Swisscom, Energie Wasser Bern agree on Berne FTTH/FTTB network

Energie Wasser Bern and Swisscom have reached an agreement to extend the City of Berne's fiber-optic network into city households. The agreement will see 90 percent of buildings in the city with fiber to the home/business (FTTH/FTTB) access by 2017.

Swisscom will bear 60 percent and Energie Wasser Bern 40 percent of the investments needed for constructing the network.

Swisscom reached a similar agreement with IWB to fund an FTTH/FTTB network in Basel (see “IWB, Swisscom join for FTTP in Basel”)

By signing the cooperation agreement, Swisscom and Energie Wasser Bern have committed themselves to work together to construct Berne's fiber-optic network. Both companies will be responsible for laying the cables. Swisscom will connect 30 percent of households to the network and will also be responsible for laying the fiber-optic cables between the neighborhood cabinets and the telephone exchanges. Energie Wasser Bern will build the fiber-optic network for 70 percent of the city.

Constructing the network will cost CHF 172 million ($178.7 million). Both partners have granted each other long-term usage rights for the fibre-optic network.

Four fibers will be laid per household. Swisscom and Energie Wasser Bern will receive one fiber each for their sole use. The others will be assigned as required or made available to other companies prepared to invest in them.

It is expected that by the end of 2011, more than a third of Berne's residents will be able to use the new services. By 2017, 90 percent of properties will have a fiber-optic connection, and by 2020, the network will cover the entire city of Berne, the two companies assert.

SingTel, Portugal Telecom to collaborate on FTTH/IPTV pay TV

Portugal Telecom SGPS, S.A. and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) have signed a collaboration agreement to share operational and commercial best practices in fiber-optic and IPTV based pay TV services and to develop applications for ultra high-speed fixed and wireless networks.

As part of this agreement, both companies will tap into each other’s expertise and partnership deals in areas such as IPTV and FTTH, as well as the mobile and business markets.

The agreement includes:

  • Sharing benchmarks and best practices particularly in operating efficient and effective fiber-based fixed line networks
  • Collaboration on research and development including joint creation of cross-platform applications and solutions
  • Leveraging joint scale and assets in wholesale procurement leading to potential cost savings
  • Fostering talent pools across the companies including employee secondment programs

Working teams will identify collaboration opportunities in the areas identified in the agreement.

Portugal Telecom’s FTTH network currently passes 1 million homes, with an additional 600,000 FTTH homes passed an announced goal for 2011. The national carrier also has test 10G GPON technology (see “Portugal Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent to trial symmetrical 10G GPON”).

This year in Singapore, SingTel launched 100-Mbps FTTH services to residential customers.

Kroes says EU doesn't need NBN Co

Europe does not need an Australian-style NBN Co to push deployment of next-generation networks, Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes says.

Instead, rules outlined in the Agenda, a recent Broadband Communication andRadio Spectrum Policy will be sufficient to achieve the European Commission’s goals of offering basic broadband access for all citizens by 2013, high speed access by 2020, the commissioner told Telecoms

“What is essentially different between the Australian and European telecom environment is that Europe favours a market driven approach,” Kroes said in an exclusive interview.

While the Digital Agenda and Broadband Communication set out similar targets to Australia’s goal of 100% penetration, the EC prefers to work on regional, national and local initiatives that can stimulate private investment, she explains.

Indeed, the EC should only become involved in individual rollouts “if the market fails to deliver,” she said.

However, it is essential that member states keep their broadband plans up-to-date and look to cut the cost of deploying infrastructure by co-coordinating civil engineering works, highlighting existing infrastructure that could carry cable, and upgrading the wiring in buildings.

Kroes believes high-speed networks are now vital to boost the region's economy.

“If Europe failed to invest in broadband it would forego a very significant source of growth potential. That is why the broadband targets have been proposed and why they are, if anything, more relevant now in these times of austerity,” Kroes said.

Additional European funding for local and regional authorities seeking to stimulate the market will be made available in the coming years, and the Commission is seeking to grow its co-operation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) “and possibly other institutional investors,” to secure additional funds for broadband deployment, the commissioner revealed.

The EIB currently invests €2 billion per year in broadband projects, and any increase could spur investment in projects with a “higher risk profile,” Kroes explained.

Ultimately, though, investment will rely on a clear message from national regulators, Kroes says, noting that a “consistent regulatory approach…is important to give investors confidence for the design of their business plans.”

Lithuania’s TEO announces fiber to the business investments

TEO LT AB of Lithuania says it plans to invest more than LTL 15 million ($5.8 million) in the next-generation fiber-optic access in business centers and office buildings by the end of 2012. TEO says the investment will make its Internet technologies available to almost 80 percent of the country’s businesses and organizations that have their offices in office buildings.

TEO will also use the new infrastructure to support cloud computing services.

It is planned that by the end of 2012, TEO fiber-optic access will be installed in more than 1000 buildings. This year, the fiber-optic network is most actively developed in Vilnius, Kaunas and Šiauliai. In these cities alone, by the end of December, TEO fiber-optic access will be installed in more than 200 office buildings.

In 2011, the overall investments of TEO in the FTTH network, which is being expanded in 50 cities in Lithuania, will reach more than LTL 70 million ($6.58 million), while the total amount of investments planned by the company next year will be over LTL 150 million ($58 million).

Bouygues Telecom, SFR to collaborate of FTTH deployment posted 13 Dec 2010 18:10 by Enrique Areizaga

French carriers Bouygues Telecom and SFR have signed a co-investment agreement for deployment of fiber to the home (FTTH) infrastructure in certain cities.

Both carriers use GPON technology, a factor that helps make the collaboration possible.

The agreement calls for the two carriers to pool their investments in fiber-optic horizontal networks that are deployed between their points of presence and buildings. The agreement will allow both operators to accelerate and expand the deployment of FTTH, they say.

SFR already has deployed FTTH services in several communities, and plans to expand that offering in 2011. Bouygues Telecom plans to begin its own FTTH-based offerings in the second half of 2011.

ARCEP, the French telecommunications authority, announced its approval of the deal.

"This agreement is the expression of a new entrant's (Bouygues Telecom) proactive approach and capacity to invest in a lasting fashion in ultra-fast broadband fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure, and so confirming the relevance of the regulatory choices introduced by ARCEP in the decision it adopted late last year," read a statement posted on ARCEP's website.

"In the coming days, ARCEP will be adopting a corollary decision whose purpose is to define the main rules governing ultra-fast broadband FTTH rollouts in the entire country, outside of high-density areas. This will provide the French market with a complete regulatory framework for ultra high-speed optical fibre deployments that will allow stakeholders to extend their investments to the whole of France," the statement concluded.

UK broadband plans panned

Analysts have blasted the UK government’s next generation network plans for being light on detail.

Research firm Ovum claims the plans to offer the fastest broadband in Europe, outlined yesterday, are no different to pledges by other governments in the region, and said the focus on incumbent BT could stifle competition.

Analyst Charlie Davies said several UK ISPs are “worried that BT will simply maintain and even increase its market position in broadband as a result of its dominant position in more rural areas,” in an e-mailed statement.

Those concerns have been heightened by a BT pledge to match public funding of £830 million (€980 million) to boost fiber deployment in rural areas over the next decade, Davies said.

Jeremy Hunt, secretary for culture, Olympics, media and sport, yesterday confirmed the investment while outlining plans to deploy a minimum 24Mbps service to two-thirds of UK addresses by 2015.

Plans include installing a digital hub in every community, cutting the cost of accessing infrastructure through shared access, and working with builders to ensure new homes are kitted out with broadband cable.

“We want the UK to have the best broadband system in Europe by 2015,” Hunt stated.

A BT spokesman confirmed the telco would extend its current investment of £2.5 billion in fiber build-out, but that the amount would “depend on the government funds that we are able to secure.”

The telco estimates that it could hit 90% of premises by 2015 if awarded the full £830 million.

BT to trial gigabit FTTP broadband

DECEMBER 3, 2010 — BT says it plans to test gigabit broadband speeds over a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in Kesgrave, Suffolk early next year. The UK incumbent added that it will include up to 40 rural market towns in the next phase of its deployment of super-fast fiber broadband.

The technical trial aims to demonstrate the maximum speed capabilities of BT’s FTTP product. In addition to the 1-Gbps download rate, the trial also should see upload speeds of 400 Mbps, BT says. These speeds are 10X faster than BT’s current FTTP product, which is set to launch commercially next year.

Olivia Garfield, BT’s director of strategy, said: “We intend to continually push the limits of our super-fast broadband program in terms of the technology and the geography. While everyday consumers don’t require gigabit speeds today, it’s important that we test the maximum speed capabilities of our fiber broadband product to ensure that it is fully future proofed.”

Meanwhile, BT says that “selected market towns where premises and cabinets are suitably clustered will now be eligible for fiber deployment.” BT has identified up to 40 rural market towns that meet this requirement and could be included in the next phase of the company’s fiber broadband rollout. BT plans to announce the next list of FTTP exchanges in January 2011, with a goal towards service delivery beginning in late 2011 or early 2012.

BT also reiterated its commitment to spend £2.5 billion to roll out FTTP to two-thirds of the UK by 2015. It also says it is working with Government to find ways to fiber the remaining third.

“By evolving our deployment model for fiber we have been able to push the geographical boundaries of super-fast broadband,” Garfield commented. “It allows us to build a commercial case for rolling out fiber to selected towns in rural areas to satisfy the growing appetite for faster broadband speeds. Both of these developments will further advance BT’s super-fast broadband vision and will assist the Government in achieving its aim of creating the best super-fast broadband network in Europe.”

BT’s FTTP announcements come ahead of a major broadband speech Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt is scheduled to deliver December 6. The Government has indicated it will make £830 million available over the course of this parliament and the next for broadband deployment.