Europe’s new member states dominate FTTH rankings

The number of fiber-to-the-home subscribers in Europe, including Russia, has increased by 22 percent over the past six months. The broadband market in the Eastern part of Europe is booming, according to the latest figures from the FTTH Council Europe, which were announced at the Broadband World Forum in Paris.

In absolute numbers, Europe has reached 3.2 million FTTH/B subscribers (nearly 4.5 million including Russia). Network deployment continues to bring fiber within reach of more homes: Europe now counts 18 million FTTH/B homes passed (more than 26 million including Russia), a growth of more than 6 percent during the first half of 2010.

The FTTH Ranking now includes 17 countries in Europe, where more than 1 percent of households subscribe to broadband over a direct fiber connection. Lithuania is still the leader in the Ranking, just ahead of the more mature FTTH markets of Sweden and Norway. The top five fiber nations now include three New European Member States: Lithuania, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

Romania enters the Ranking in 13th place with more than 120,000 FTTH/B subscribers. Bulgaria shows the fastest progression in the Ranking, moving from 16th to 8th position during first half of 2010. Lithuania, still in first place, showed the second fastest growth rate, boosting subscriber
penetration by 3.3 percentage points.

The majority of FTTH subscribers (74 percent) are concentrated in eight countries, in the following order: Sweden, France, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, The Netherlands, Denmark, and Slovakia.

Major European economies, such as Italy and France, are still at the bottom of the Ranking, and others, such as Britain, Germany, and Spain, are noticeably absent, although co-investment between operators and national plans initiated by governments could soon start to enhance FTTH/B coverage in those nations.

The Full Ranking for 2010 will be presented at the FTTH Conference in Milan, 9-10 February 2011.

The FTTH Global Ranking is based on the definition of FTTH/B agreed by the three FTTH Councils. It includes fibre to the home (FTTH), where the fiber connection reaches the household, and fiber to the building (FTTB), where fiber terminates inside the boundary of a multi-tenant building. The Ranking covers all countries with at least 200,000 households where the penetration of FTTH/B has reached at least 1 percent of the total number of homes.

Google to trial FTTH at Stanford

While it continues to review the more than 200,000 responses it received for its FTTH testbed RFP, Google has announced it will open a smaller testbed in Stanford University’s Residential Subdivision. Deployment within the subdivision is scheduled to begin early in 2011.

The Residential Subdivision comprises approximately 850 homes owned by either Stanford faculty or staff. Google says it chose the location for what it describes as a beta test of optical broadband technology for three reasons:

  1. Stanford’s willingness to let Google deploy fiber in its streets
  2. The relatively small number of homes and the neighborhood configuration
  3. Its close proximity to Google’s engineering facility

The beta trial will examine what Google described as “new fiber-optic technologies” that it has already tested on its campus. As described in the testbed RFP, these technologies will support 1-Gbps Internet connections to each home.

The search engine giant remained mum on what these technologies are. A link in the blog describing the Stanford deployment brings you to a YouTube video Google had released earlier this year of a micro-trenching race.

Google says the trial is “completely separate” from the community selection process for what is being called Google Fiber. Google provided little update on the progress of that effort, other than to reiterate that it plans to connect to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people and that it will announce “our selected community or communities” by year end.

BT Openreach plans 110 Mbps via FTTP

OCTOBER 19, 2010 By Stephen Hardy — Openreach, the segment of BT that supplies open access broadband infrastructure, has announced prices for a planned 110-Mbps offering. The 110 Mbps will be a peak speed. The prices are for communications providers using the Openreach service.

The new service will be provided over Openreach’s Generic Ethernet Access Fibre to the Premises (GEA-FTTP) portfolio in March 2011. It will initially be available in pilot areas such as Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes, and Highams Park, London.

Openreach will offer the 110-Mbps peak rate paired with a 20-Mbps prioritized rate downstream and 15 Mbps upstream capability. Rental cost for the service will be £258.48pa when bought as a standalone service or £157.80pa if purchased with a related copper voice service (WLR or MPF) under the Transition Product commercial terms. The connection price will be £75.

The new speed will not be available via Openreach’s fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure.

Huawei introduces Intelligent Optical Distribution Network prototype

Huawei has introduced its Intelligent Optical Distribution Network (iODN) prototype, offering multiple intelligence functions, enabling operators to automatically locate and operate target optical fibers, and paving the way for massive fiber to the home (FTTH) rollouts.

"FTTx networks are now being deployed on a massive scale all over the globe and ODN is garnering more and more attention from operators worldwide. This new prototype, along with our expertise in end-to-end ODN delivery, including planning and engineering, will pave the way for massive fiber to the home rollouts," says Wang Dexiang, director of Huawei's ODN Service Department.

The deployment of fiber to the x (FTTx) networks is increasing rapidly, with the number of optical fibers being used growing exponentially. When working with optical networks, operators face two major issues: the high error rate when optical fiber connection data is entered manually, and the low efficiency and continuity constraints that occur when optical fibers are manually connected or optical faults are manually identified and located, says a company representative.

Huawei's iODN prototype can address these challenges through intelligent optical fiber management, including setup and management of optical fiber connections. It is designed to automate the identification and the collection of optical fiber connections and splitters, ensure that optical faults are correctly located, improves maintenance efficiency, and simplify and enhance operation and maintenance efficiency.

Tiscali, ZTE partner for broadband, starting with FTTH network in Sardinia

Independent Italian carrier Tiscali and Chinese communications systems vendor ZTE say they have signed a strategic framework agreement for deployment of ultra-wide broadband in Italy. The first step of the partnership will see deployment of an FTTH network in Sardinia.

The partnership between ZTE and Tiscali will include collaboration from a technology and trade/financial standpoint to evaluate, study, and design next-generation services that Tiscali can provide to its customer base.

In the first phase of the project Tiscali and ZTE will implement an FTTH fiber-optic network in Sardinia. The deployment will leverage ongoing work for the local gas network in the extended Cagliari area, which includes over 50 thousand lines of local loop unbundling coverage.

Renato Soru, Tiscali CEO, said, "Our country cannot afford either the lack of next-generation network infrastructure or delays due to ongoing discussions. That is why we confirm our commitment to reach the ultimate goal of setting up in Italy a broadband network that will place the country among the most advanced in the world. We are working with ZTE with the aim of setting up a network open to all the operators and that we hope it will be part of the wider national network."