10:40 AM -- MUNICH -- FTTH Conference 2012 -- The annual event of the FTTH Council Europe is underway here in snowy Munich and the show is packed to the gunnels with thousands of attendees and about 100 exhibitors.
It's clear that there are a lot of interested visitors with projects, either in development or already up and running, that are looking for technical and business model guidance. There's no doubt this event is a roaring success. And yet...
It seems to me that there's little need for the Council to dump on DSL quite so much, given that the captive audience here understands the benefits that fiber access deployments bring in terms of long-term operational savings and value-added service potential for service providers.
Yet the FTTH Council Europe's representatives, whether during a keynote speech or press conference presentation, feel the need to take a kick at one of the technical alternatives, especially in a marketing video that compares FTTH speeds with mobile access, satellite broadband and ADSL (which is, of course, a great deal slower -- we know that already!). (See KPN Preps 500Mbit/s FTTH.)
Of course the Council is an industry pressure group and so inherently biased. But the ongoing anti-copper campaign is labored and unnecessary and, I think, counter-productive. It does the Council's credibility no good, especially as vectoring technology gives DSL something of a boost and extends its useful shelf life. (See Euronews: Austrian Debut for AlcaLu Vectoring, Calix Ups Ante on VDSL Vectoring and ASSIA Gets Behind DSL Management .)
And while the Council talks down the potential gains that service providers might get from advanced DSL technologies, even those that are making a living from fiber access deployments don't feel the need to do so.
"It's all about the ecosystem, one that includes FTTH but also fiber-to-the-cabinet [with copper VDSL tails] and so on. There is always a compromise in the business case," says Richard Jones, founding partner at VenturaTeam, which provides consultancy services to FTTH network operators.
"With vectoring, Belgacom SA has been able to double its downlink speeds, while ZTE Corp. says it has managed to boost speeds to 100 Mbit/s over copper connections [from street cabinets] of 400 meters, so you can achieve decent speeds with vectoring. This does change the business model for operators, as it provides justification of vectored street cabinets for a bit longer, and enables operators to prolong the inevitable move to FTTH," adds Jones. (See Belgacom Preps VDSL2 Vectoring Deployment.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading