China vs rest of the world

06 Jun 2014

In a country with 1.35 billion people and a land mass of 9.6 million square kilometers, national and industry stats are often in a category of their own. And fiber is of course no exception.

The country’s broadband subscriber base increased 15 times over 10 years and stands at 189 million. It has 155 million kilometers of fiber, a 13 times increase from 11 million in 2003. That represents 30% annual growth and 60% of the world’s total.

China has 40 million FTTH subs, which account for close to 50% of the global total of 90 million. China Telecom has about 80% of the nation’s total FTTH subs.

By the end of next year, FTTH will pass 200 million homes and subs will jump to 65 million. The government’s target is 70 million, but the fast roll out of LTE has slowed growth, said Wei Leping, China Telecom’s chairman of its technology steering committee.

To put those numbers in perspective, Indonesia’s government has set a fiber target of 15 million homes passed by 2014 (it hit 8.2 million last year).

Wei said the cost of FTTH has dropped sharply over past three years and is now nearing the cost fiber-to-the-building (FTTB).

Shipments of EPON OLT have decreased sharply while shipments of GPON OLT have increased 50%.

Among the obstacles to FTTH employments, Wei noted that regulation barriers for triple play in China are a major challenge. He also pointed out that the complicated construction environment and low-quality passive components have had a negative effect.

He called for automating construction and deployment, with for example zero-touch components.

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