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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

FTTH article holds good

Despite being 2 years old, and written from a US perspective, this article To Overbuild or Underbuild? by Dr Merrion Edwards of Corning, covers some interesting points for anyone interested in FTTH deployment.
The article includes open access vs closed networks, opex and capex costs, business models, and penetration rates for profitability, particularly in municipalities.

Opex and capex are complex to model as each network will invariably be different, but until we start seeing real FTTH in the UK (not some watered down FTTX ADSL2 type service), it will be difficult to know how costs will pan out. Just dealing with UK agencies (Highways, planning departments etc) is going to hinder progress until the message about the importance of FTTH reaches all areas of the public sector. Many of these agencies have not yet got the climate change models adopted into their policies, so FTTH may take some doing; although the fact that it clearly impacts health, education, e-gov, environment and energy usage, and many other areas of daily life may help!

Perhaps the most interesting comment in the article is that 2 years ago it was felt that 35Mbps of bandwidth would be required per consumer. This was before Youtube, iPlayer etc so it would be not unfair to assume that this may have doubled in the intervening time. This leaves services of 50Mbps-100Mbps planned for 2010 - 2012 already appearing impoverished and potentially insufficient.

Municipalities and others looking at FTTH network build need to consider the effect on not just the economy, but also on consumers if the all new Mother of all broadband services are potentially going to be insufficient, even at launch, particularly in the run up to general and local elections, the Olympics etc.

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