Asia's FTTH king hedges bets with

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms & Media
14 Mar 2014

As a telecom analyst, you have to do a lot of reading – and that means plowing through a lot of stories that eager public-relations executives are desperately trying to pump life into, despite the fact that they contain almost nothing of serious interest whatsoever. (The stories, that is, not the executives – although I guess it could sometimes be both.)

Sometimes, though, you come across a story that takes you aback because it has such big implications yet, for some reason, has disappeared almost without mention.

Such was the case earlier this month, when I read that South Korean broadband giant KT – one of the biggest and most aggressive early builders of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks – had announced that it was investing in networking technology to provide ultra-fast speeds over existing in-building copper networks.

To me, this seems to be a pretty big story: a leading FTTH player seeking to use “last century” copper to deliver ultrafast broadband. But it received little coverage.

KT has signed a deal with global chipset player Marvell, via equipment-manufacturer partner Ubiquoss, to deploy Marvell’s technology (using chipsets) to increase broadband speeds in multidwelling units (MDUs), in which a large proportion of its subscribers reside.

KT officials told Informa Telecoms & Media in October that the firm was investigating how to deliver higher speeds over existing in-building copper networks, and the operator says that having trialed extensively last year, it will move toward commercial deployment this year.

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