Customers warming to NTT's next-gen services

Mike Galbraith
14 Dec 2009
00:00
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NTT is gambling its future on the success of its NGN network, launched last year with the aim of opening up a technology lead over its rivals.

Now early signs suggest services on the all-fiber network are gaining traction in the market.

The awkwardly-named FLET Hikari Next, launched under the radar 20 months ago, is now signing up more than 20,000 new subs each month for a 200-Mbps download/100-Mbps upload service.

It attracted just 40,000 subscribers in its first year, but between March and September, as the new service expanded coverage to almost 80% of the optical access service area, the customers numbers increased to 140,000 mark.

Another NGN service, Hikari TV - featuring IPTV and HDTV - has been growing much faster since it started in April 2008 and had gained 770,000 customers by end-September, leaving the standard FLET'S TV service far behind in its wake.

NTT sources say the biggest issue facing NTT's NGN is the development of new services. Other services such as Home ICT and SaaS for businesses have also started to appear but are yet to catch on and the company is not releasing any data.

NTT invested 116 billion yen ($1.3 billion) on the business last year and an estimated 127 billion yen in 2009. It is also devoted substantial resources to R&D and NGN service development and delivery. One example was the development of small-radius optical cables which are cheaper to install and enable optical connection direct to apartments rather than to buildings.

NTT plans to extend the Hikari Next service area to cover 100% of its fiber-optic service area by the end of March 2011, which will make it available to 90% of its subscribers.

In the past NTT's determination to be the first to roll out services in the world has often meant it has had to modify its architecture and interfaces when the world standards are later set by the ITU. This time round both architecture and interfaces are aligned with ITU-T standardization that is almost completed.

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