Via WNYC Studios: The Takeaway

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If this country really has ambitions of having a 5G revolution like the one being talked about the Consumer Electronics Show this week, we need something else first.

Fiber optic connections that reach everyone.

“What it is is synthetic glass, in which the manufactured process is so carefully controlled that light can travel through that glass for many dozens of miles without using any of the signal that it’s carrying,” says Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution – and Why America Might Miss it.”

And here’s what she means when she says we might miss it: Of the 119 million households in the United States, only about 10 million have access to fiber connections. China, on the other hand, has a goal of connecting 300 million of its 455 million households to cheap, high capacity fiber by 2020.

Susan Crawford says fiber technology is the biggest tech story the United States should be paying attention to in 2019.

Listen to this segment here.