FTTH rollout speeds matter as much as access speeds

Staff writer
20 Apr 2016

Daniel Tang, CTO of Network Product Line at Huawei Technologies, explains why FTTH rollouts need to happen faster, and why collaboration with municipal utility companies is key to speeding up rollouts

Broadband Insights: Why does deployment speed matter when it comes to FTTH rollouts?

Daniel Tang: FTTH deployment speed will typically impact two key factors. First, there is the time to the market for new FTTH services, which of course are revenue sources for operators. And second, there is deployment cost per customer. If the penetration ratio is higher, the installation can be done by batch instead of one-by-one, and hence, the total cost will be reduced and shared by more customers.

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Broadband Insights April 2016


What factors tend to slow down FTTH rollouts?

There are many factors that tend to slow down FTTH rollouts, such as strict and uneasy Rights of Way (ROW) for fiber rollouts, no synergy or lack of collaboration for existing resource reutilization between telcos and local municipal companies, and lack of innovative tools and engineering practices for things like last-mile fiber drops and solving in-door wiring issues.

What can telcos do to get around those issues and speed up rollout times?

For speeding up FTTH rollout times, governments and regulators can help telcos to get easier ROW, or support collaboration between telcos and local municipal utilities companies for better synergies and renting utilities, duct and fiber resources. Last-mile fiber-dropping work from buried to aerial mode can be achieved more quickly by collaborating with house developers. Meanwhile, in-house wiring can be done and sped up with higher efficiency by using innovative tools and modern engineering practices.

What are the potential challenges to implementing this proposed collaboration mechanism?

One challenge for telcos is that public utilities have little willingness to share surplus fiber/duct resources. Local governments and regulators should encourage them to share these resources with telcos.

Another challenge is shifting to this new business model of sharing the fiber/duct resource with local utilities, because it takes a longer time to negotiate with different parties.

Are there any examples demonstrating the effectiveness of this level of collaboration?

There are several, in fact. In Ireland, for example, VDF rents the fiber from ESB (the local power company to speed up its FTTH deployment.

In Poland, Orange rents fiber from [local energy company] Tauron to save 14% on its ODN capex investment, and its time-to-market is 12 months ahead.

In Croatia, publicly-owned transmission company Odasiljaci i Veze (OiV) has begun a government-backed project to combine the surplus fiber-optic broadband network capacity of seven majority state-owned companies including energy and transport, motorway, railway, etc. OiV owns over 8,000 km of fiber across the country. And all the operators can just rent the fiber from OiV to hasten FTTH deployments.

In China, the Ministry of Housing and Urban China has issued “Residential and Residential Building FTTH Communications Facilities Construction Engineering Design Specifications” in order to address and solve the difficulties of residential wiring projects. These specifications for new buildings require that optical fiber in the home must be ready before the apartment is sold.

This article was first published in Telecom Asia Broadband Insights April 2016 edition

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