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Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Japan again

It really is more than time to read it and weep. It is time for many of the informed consultants, ex-telco workers, whistle blowers, and informed grassroots folk to really bust some of the telco myths about costs of FTTH. If the Japanese telcos can provide 100Mbps symmetrical FTTH for £30/month, then why can't we?

We know opex costs for FTTH are way lower than for ADSL, for starters. We know that the ROI on FTTH infrastructure investment is down to less than a decade (where telco returns used to be 15-20 years), we know that the cost of data is now approaching zero, we know that once FTTH is enabled, customers flock to it out of choice over ADSL, we know that energy bills etc are substantially reduced.

So, what is going on?? Why are the telcos being allowed to hold a nation such as the UK over a barrel with their dithering and, one could almost consider saying, "Lies, damned lies and statistics".

And it isn't just the telcos. There was a consensual holding of breath when DBERR spoke at the BSG conference about there being no evidence of need yet for British business and consumers. Did we really hear right? Are the DTI really saying that to such an informed audience? The breath-holding continued with Antony Walker's sop to the telcos about not doing it yet, but doing it right.

It is time for many flowers to bloom. There won't be one correct solution. There won't be one national network. There may well be new technologies in a few years which surpass what the early adopters put in. But as with all techie developments, when they first come out, there will inevitably be some issues, standards to develop, and higher costs to deploy. So, the early adopters have a chance to start educating the market, creating that 'desire' for something better, encouraging competition in the market place, innovating.

And those early adopters will undoubtedly show many of the large companies how it is to be done. With the current global financial dilemma, it will be those fleet of foot, able to blag and JV, think out of the box, and operate on a tight budget who will begin to install networks where the telcos are unable to tread because they are slow moving behemoths.

And because, one suspects, the telcos have spent so long spinning everyone a line about FTTH, in order to sweat the copper asset and protect their shareholders' interests, that they are starting to believe their own myths.

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