Brunei’s Telecom service provider TelBru is planning to provide Fiber-To-The-Home broadband connectivity to around 45,000 subscribers within the next three years. FTTH deployments are going on in the country and TelBru is signing up about 1,000 new subscribers a month. TelBru has 5,000 FTTH subscribers, and an approximate 25,000 internet subscribers. Internet users are likely to switchover to the new FTTH connection naturally. This has been observed in other markets as well. A certain percentage of internet users would be waiting for high bandwidth services and they would be the first subscribers of fiber to the home broadband, apart from enterprise customers. TelBru was established in 2002 and is the premier telecommunications company in Brunei Darussalam providing Internet and Broadband services, along with leased lines and data services. Brunei is geographically a small country in the Pacific ocean neighboring Malaysia, with a geographical area of less than 6,000 square kilometers and a population of around 0.4 million. For fiber optic product suppliers, Brunei’s Fiber to the home deployments may offer a business chance that may equal to a regional project in a big market.
CAN WE AFFORD NOT TO HAVE A FIBRE OPTIC INFRASTRUCTURE?
Fibre-based infrastructure requires vision and recognition of the fact that many of today’s social, economic and sustainability problems can only be solved with the assistance of ICTs. In many situations the capacity, robustness, security and quality necessary for this calls for fibre optic infrastructures. This need will increase dramatically over the next 5 to 10 years as industries and whole sectors (healthcare, energy, media, retail) carry out the process of transforming themselves in order to much better address the challenges ahead.
Most discussions regarding the need for fibre optic infrastructure take place from the wrong perspective – based on how fast people need the internet to be when they download their emails, web information, games and movies. Fibre optic technology has very little to do with this – ultimately all of that ‘residential’ traffic will account for less than 50% of all the traffic that will eventually flow over fibre optic networks.
The real reason this type of network is needed relates to the social and economic needs of our societies, and there are many clear examples that indicate that we are running out of steam trying to solve some of our fundamental problems in traditional ways.
For instance, at this moment discussions are taking place in every single developed country in the world about the fact that the cost of healthcare is unsustainable. These costs will grow – over the next 20 years – to 40%-50% of total government budgets – clearly impossible. So we face a dilemma. Do we lower the standard of healthcare services, at the same time making them more costly for the end-user?
If we want to maintain our current lifestyle the only solution is to make the healthcare system more effective, efficient and productive. And this can only be done with the help of ICTs. To make it more productive, health needs to be brought to the people rather than the other way around, as is the case at present. Similar examples apply to the education system, the energy systems and the management of cities and countries in general. We need to create smart cities, smart businesses and smart countries, with high-speed infrastructure, smart grids, intelligent buildings, etc.
In order to manage our societies and economies better we need to have much better information about what is happening within all of the individual ecosystems, and in particular information about how these different systems interact. Currently they all operate within silos and there is little or no cooperation or coordination between them. ICT can be the bridge to bring them together; to collect data from them and process it in real time. Information can then be fed back to those who are managing the systems, and those who operate within them, such as doctors, teachers, business people, bureaucrats, politicians – and, of course, to you and me.
Some of these data interactions are already happening around smartphones, social media, traffic, crowd control and weather information. This is only the start of what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT) or machine-to-machine communication (M2M).
ICT cannot solve world hunger, but without ICT world hunger cannot be solved, and this applies to all the important social and economic problems that societies around the world are now facing.
None of this can be done overnight; it requires massive transformations of industries and sectors. There is no instant business model available that will supply an immediate return on the investment that is needed to create these smart systems. All of these investments need to be looked at over a period of 10, 20 years and even longer. No private business will take such a business risk. To make it happen government leadership and government policies are needed.
This is also the message from the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, and it applies to countries all over the world. More than 130 countries worldwide have now developed broadband policies, recognising that such infrastructure is critical to their development. The challenge now is to put these policies into practice.
Ultimately all of these developments will require national fibre optic networks. There simply is no other technology that can handle the capacity of data and applications that will be needed to run the cities and countries from today onwards. This infrastructure needs to be robust. It has to have enormous capacity. It needs to be secure and to be able to protect privacy. There is simply no other infrastructure technology that is up to that job.
So those business and government leaders who are in charge of looking towards the future do have an obligation to ask themselves, based on the above, whether we can afford not to have a fibre optic network.
Paul Budde is the Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication Pty Limited, trading as BuddeComm (www.budde.com.au) an independent telecommunications research and consultancy organization. BuddeComm has 15 senior analysts and a large international network of researchers and telecoms experts.
Vodafone Italy plans FTTH for 27 cities
Vodafone Italia will bring its fiber to the home (FTTH) service to 27 cities in the country, offering eligible users up to 30/3 Mbps speeds.
To entice customers to subscribe to the new service, the service provider is offering the fiber-based broadband service for the same price as its existing ADSL service for six months.
Customers will have their choice of two FTTH packages: Fiber Vodafone and telephone Start, which will offer a fiber-based connection with unlimited calls to wireline and wireless phones for 19 cents a call for €32 ($42) a month; and Fiber Vodafone phone and Without Limits that includes unlimited fiber-based broadband and calling to national and international calls to Europe and North America for €39 ($51).
Users will also be able to get Vodafone Italia’s HOUSE package, one that includes a Wi-Fi router, 1 GB of mobile data, voice services and Internet security.
In addition, the service provider will provide FTTH services to 45,000 housing units in Milan via an agreement it recently signed with Metroweb. By 2016, Vodafone said its FTTH service will be available throughout the city.
Vodafone Italia is a relatively new player in Italy, having entered into Italy’s wireline voice market in 2007. However, the service provider has quickly established itself as the second-largest competitive telco during that six-year period with over 2.5 million customers.
Digital Agenda biased toward FTTC asserts FTTH Council Europe
While the latest Digital Agenda Scoreboard released this past June 12 shows that Europe is making progress toward the European Commission’s broadband access goals, many countries on the continent are using the wrong approach, says the FTTH Council Europe. The reliance in several areas on upgraded copper-based networks, typically fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) architectures, limits Europe’s long-term broadband growth prospects, the Council believes. Worse, the way the Digital Agenda defines next-generation access (NGA) encourages this mistake, council spokespeople assert.
“European policy makes no distinction between the regulatory regime for low-cost copper upgrades and more expensive but future-proof fiber to the home investments,” states Hartwig Tauber, director general of the FTTH Council Europe. “The result is that regulatory policies effectively promote copper upgrades. Prioritizing copper upgrades and making the pricing regime for copper a central element of the Single Market reforms shows a lack of vision that does not augur well for Europe.”
The fact that the Digital Agenda goals do not take into account what might be required after the European Commission’s 2020 target dates, the European policy effectively encourages carriers to adopt FTTC because it is the cheapest and most expedient approach, the council appears to imply. Thus, these policies aren’t technologically neutral in practice and encourage the use of technologies that the council describes in a press release as “not future-proof or already outdated.”
Therefore, the Commission should be working to make it easier for carriers to afford the expense of fiber to the home if they really want a level technological playing field, the council believes. “We need a greater emphasis on future-proof fiber networks and need to facilitate new models of financing,” Tauber says by way of example.
Such new financing models are essential because the FTTH Council Europe estimates it would take €200 billion to deploy FTTH across the EU and meet the Digital Agenda’s targets. These goals include ensuring that half of European Union households subscribe to broadband services that support download speeds of more than 100 Mbps.
Raising the €200 billion would require investments from outside the telecom sector, paired with what the council referred to in the press release as “major regulatory reform.” Yet the European Commission has yet to forward such proposals, the FTTH Council states
Bell Aliant to bring FTTH service to 20,000 users in North Bay, Ontario
Bell Aliant is investing $12.5 million to serve 20,000 premises with its fiber to the home (FTTH)-based FibreOP service in North Bay, Ontario, the third area in the region to receive the fiber-based broadband service.
Similar to other FTTH expansions into nearby cities Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, users in North Bay will be able to get speeds of up to 250/30 Mbps and 120 HD channels, and other video features such as a Whole Home Personal Video Recorder (PVR).
FTTH expansion has been a major priority for Bell Aliant. While it won't release Q1 earnings until Aug. 2, in the first quarter the telco reported that its FibreOP service drove up revenue to 0.3 percent, or $1.98 million to its total of $679 million. In Q1, Bell Aliant added 17,900 FibreOP customers, bringing the total FibreOP Internet customers to 130,100.
Fiber to the Forest becomes a reality!
Fiber to the Forest has become a reality! We are familiar with terms such as Fiber to the home, to the curb or premise etc., but may be this is the first time we use a term “Fiber to the Forest”.
Thanks to New Zealand Government’s decision to connect the Kaingaroa Forest with ultra fast broadband. Kaingaroa is one of New Zealand’s most remote rural communities in Kaingaroa Forest. It is near Murupara. The connectivity to the ultra broadband network became a reality with New Zealand Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) and the support of the 2020 Communications Trust. Kaingaroa Forest, which is in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest forest. Kaingaroa is the largest plantation in the southern hemisphere. The forest covers 2900 km² in the inland East Cape and Bay of Plenty regions, and stretches south past the east coast of Lake Taupo. The forest was first planted in the late 1920s and owned as a state asset by the New Zealand government. When it was under New Zealand Government control it was known as the Kaingaroa State Forest. Five families, one school and a local business are connected to optical fiber broadband internet services using wireless links and the school as a community hub. This may look small in front of massive Fiber to the home connections that are underway in many developed countries. We appreciate New Zealand Government’s commitment to provide most latest technological advancements to the least developed areas. This is what we expect the State establishments all over the world to do. The team behind this achievement believes this as an exciting leap forward in terms of delivering broadband internet services to rural communities. The team has been working with Kaingaroa Village School and internet service providers for some months to identify an affordable internet connection solution for families who have been part of their “Computers in Homes” programme. Most families in Kaingaroa Forest Village did not have telephone lines and were unable to get access to the internet from their homes. Chorus had installed a fiber optic cable to the school, but this cable had not been connected for school use. The project team worked to get the fiber cable into operation, not only for the school but also for the rest of the community. especially the families identified for Computers in Homes program. The team worked with a wireless infrastructure provider (WiMax Developments Limited), Chorus (as the provider of the fiber optic cable) and TrustPower Kinect(as the internet service provider). The project got support from Kaingaroa Forest School, a local wood processing business (KLC) and the Village Management Committee. Needless to add, this is a great team work. Connectivity to ultra-fast broadband network and to the internet will provide lots of other learning opportunities to the children in the communities. The primary objective for the Kaingaroa project has been to deliver affordable broadband internet services for Computers in Homes families in Kaingaroa Village, but the 2020 Trust has also been working with InternetNZ to find ways to leverage the investment being made by government in connecting schools to ultra-fast broadband to speed up internet connections for whole rural communities. Sharing the optical fiber backhaul costs addresses the affordability concerns. The use of wireless connects rural communities into broadband world. The wireless links were installed late last year, using the school and KLC as access points, but it has taken nearly four months to get live internet services to the school hub. The Kaingaroa Forest model could have applicability in other rural communities throughout New Zealand. We believe, Fiber to Kaingaroa Forest model could be applied to any part of the world.
TIM Brasil to reach 40,000 km fiber route milestone in 2013
An executive with Brazil-based operator TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) said the carrier expects to deploy a total 40,000 km of fiber-optic networks in the country by the end of 2013, and reach 50,000 km within the next two years, TeleGeography reports.
Rogerio Takayanagi, head of TIM Fiber, told attendees at the Broadband Latin America conference in Sao Paulo that the provider has cornered 76 percent of the market in areas where its FTTx service is offered.
However, competitors like GVT and Vivo threaten to chip away at that lead as they introduce speeds up to 150 and 200 Mbps, respectively, to the region.
TIM Brasil began its fiber buildout in 2011, acquiring infrastructure provider AES Atimus and its 5,500 route fiber miles in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The provider partnered with ZTE in 2012 to complete 60 percent of the first phase of its mixed fiber to the curb/building (FTTC/FTTB) project in Sao Paulo. The service launched in Q3 2012 under its “Live” brand and currently serves 21 municipalities in and around Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
According to Takayanagi, TIM Fiber has attracted approximately 20,000 retail customers, most of whom can get connection speeds of up to 35 Mbps.
Co-operation Among Competitors in Spanish Fiber Optic Broadband Market
Co-operation is the sign of a healthy competition and one of characteristics of a professional market. In telecom business and changed global scenario, it is almost impossible to do business without co-operating with existing competitors. The recent best example is the agreement between Telefonica , Vodafone and Orange in Spain. All three are telecommunication giants having their own business strategies and worldwide presence.
Telefonica has extensive network in Spain and as per agreement it gives permission to Vodafone and Orange to use the network to provide broadband services to subscribers. Vodafone and Orange have to make a one time payment per installation to Telefonica. This payment will permit Vodafone and Orange to use the network for 20 years. The pricing will be decided by a third party, in this case, Spain’s telecommunication regulatory authority CMT. As per the agreement Telefonica can utilize Vodafone’s or Orange’s fiber optic networks, wherever they do not have, meaning the agreement is reciprocal in nature. That makes a good business sense.
The agreement signed among the parties details the types of buildings in which Riser infrastructures will be shared and the technical procedures for implementation. The competitors will gradually specify the cities, areas and building in which they want to deply optical fiber. The agreement also includes the option to transfer existing undertakings or for each company to build its own.
This Co-Co business style (Compete and Co-operate) in fiber optic business will make the broadband deployment faster. Fiber optic networks can be shared among broadband service providers that makes effective utilization of existing infrastructures and also helps to reduce carbon footprint. This Co-Co business model is different from Open Access business model that being in practice in many countries. We can say this agreement is a Limited Open Access model. Since Telefonica’s fiber optic networks passes more than 2 million houses in Spain, Orange and Vodafone would be the major beneficiaries. CMT figures show that more than 250,000 houses in Spain have Fiber to the home connection out of a total of 9 million broadband connections.
Hit by economic recession, 27 percent of Spain’s workforce is unemployed currently. Telecommunication service providers have started offering reduced monthly charges as a measure to retain subscribers. The dropping service charges tightens the competition in the telecom market. Telefonica slashed their broadband service charges this year. It was in this scenario, both Vodafone and Orange approached the telecommunication regulation authority to intervene to reach an amicable solution. Vodafone and Orange together plan to construct high speed fiber optic networks by investing around US$1.3 billion. These networks will take optical fibers to 6 millions more homes in Spain.
Telefonica offers quad play service package to its subscribers in Spain. The quad play package includes Internet, Television, Mobile and Land line telephone.
CMT’s intervention made the negotiation possible for the competitors to co-operate, which will be beneficial to the broadband subscribers in Spain. The competition will ensure reasonable monthly charges and the co-operation will ensure faster deployment of broadband services. This business model in fiber optic broadband market could be tried in other countries where fiber optic infrastructure is already built by an operator and other service providers without a network feels the pressure of competition, but are ready to reach to customers. Network sharing is not a new thing, but what makes this a news is the role of CMT to effectively intervene to make a co-operation among the competitors that finally benefits consumers.
FTTH part of Telecom Argentina's broadband expansion plans
Telecom Argentina says that it is in the midst of an ambitious plan to extend triple-play service provision across the country. The plan will see fiber-optic networks built in Argentina’s major cities to support GPON-based fiber to the home (FTTH), fiber to the building (FTTB), and fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) combined with VDSL2. Telecom Argentina expects the various architectures to enable 100-Mbps Internet services.
The carrier says it plans to spend more than ARG$1.1 billion on the project.
The services offered on the upgraded broadband access networks, particularly in the case of FTTC, will depend on the quality of the outside plant and the distance of the local loop. Along these lines, Telecom Argentina expects to upgrade several current ADSL2+ networks to VDSL2, with potentially more than 1 million customers affected in the first stage of implementation. These customers will see their service offerings rising from a maximum of 20 Mbps to 100 Mbps, the carrier says.
The FTTH deployments will focus initially on what Telecom Argentina describes as “geographical areas which require a high concentration of ultra broadband access.” These include AMBA, Cordoba, and Rosario.
NTS brings online first FTTP customer in Abilene, Texas
NTS, a competitive fiber-centric broadband provider, has begun providing fiber to the premises (FTTP) services to its first customer in Abilene, Texas.
Leveraging the same methods it used in its Wichita Falls buildout, the network in Abilene is a metro build that’s targeting over 1,000 area business customers.
Since launching its PRIDE FTTP network in 2010, NTS has built out the network in 17 markets in Texas, including a recently completed build in Iowa Park and earlier in Slaton, Texas. It complemented its own ongoing build out in September 2011 by purchasing 1,800 cable customers and equipment from regional operator Reach Broadband.
“We have seen a strong demand for our high speed, triple-play offering from our metro build in Wichita Falls, and we believe Abilene is an ideal market for the expansion of our metro build strategy,” said Guy Nissenson, chairman, president and CEO of NTS, in a release. “The business community relies on high speed bandwidth and the speed and accessibility of our network meets its expectations. We’re pleased to have connected our first customer in Abilene and look forward to adding more in the coming weeks.”
Outside of Texas, NTS has begun building its fiber network in Hammond and other communities in Louisiana. Upon completion, the service provider said that its fiber network will reach 19 new communities and will pass over 53,000 locations.
To build out the PRIDE network, NTS is leveraging $54 million in loans and $45.9 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Broadband Initiatives Program.