A soon-to-be-released standard could have significant ramifications for bringing Ethernet to the local loop or "last mile," according to a recent report by Cahners In-Stat Group.The report notes that a working version of the IEEE 802.3ah standard, which looks to spell out Ethernet broadband access topologies for both fiber and copper, should be in place by the end of 2002. When it arrives, the report states, it should bring a number of advantages, including network simplicity, reduced infrastructure costs, increased bandwidth per dollar of infrastructure and easier provisioning. These benefits should make Ethernet an attractive alternative to T1, T3, frame relay, ATM and Sonet access technologies, the report says. Ethernet in the last mile faces bigger hurdles in the consumer market, however, where entrenched cable and DSL providers may not be inclined to implement the new technology, at least in the near term, according to In-Stat. The Ethernet technologies must also work well over copper wire, as very few residential customers have fiber running to their homes. For more information, visit www.instat.com.