& 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, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
,
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
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   |   (2) 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 ...
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
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
Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/22/2016
Rocket Fiber Lights Up Detroit With Gigabit
Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, 8/22/2016
'Most Wanted' Kobi Comes Home
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 8/23/2016
Arista Banned From Importing Products – Cisco
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/23/2016
How the Padres Hit an IoT Home Run
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
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. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.