DT details fiber plans

Open access to existing infrastructure is essential in driving deployment of high-speed networks in Germany, a Deutsche Telekom board member states.

Niek Jan van Damme said fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment in the country would happen faster if telcos are allowed to access existing infrastructure, including that of other industries, and through modern regulation that encourages investment.

“We…have to avoid a patchwork of local fiber-optic networks in Germany, which means the industry has to agree to mutual, open, network access,“ van Damme stated while revealing the telco’s fiber expansion plans this morning.

Deutsche Telekom plans to extend its FTTH network to 160,000 homes in ten major cities this year, and will back up the high-speed efforts by upgrading its current VDSL and DSL lines to handle 50 Mbps data rates, up from 16Mbps currently.

The telco also revealed that Cologne will be the first city to enjoy LTE services as it begins building networks in the 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequencies.

The combination of fixed and wireless technologies is necessary to offer “customers fast connections, high quality and attractive prices,” van Damme noted.

Home Internet May Get Even Faster in South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea already claims the world’s fastest Internet connections — the fastest globally by far — but that is hardly good enough for the government here.
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Woohae Cho for the International Herald Tribune
Choi Gwang-gi is overseeing South Korea's plan to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second by the end of next year.
By the end of 2012, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second. That would be a tenfold increase from the already blazing national standard and more than 200 times as fast as the average household setup in the United States.

A pilot gigabit project initiated by the government is under way, with 1,500 households in five South Korean cities wired. Each customer pays about 30,000 won a month, or less than $27.

“South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do,” President Obamasaid in his State of the Union address last month. Last week, Mr. Obama unveiled an $18.7 billion broadband spending program.

While Americans are clip-clopping along, trailing the Latvians and the Romanians in terms of Internet speed, the South Koreans are at a full gallop. Their average Internet connections are far faster than even No. 2 Hong Kong and No. 3 Japan, according to the Internet analyst Akamai Technologies.

Overseeing South Korea’s audacious expansion plan is Choi Gwang-gi, 28, a soft-spoken engineer. He hardly looks the part of a visionary or a revolutionary as he pads around his government-gray office in vinyl slippers.

But Mr. Choi has glimpsed the future — the way the Internet needs to behave for the next decade or so — and he is trying to help Korea get there. During an interview at his busy office in central Seoul, Mr. Choi sketched out — in pencil — a tidy little schematic of the government’s ambitious project.

“A lot of Koreans are early adopters,” Mr. Choi said, “and we thought we needed to be prepared for things like 3-D TV, Internet protocol TV, high-definition multimedia, gaming and videoconferencing, ultra-high-definition TV, cloud computing.”

Never mind that some of these devices and applications are still under development by engineers in Seoul, Tokyo and San Jose, Calif. For Mr. Choi, nothing seems outlandish, unthinkable or improbable anymore. And the government here intends to be ready with plenty of network speed when all the new ideas, games and gizmos come pouring out of the pipeline.

“The gigabit Internet is essential for the future, absolutely essential, and all the technologists will tell you this,” said Don Norman, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, a leading technology consultancy in Fremont, Calif. “We’re all going to be doing cloud computing, for example, and that won’t work if you’re not always connected. Games. Videoconferencing. Video on demand. All this will require huge bandwidth, huge speed.”

The South Korean project is also meant to increase wireless broadband services tenfold.

Even as South Korea aims for greater, faster connectivity, Internet addiction is already a worrisome social issue here. Deprogramming camps have sprung up to help Net-addicted youngsters.

One South Korean couple, arrested last year, became so immersed in a role-playing game at an Internet cafe that their 3-month-old daughter starved to death — even as they fed and nurtured a virtual, online daughter named Anima.

But industry executives are plowing ahead.

“The name of the game is how fast you can get the content,” said Kiyung Nam, a spokesman for the Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics. “People want to download and enjoy their content on the go. But right now it’s not seamless. It’s not perfect.”

The idea of the gigabit Internet is not a new one, said Mr. Norman, the American consultant. But large-scale adoptions have not yet taken hold, especially outside Asia.

Hong Kong and Japan offer gigabit service. Australia has a plan in the works for 2018.Google is drafting pilot programs for part of the Stanford campus and other locales in the United States. And Chattanooga, Tenn., has started a citywide gigabit service, reportedly at a staggering $350 a month.

Any technical hurdles in upgrading the existing South Korean infrastructure are minimal, according to engineers and network managers. DSL lines — high-speed conventional telephone wires — will have to be replaced. But fiber-optic lines already widely in use are suitable for one-gigabit speeds.

South Korea, once poorer than Communist North Korea, now has the world’s 13th-largest economy. It recovered from the ravages of the Korean War by yoking its economy to heavy industries like cars, steel, shipbuilding and construction. But when labor costs began to rise, competing globally in those sectors got tougher, so “knowledge-based industries were the way forward,” Mr. Choi said.

South Koreans pay an average of $38 a month for connections of 100 megabits a second, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Americans pay an average of $46 for service that is molasses by comparison.

Mr. Choi declined to guess what private South Korean service providers might charge for the one-gigabit service. But he said it would be nowhere near the $70 a month charged for gigabit rates in Japan.

“I can’t imagine anyone in Korea paying that much,” he said. “No, no, that’s unthinkable.”

Mr. Choi’s gigabit program is just one of several Internet-related projects being coordinated by the government here over the next four years. Their overall cost is projected to be $24.6 billion, with the government expected to put up about $1 billion of that amount, according to the Korea Communications Commission.

Private South Korean firms, notably KT (the former Korea Telecom), SK Telecom and the cable provider CJ Hellovision, are the principal participants in the gigabit project. The government’s financial contribution in 2010, Mr. Choi said, would be just $4.5 million.

For now, most Korean consumers use their blessings of bandwidth largely for lightning Internet access and entertainment — multiplayer gaming, streaming Internet TV, fast video downloads and the like. Corporations are doing more high-definition videoconferencing, especially simultaneous sessions with multiple overseas clients, and technologists are eager to see what new businesses will be created or how existing businesses will be enhanced through the new gigabit capability.

One of the customers already connected to Mr. Choi’s pilot program is Moon Ki-soo, 42, an Internet consultant. He got a gigabit hookup about a year ago through CJ Hellovision, although because of the internal wiring of his apartment building his actual connection speed clocks in at 278 megabits a second.

But even that speed — about a quarter-gigabit — has him dazzled.

“It is so much more convenient to watch movies and drama shows now,” he said.

GPON FTTH deployment contract from Rochester Telephone goes to Zhone Technologies

Zhone Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZHNE) says that Rochester Telephone Company, Inc. (RTC), a voice, video, and data services provider in Rochester, IN, will deploy Zhone’s MXK intelligent Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) equipment to enable triple-play services for local residences and small businesses with a fiber to the home (FTTH) infrastructure. 

After the completion of a two-month trial in February 2011, RTC will use Zhone’s MXK gear to deliver high speed Internet access, VoIP and video services to its customers via GPON FTTH.

“With over 6,500 access lines in our network today, we needed a fiber access vendor with superior scale and effective network management capabilities. We were also looking for a partner that could help us seamlessly upgrade our existing Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) network,” noted Joe McCarter, president of RTC. “Zhone was the right choice for us not only for the scale they offer with the high density eight-port GPON Optical Line Termination (OLT) card, but also for the added optimal benefit of recurring savings realized with the Zhone EZ Touch Provisioning system.” 

Zhone also will supply its zNID GPON Optical Network Terminals (ONTs).

Movistar se prepara para realizar un despliegue masivo de fibra óptica

Entre 2009 y 2011 la operadora presidida por César Alierta abrió únicamente 18 centrales colectoras de FTTH, la mayoría en Barcelona, Madrid y Valencia. Este año Movistar quiere dar el empujón definitivo a la fibra óptica y se prepara para abrir más de 50 centrales, el objetivo es superar el millón de hogares en cobertura.

Despliegue de FTTH en 2011

 febrero, la operadora abrirá32 centrales nuevas, Bajadoz, Mérida, Burgos, Córdoba, León, Santiago, Málaga, Gijón, Valladolid.. son algunas de las ciudades donde próximamente llegarán las ofertas de 50 y 100 megas con fibra óptica hasta el hogar.  Hasta julio se abrirán otras 20 centrales más y el despliegue seguirá acelerando hasta que finalice el año.

Movistar se ha dado cuenta de que los operadores alternativos están empezando a crecer en zonas de acceso directo y por ese motivo el ex monopolio quiere preparar el terreno para liderar en los próximos años en ofertas de banda ancha ultrarrápida. Según fuentes del sector, la operadora ha adquirido material suficiente como para cablear más de un millón de hogares durante 2011.

Portfolio de ofertas

En los últimos días ha habido cambios en el portfolio de ofertas de fibra óptica. Lo primero que hizo Movistar fue eliminar la oferta de 6 megas dejando únicamente los 10 megas como modalidad de entrada en el FTTH. Además, esta semana ha lanzado comercialmente los 100 megas que estaban previstos para el pasado otoño. De este modo, los usuarios en cobertura pueden contratar, 10, 50 o 100 megas en función de sus necesidades y lógicamente de su bolsillo.

¿Qué harán los operadores alternativos? Todo apunto a que Ono y las compañías de cable locales son las únicas que podrán competir en el segmento de la velocidad ultrarrápida.

First Fibre-To-The-Home offering in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Jamii Telecom to launch Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Fibre-To-The-Home offering

Jamii Telecom is breaking the mould by launching a GPON network that will deliver Fibre-To-The-Home for the first time in Sub-Saharan African. It plans to deliver a host of services on it including, VoIP, Internet, video and security applications. This will give the Kenyan market two players at the high-bandwidth end of the market: Jamii Telecom and Wananchi. On a recent trip Russell Southwood spoke to Jamii’s General Manager John Kamau  and Wananchi’s CEO Richard Bell about their respective ambitions.

Five years ago it would have been hard to imagine that there would be two high-bandwidth players vying for consumers attention in Kenya. You would have assumed that Telkom Kenya or Kenya Data Networks (KDN) would have been the natural players to emerge in this part of the market. But Telkom Kenya’s management from Orange is struggling with getting it right in the mobile market and KDN which seemed to have the wind in its sails, now seems becalmed.

Jamii Telecom has steadily built itself a set of fibre metronets and connecting pieces of national backbone. So why Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH)? According to General Manager John Kamau:”We asked ourselves what is the next big application? We can’t go for more spectrum (to deliver wirelessly). The mobile operators already have an edge there. So we though a GPON network enabling FTTH would draw new excitement.”

The network will be able to deliver 2.4 Gbps downstream and 1.25 Gbps upstream. The residential or SME customer will get a CPE that has 5-6 ports, delivering video content, VoIP, Internet, and a Wi-Fi hot-spot (just for your own house or flat):”It will enable the user to have massive bandwidth of over 100 mbps. It will deliver Video On Demand and be able to power 3-4 TVs, offering HD delivery. It will offer things like plug-and-play VoIP, video conferencing and security cameras. The network can provide an ecosystem for IPTV and this presents a considerably opportunity. Also you can do things like remote teleworking.” Many of these services and applications are things that WiMAX simply cannot support.

Jamii Telecom’s stated aim is to “bulletproof the future” and it has been doing trials for 18 months with 200 households, all in Nairobi:”These people are so happy with the service that they don’t want to be cut off as we put up the new network.” The vendor for the project is Chinese-owned ZTE. The aim is to invest US$15 million in stages, targeting 100,000 households and to have the service ready to launch in Q2, 2011. It will cost between US$100-150 to connect each household. Rates will be benchmarked against prevailing rates which are currently between US$5,000-7,000 for between 512 kbps to 1 mbps:”The most expensive component of building the network is the civil works.”

It sees itself as a “transport company” carrying other people’s signals, rather than a vertically integrated company offering content as well as networks. It is in discussion with DStv and others on the content side and has a relationship with Safaricom to deliver data that is causing some nervousness in the market. But Kamau says:”Our philosophy is open access. It’s a whole new market and it needs a new philosophy. It’s a mass market that needs a head-end, a call centre and a web portal to deliver.”

In the other corner of this particular ring is Wananchi led by long-time industry veteran Richard Bell. It has rolled out an HFC cable network which will has already passed 45,000 households in Nairobi and the this figure will rise to 100,000 in three years time. The ultimate target is a million households by 2015. According to Bell:”The HFC network can deliver 250 channels, 50 in HD and 120 mbps into every household.”

In technology terms, the strategy also has two other prongs to reach those beyond the cable network: WiMAX for voice and data and DTH satellite for television:”Half our channels will be in HD and we’re enhancing HD on our satellite platform.”

Wananchi’s strategy differs from Jamii in that it sees content as the cornerstone for its success and has its own content division:”We will be offering 10 new channels for general African entertainment, documentary and sports. These will be launched between September and December of this year. We’re offering the first multi-channel African content since M-Net. Our strategy is around localizing content and we have a platform to produce our own content and it won’t be copied in a hurry. So our mission is both to find and make rich local content”.

“We’ve made a decision not to go after premium sports rights as we believe the market will always want alternatives. We’re going to go out of our way to be strong in the family and childrens’ space. South Africa’s Top TV is making significant inroads into that market and Nigeria’s HiTV is still getting subs on a different positioning. Women are the decision-makers and the education of children is the biggest draw.”

The Programming Group is headed up by Hannelei Bekker, a South African who formerly worked for Telkom Media and the Retail Group is headed by Peter Reinertz who used to be at Orange Kenya:”Currently we’re doing double play (voice and Internet) and triple play (adding television) will come on stream in Q3 this year.” It also plans to roll out a similar networks in Dar es Salaam and Kampala. So far it has invested US$120 million:”It’s an infrastructure business with a need for continuous additional investment.”

It is a sign of how fast the market is changing that two seasoned independents have seized the initiative by investing in the high bandwidth space.

FTTH in Southern African << Comment and Vodacom

Source:  Balancingact-Africa

Alcatel-Lucent unveils XG-PON1 version of ISAM for 10G GPON apps

By Stephen Hardy — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) announced last week that it plans to add XG-PON1capabilities to its Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) IP access platform. XG-PON1, the first version of 10G GPONapproved by FSAN, supports 10 Gbps downstream and 2.5 Gbps upstream.

According to Stefaan Vanhastel, marketing director, wireline access at Alcatel-Lucent, the company plans to provide a four-port XG-PON1 line card for use in Alcatel-Lucent’s existing ISAM platforms within the ETSI market, plus release new platforms with expanded 2×100-Gbps capacity per slot that will be marketed globally. The new technology will be generally available early in 2012. However, Vanhastel expects limited deployments by what he called “select customers” by the end of this year.

Vanhastel says that XG-PON1 10G GPON will see a variety of applications, including mobile backhaul, DSLAM backhaul, and fiber to the building (FTTB). However, the greatest interest in the technology focuses on expanding split ratios, Vanhastel remarks.

Alcatel-Lucent has already launched carrier trials of XG-PON2, which offers symmetrical 10-Gbps capabilities in both the upstream and downstream directions (see “Portugal Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent to trial symmetrical 10G GPON” and“Verizon field trials XG-PON2 from Alcatel-Lucent”). Vanhastel would not say when Alcatel-Lucent will offer this technology commercially, particularly since FSAN has not yet ratified the standard.

Partnerships key to FT's fiber plans

France Telecom will seek partnerships to finance fiber rollout in the market, the first detailed breakdown of its plans reveal.

The incumbent stated cooperation with other potential fiber operators and co-investment deals will be major elements in achieving ambitious goals for fiber coverage in the country.

It is investing €2 million to deploy fiber to ten million homes by 2015, and aims to pass 15 million homes by 2020, the plans show.

The French government asked the carrier to supply a detailed breakdown of its plans as part of its program to deploy very high-speed broadband in the country.

In response, the telco revealed it will deploy fiber in all large and medium-sized towns and cities by 2015, with 15 cities already covered.

However rural areas will have to make do with interim technologies including fiber to the curb or satellite, as France Telecom said plans for full fiber would depend on “application of the regulatory framework outside very dense areas,” – an apparent swipe at ARCEP rules covering shared networks.

Chief Stéphane Richard said the fiber plans were ambitious, but noted they would help the carrier consolidate its position in its domestic market, and maximize the “growth potential that this network can offer for the years to come.”

The telco is currently pursuing a strategy of aggregating and distributing content, recently striking teaming with broadcaster Canal+ and acquiring online video firmDailymotion.

State aid: Commission approves record amount of state aid for the deployment of broadband networks in 2010

In keeping with the ambitious digital agenda goals set in the EU 2020, the European Commission has approved, under the EU guidelines for state aid to broadband, the use of over €1.8 billion public funds for broadband development to support economic recovery, inclusive growth and the long term competitiveness of the EU. The public funds are aimed to ensure that all citizens have access to high speed Internet access in the European Union, including in rural or remote areas.

Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia commented: "Smart investments into high and very high speed broadband infrastructures are crucial to create jobs, increase economic performance and to unlock the competitive potential of the EU in the long term. The Commission is committed to help EU countries to accelerate private and public investments in this sector."

In 2010, the Commission adopted a record number of 20 decisions covering aid for broadband development in, among others, Catalonia, Finland and Bavaria (the complete list can be found here) authorising the use of over €1.8 billion of public funds for broadband development. This will potentially generate up to €3.5 billion of investments in the sector. The approved aid in 2010 is more than four times the amount allowed in 2009 (see table below).

The national public support was in line with the September 2009 Broadband Guidelines (see IP/09/1332, MEMO/09/396 and MEMO/10/31), which set out in detail the Commission's approach to state aid in this field. Public support is necessary to ensure universal coverage of broadband infrastructure thus avoiding a digital divide between urban and rural or remote areas.

The Commission has set out ambitious targets for broadband development in its EU 2020 strategy, in the Digital Agenda (see DAE webpageIP/10/581MEMO/10/199MEMO/10/200) and further clarified the possible use of public funds in this sector in the Broadband Communication (see IP/10/1142MEMO/10/426 and MEMO/10/427).

These targets can only be reached if EU and public funds complement private investments to extend current generation broadband and very high speed broadband coverage to areas where market operators are unlikely to invest on commercial terms in the near future. Adequate and affordable broadband services can bring great economic and social benefits for people living and working in such areas, for instance by providing them with the possibility of teleworking, access to e-health, e-government and e-learning services.

When assessing public support to broadband networks, the Commission makes sure public support does not crowd out private investment and allows alternative operators to get effective and non-discriminatory access to the subsidised broadband infrastructures, thereby increasing the choice and quality of the services available to citizens.

The approach has ensured that broadband networks are built in areas where nothing was available before and are made accessible to competing Internet service providers on non discriminatory terms. Thereby, state aid helps households and companies in rural areas to benefit from state-of-the-art similar services at similar prices as those established in urban areas.

The Commission will further encourage the smart use of public funds in line with the Broadband Guidelines to bring high speed and very high speed Internet access to as many Europeans as possible, as quickly as possible – to help them benefit from the advantages of a knowledge-based society.

Besides national funding, for the 2007-2013 financing period of the EU Structural Funds, a total of €2.3 billion was allocated to broadband infrastructure investments and € 12.9 billion to information society services; and a further €360 million through the Fund for Rural Development was used for broadband funding. The EIB invested in 2009 €2.3 billion (since 2000 a total of €12 billion) in broadband infrastructures.>

Approved State aid for broadband per year in the EU

FierceTelecom's 2011 Predictions: Verizon continues to up FiOS speed ante

Watch out cable, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is going to continue to expand the speed of its Fiber to the Premises (FTTP)-based FiOS service throughout 2011.

Evidence of this ongoing drive was seen at Verizon throughout 2010 despite the fact that the RBOC declared in late 2009 that it would focus the majority of its FTTP build out on remaining markets and those where it had recently established video franchise agreements.

Among the notable developments of Verizon's ongoing speed drive in 2010, included the introduction of a 150/35 Mbps speed tier for bothresidential and later SMB customers and the no contract service options.

Available on either a contract or non-contract option, the 150 Mbps service tier is obviously a way to defend itself against cable's ongoing speed movement via its DOCSIS 3.0 migration on not fiber, but its existing HFC network.

Although it will take time before the 150 Mbps tier is available throughout Verizon's entire FiOS footprint, the continual focus on upping speeds is all about providing enough headroom for new applications at the home and business.

In anticipation of this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a Multichannel News report emerged that Verizon plans to launch a trial with a number of New Jersey homes for its Home Monitoring and Control service. Among other things, the new service would allow FiOS users to remotely lock or unlock doors, adjust thermostats, power and turn off and on lights via smartphone, PC or FiOS TV widget. Along with home monitoring, Verizon plans to also display a premium HD videoconferencing service for FiOS using Cisco's umi device.

Likewise, the 150 Mbps tier will also resonate with the diverse SMB market (remote radiology clinics, law firms and graphic designers) that require large amounts of bandwidth, but up till now have had little choice other than purchasing expensive T1 circuits or switching to cable.

Of course, the introduction of the 150 Mbps speed tier is only the tip of the iceberg in Verizon's speed quest.

In 2010, Verizon conducted a FierceTelecom's 2011 Predictions: Verizon continues to up FiOS speed ante – FierceTelecomhttp://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/fiercetelecoms-2011-predictions-verizon-continues-fios-speed-ante/2011-01-01?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal#ixzz1Ajl8oKGa

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Global fixed broadband connections to hit 720 mln by 2015

The total number of fixed broadband connections worldwide will pass 500 million by the end of this year and will continue to grow to 720 million by the end of 2015, according to a study by Analysys Mason. Fixed broadband will account for 62 percent of the 1.16 billion broadband connections available worldwide by the end of 2015. Developed regions (Central and Eastern Europe, developed Asia-Pacific, North America and Western Europe) offer limited growth opportunities in terms of new business. The report forecasts that fixed broadband net line additions will grow at a CAGR of 3.9 percent during 2009-2015 in these regions. By contrast, fixed broadband net line additions will grow at a CAGR of 13.7 percent in the emerging regions (Central and Latin America, emerging Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa).

Central and Latin America will have the highest CAGR of all regions in terms of fixed broadband connections at 15.4 percent between 2009 and 2015. However, emerging Asia-Pacific will account for most of the net line additions, growing from 117 million lines at the end of 2009 to more than 250 million by the end of 2015. Emerging regions will generate 28.5 percent of worldwide fixed broadband retail revenue by 2015, up from 17.2 percent in 2009. Developed markets accounted for 67 percent of fixed broadband connections at the end of 2009. This will fall to 54 percent by the end of 2015, the researcher said. The Middle East and North Africa's fixed broadband market will achieve reasonable growth during the forecast period. As a result, it will account for an increasing, albeit small proportion of worldwide fixed broadband revenue to 2015. Its share of worldwide access retail revenue will grow from 2.3 percent in 2009 to 3.4 percent in 2015. In sub-Saharan Africa, mobile services will continue to be crucial to the development of the region's broadband market. The number of mobile broadband connections in the region exceeded that of fixed broadband connections in 2009. By 2015, Analysys expects that fixed broadband will account for 9 percent of broadband connections in the region.