Last Mile

The last mile or last kilometer is a phrase widely used in the telecommunications, cable TV and internet industries to refer to the final leg of the telecommunications networks that deliver telecommunication services to retail end-users (customers). More specifically, the last mile describes the portion of the telecommunications network chain that physically reaches the end-user's premises. Examples are the copper wire subscriber lines connecting landline 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 conversely the first mile from the user's premises to the outside world when the user is sending data, the term first mile is also alternatively used.

Last mile is a term used in supply chain management and transportation planning to describe the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to a final destination. "Last mile" was adopted from the telecommunications industry which faced difficulty connecting individual homes to the main telecommunications network. Similarly, in supply chain management last mile describes the difficulty in transporting people and packages from hubs to final destinations. Last mile delivery is an increasingly studied field as the number of business to consumer (b2c) deliveries grow especially from e-commerce companies in freight transportation, and ride sharing companies in personal transportation. Some challenges of last mile delivery include minimizing cost, ensuring transparency, increasing efficiency, and improving infrastructure.

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