchronous Optical Network), opens the way to standard digital access equipment, operating at 155 Mb/s or 622 Mb/s. There is little doubt that in the near future broadband digital access based on fiber optic transmission will be installed on a large scale worldwide for business customers. This paper discusses the hurdles that have to be overcome to make "fiber to the residential customer" a viable option.