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Recent successes in transporting optical power near the 1-W level via optical fiber suggest that it may be possible to operate conventional telephone station sets using electricity derived photovoltaically from light in a fiber. The authors investigate the constraints on optical powering in fiber-in-the-loop (FITL) applications and assess its applicability in terms of end-to-end efficiency, loop length, and system cost. To make this assessment, they look at several different optical-powering system architectures and components vis-a-vis their cost-versus-delivered-power capability. Related issues such as safety and reliability are discussed.