Today’s Fiber Optic deployment is reminiscent of the demand and construction of telephone lines across the United States in the 1940s and 1950’s. Although telegraph lines stretched across the country in 1920, few homes had a telephone. Considered a luxury, especially during the Great Depression, many homes built during that time didn’t even have electricity, much less telephone. In fact, The first Telephone installed in the Oval Office was in 1939 for Herbert Hoover, the White House phone number was “1.”
World War Two stalled the progress of telephone across the country, although the nations largest open wire communication line was built in Alaska in 1943 to prevent sabotage and provide a secure line to the US during the war. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, fewer than one half of rural America had phones. Communications were most often handled by telegraph.
After the war, returning service men fueled the growth of the telecommunications industry. As homes were built outside of city centers, communications became more important. A build of historic importance and national pride was begun after their return, creating jobs and fueling growth in housing and other sectors. Transcontinental microwave towers began operating, linking more and more cities and towns together in 1952. Telephone lines were retrofitted into older homes and new homes had them built in. By 1970, there were 100 million phones in the United States.
Today, those 100 million homes and the millions of other homes built since then, don’t have a fiber optic connection. New homes being built have fiber installed to monitor HVAC and security but often those new homes don’t have the fiber to reach the curb.
That’s going to change. It’s a given. The need for bandwidth will drive the change. As our interests and needs grow and evolve so will our communications.
Just as we built the nations telephone exchanges in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s, we will build the Fiber Optic Network. This is just the beginning.