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Since the early 1990s, the telecom industry has struggled to solve the “last mile problem.” In its initial stages, the problem centered around an information superhighway (later known as the internet) that connected together government, universities and large corporations in urban areas. The benefit of adding more users was obvious.

Unfortunately, the infrastructure of copper phone lines couldn’t handle all the data, at least with existing technology. Thus, the “last mile” of connectivity—from the bundle of wires in a box on the street to the individual end user—was the most difficult and expensive to complete. Eventually, technical feats improved quality, which connected more users and spurred more infrastructure investment. If you have affordable, high-quality broadband in your home, please toast the engineers who solved the last mile problem in your locale.

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