The #last mile or #last kilometer is a phrase used by the telecommunications, cable television and internet industries to refer to the final leg of the telecommunications networks delivering communications connectivity to retail customers, the part that actually reaches the customer. Examples are the copper wire subscriber lines connecting telephones to the local telephone exchange, coaxial cable service drops carrying cable television signals from utility poles to subscribers’ homes, and cell towers linking local cell phones to the cellular network. The word “mile” is used metaphorically; the length of the last mile link may be more or less than a mile. Because the last mile of a network to the user is also the first mile from the user to the world when he is sending data (such as uploading), the term first mile is sometimes used.
To solve the problem of providing enhanced services over the last mile, some firms have been mixing networks for decades. One example is fixed wireless access, where a wireless network is used instead of wires to connect a stationary terminal to the wireline network. Various solutions are being developed which are seen as an alternative to the last mile of standard incumbent local exchange carriers. These include #wimax/a> and #broadband over power lines applications.
When leaving the telephone exchange, the ISDN30 cable can be buried in the ground, usually in ducting, at very little depth. This makes any business telephone lines vulnerable to being dug up during streetworks, liable to flooding during heavy storms, and subject to general wear and tear due to natural elements. Loss, therefore, of the ‘last mile’ means the nondelivery of calls to the business affected.
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