Theorists at the University of Illinois and Duke University published an exciting paper recently – how to get nearly light-speeds in areas that have 85% of the internet usage in the US. The plan is the cheapest of it’s kind – it calls for $253 M USD of initial capital on stream-lined towers, then another $96 M USD a year operating costs.
The authors admit it is a coarse plan, and a first-pass. These numbers are for a low, idealized tower construction cost, and an very long link distance (70 km). Even if all of these things work as optimistically predicted, the microwave usage called for would leave the short range connections short of spectrum to function as they do today.
Fog Optics completely believes this model is feasible, with a few tweaks. The cost will go up, as a 40 km – 50 km range is more realistic given the atmosphere, and the current plan will exhaust microwave used for short-range “backhaul”, so a different technology will have to pick up the slack.
We happen to have a solution for that last implementation issue.