& cplSiteName &

DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
11/12/2003
50%
50%

Despite information about how U.S. ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) plan to roll fiber out to homes and businesses, it looks as if DSL, not fiber to the premises (FTTP), is the real focus of RBOC access deployments.

Even as BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) pursue their high-profile FTTP request for proposal with forecasts of reaching hundreds of thousands of homes in 2004 (see RBOCs See Three Ways to FTTP and FTTP Booty Tough to Peg), their recent earnings reports showcase growth in copper-based DSL.

In their October reports, the three collectively posted 661,000 new DSL customers, an average increase of 11 percent from the previous quarter. They now boast 6.5 million DSL customers nationwide. In all their recent financial announcements, DSL, along with wireless, was cited as key to recent revenues. Further, the RBOCs indicated that DSL adoption is attracting customers interested in combination packages of voice and data, a key for fighting customer churn.

Table 1: RBOC DSL Deployments to Date

Carrier DSL subscribers added in 3Q03 Total DSL subscribers to date
BellSouth 111,000 1.3 million
SBC 365,000 3.1 million
Verizon 185,000 2.1 million
Source: Company announcements


Analysts say RBOCs are doing so well with DSL that they'd be hard-pressed to start displacing it in favor of fiber anytime soon, particularly given that they're only just emerging from the worst downturn in their history. The DSL fun is just beginning, it seems, after a long ramp-up (see DSL Growth Explodes in 2003).

"We remain skeptical that the RBOC FTTP deployments will be as aggressive as stated... The RBOCs remain committed to their DSL deployments, and the bandwidth of DSL is sufficient to deliver broadband data and voice to their customers," writes Sterling Perrin, senior research analyst at IDC, in a recent email.

If demand for video grows substantially, that could change things, Perrin says. But even then, there's evidence that DSL technology, with tweaks, can handle video delivery -- at least in areas where copper is upgraded and dense. In Italy, for example, provider FastWeb SpA offers customers TV-over-DSL via 4-Mbit/s-per-home connections (see FastWeb Piles On the Users).

The argument's been made that Italy is a country in which the copper is relatively new and of a high quality, and distances between carrier facilities and homes are short and dense. Even so, there's evidence that U.S. carriers are interested in ongoing improvements to their copper infrastructures in order to expand DSL subscriptions. And those improvements could put FTTP on the back burner.

Verizon, the only RBOC viewed by analysts as really serious about deployment of FTTP, claims publicly that reaching 60 percent of its customer base with fiber within the next five years is a goal (see FTTP Bidders Slashing Prices?). But in its third-quarter report, the carrier said it has upgraded 74 percent of its copper infrastructure to handle DSL and that it "remains on track" to make 80 percent available to DSL by the end of 2003.

Priorities, priorities...

Meanwhile, others say it's likely the RBOCs will consider FTTP for a modicum of new buildouts but take another tack with fiber in their existing networks. Namely, the carriers will insert fiber strategically in the middle of their networks, instead of running it all the way to customer premises. Such a strategy would shorten the distances DSL signals need to travel, increasing data rates to support higher-speed services like digital TV.

Fiber-to-the-curb, a version of this approach, is already embraced by BellSouth as a key method of bringing fiber to the home. That carrier has tangled with the FCC over the semantics (see FTTH Dispute Boils Up).

Bottom line? What the RBOCs plan to do with FTTP is up in the air, but it's pretty clear they're nowhere near shelving DSL. Indeed, at least one analyst, Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp., has long maintained that RBOCs are ready to sacrifice FTTP plans to further DSL interests. He views the FTTP RFP mainly as an information exercise (see A Closer Look at PON Econ). From his perspective, more fiber in the loop may be a key goal for the RBOCs, but they're not about to sacrifice precious DSL revenue to FTTP buildouts that could cost them ten times as much to get going as DSL -- without payback guarantees to match.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
firstmiler
50%
50%
firstmiler,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:15:40 PM
re: DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP
that the RBOCs would be less than genuine in their much hyped RFP excercise. Certainly these organizations are aware of the cost, effort, and time that the vendors will put into their responses to the RFP. They would not prosecute this RFP "exercise in vain" for thier own selfish and self serving purposes, at the expense of their vendor "parnters"?

Your article implies that the legion of mid-level Jr. Execs that are in charge of this RFP are simply doing busy work, while the money men know all along that they have zero intention of risking capital to build out FTTH in any meaningful manner.

The RBOCs can't be blamed for not wanting to build out FTTH aggressively if the financial reward does not merit the risk at this time, but to put out this RFP in bad faith is less than chivalrous. There are other ways of researching the state of the FTTH market.

Prediction: NO MEANINGFUL RBOC FTTH BEFORE '07
lastmile
50%
50%
lastmile,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:15:39 PM
re: DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP
'Prediction: NO MEANINGFUL RBOC FTTH BEFORE '07

I agree : but 07 may be a bit too early.
'The RBOCs can't be blamed for not wanting to build out FTTH aggressively if the financial reward does not merit the risk at this time, but to put out this RFP in bad faith is less than chivalrous'

I disagree: The RBOC's are playing games. If revenue from 'fraudband DSL' gives them an extended life they will never invest in fiber. Just heard today that the cable co's are reducing broadband prices. Ask the average consumer what is better if both cable/DSL is available in their area. Cable is choice # 1.

The RBOCs are less than genuine in their much hyped RFP excercise.
FACT: They hate Cable/VOIP/FTTH. They love Copper and POTS.
joestudz
50%
50%
joestudz,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:15:37 PM
re: DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP
Not close enough to really understand the economics, but have always felt FTTC (as opposed to FTTP/FTTH) combined with high speed DSL would be a reasonable alternative for telcos.

Here is URL to a company that offers a packaged ethernet over VDSL solution (believe it has been used quite a bit in Europe, but not sure about here in US) that should allow use of existing copper while offerring high speed broadband in parrallel with conventional phone service.

http://www.mrv.com/technology/...
cyberpunk
50%
50%
cyberpunk,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:15:31 PM
re: DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP
Why woudl a user prefer Cable, when the speed of Cable transmission (upstream and downstream) is impeded by an increase in the number of customers coming on-line.
DSL does not have that problem. Besides with ADSL and ADSL 2++ and SHDSL, the bandwidths for DSL are much more than what cable can offer.
--V.
jayja
50%
50%
jayja,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/4/2012 | 11:15:28 PM
re: DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP
Bring it on.

DSL is a loser hand for the RBOC's. There are too many places it can't serve. Our area code did not have DSL at all until earlier this year, and now it is only available to customers within 3000 ft of a CO. Meanwhile, our MSO signed a work-at-home agreement with our area's largest employer to subscibe its employees to cable modem - those customers are already gone if our ILEC ever offers DSL widely in our area.

Several studies show actual delivered DSL line rates to residential subscribers (not lab experiments or web advertising) continuously lag line rates available by cable modem, even as MSO's offer to further double cable modem line rates.

And of course, cable modem maintains almost a 2X subscription edge vs DSL, and current DSL growth rates show no path to catch up.

Finally, video. My DVD player delivers 6 Mb/s to my television. DSL providers are constantly rationalizing delivery of video over slower speeds. I expect a reduction in quality too. Even then, what if I want two or three streams to my home? What if I want hi-def?

Granted they may or may not listen, but FTTP is the lifesaver the ILEC's need to avoid a long slow decline.
wap545
50%
50%
wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:15:26 PM
re: DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP
The RBOC have a choice of 2 basic FTTx systems:
1. FTTCurb: This is VDSL and there is one company now that offers a viable (cost sompetitive to legacy Copper and HFC) Voice/Data and Video Play (True CATV 140+ Channles)over this Copper Last Mile (3-5000')network. That is Next Level Communications-Now Motorola.
2. FTTPremise/Home: This is real Fiber all the way to the NID or ONT, delivering the same triple play services.


Competitiveness of FTTH over 5-7 Years
If one looks at the Telco cost/overhead to install and maintain/support their existing Fiber to a DLC/Cabinet and Copper to the home network as a Cost/Subscriber/Month over 5-7 year period they will find FTTH a far better investment. Overhead for the Legacy network is dramtically higher then any Fiber to a Passive Optics Splitter that does not go bad and requires virtually not Maintenance/Support, power replacement etc.
Wait until these Financial Analyst evalaute the Broadband Wireless networks that only have Air between them and customer Premise.

Prediction: If the RBOC are going to remain a viable competitive force in deployment of communication services (Triple Play) against the MSO they will deploy FTTH in all major Greenfield locations and will deploy FTTCurb to address existing legacy plant.

wap545
50%
50%
wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:15:25 PM
re: DSL Fuels Second Thoughts on FTTP
The RBOC have a choice of 2 basic FTTx systems:
1. FTTCurb: This is VDSL and there is one company now that offers a viable (cost sompetitive to legacy Copper and HFC) Voice/Data and Video Play (True CATV 140+ Channles)over this Copper Last Mile (3-5000')network. That is Next Level Communications-Now Motorola.
2. FTTPremise/Home: This is real Fiber all the way to the NID or ONT, delivering the same triple play services.


Competitiveness of FTTH over 5-7 Years
If one looks at the Telco cost/overhead to install and maintain/support their existing Fiber to a DLC/Cabinet and Copper to the home network as a Cost/Subscriber/Month over 5-7 year period they will find FTTH a far better investment. Overhead for the Legacy network is dramtically higher then any Fiber to a Passive Optics Splitter that does not go bad and requires virtually not Maintenance/Support, power replacement etc.
Wait until these Financial Analyst evalaute the Broadband Wireless networks that only have Air between them and customer Premise.

Prediction: If the RBOC are going to remain a viable competitive force in deployment of communication services (Triple Play) against the MSO they will deploy FTTH in all major Greenfield locations and will deploy FTTCurb to address existing legacy plant.

DSL:
If they put all their eggs in DSL basket they will eventually have to give up their Voice Networks to the MSO as well. This ridiculous effort underway by select RBOC to partner with Satellite Services for a triple play offering will turn out to be a great Double play in the game but they will ultimately Lose the game and their market.
I do have confidence that Better Management minds will ultimately prevail here and they will aggressively seek out the correct formula-as listed above and retain control of their markets.


Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, July 27, 1:00PM EDT
The Changing Face of the Data Center World
Rodney M. Elder, Senior Solutions Architect, Equinix
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, August 3, 1:00PM EDT
The Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center
Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, Open Networking Research Center, Open Networking Lab
Wednesday, August 10, 1:00PM EDT
Telcos & Open Source 101
Phil Robb, Senior Technical Director, OpenDaylight
Friday, August 12, 1:00PM EDT
The Role of Open Source in NFV
Jim Fagan, Director, Cloud Practice, Telstra
in association with:
From The Founder
In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (0) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments


Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks' Kumar Mehta on SD-WAN Managed Services

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Versa's Kumar Mehta for an interview focused on why service providers are building SD-WAN managed services, and how Versa's telco customers are innovating.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper Networks & The Evolution of NFV

7|19|16   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Senior Juniper Networks executives talk to Light Reading Founder & CEO Steve Saunders about NFV developments and the recent independent evaluation by test lab EANTC of Juniper's Cloud CPE solution.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink Goes Beyond Managed WiFi

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


CenturyLink's managed WiFi allows enterprises, such as retailers and resorts, to track guest WiFi usage in order to help them better communicate with customers.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T Launches Network Functions on Demand

7|17|16   |   05:26   |   (0) comments


Roman Pacewicz, Senior Vice President, Offer Management & Service Integration, AT&T Business Solutions, discusses the operator's launch of its Network Functions on Demand service.
LRTV Interviews
Enterprise Pitch for Ciscosson

7|14|16   |   04:43   |   (0) comments


After seven months of near silence, Cisco and Ericsson executives publicly discussed details on their extensive partnership. Among the tidbits shared by Martin Zander, VP, group strategy programs, Ericsson, and Doug Webster, VP service provider marketing, Cisco: The partnership was initially launched to serve the service provider market, but is already gaining ...
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
September 27, 2016, Philadelphia, PA
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
Verizon Sports Big Plans for Yahoo
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 7/26/2016
Kevin Lo's Move to Facebook: Sign of Things to Come?
Patrick Donegan, Chief Analyst, Heavy Reading, 7/20/2016
Verizon's Next With VNFs
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/21/2016
Facebook Gets Its Drone On
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/22/2016
Ericsson Ejects CEO Vestberg
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
I've enjoyed interviewing many interesting people since I rejoined Light Reading, but William A. "Bill" Owens certainly takes the biscuit, as we say where I come from.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.