FTTH Europe: Now That's What I Call Broadband
LISBON -- FTTH Conference 2010 -- For those of us who live in a relatively bandwidth-poor country such as the U.K., downstream bandwidth of 1 Gbit/s is the stuff of dreams.
But here in Lisbon it's a reality, and I've tried it.
And I like it. A lot.
The service is on offer in only a few small pockets in the Portuguese capital at the moment, and costs €250 (US$338.68) per month, so it certainly won't suit everyone's pocket. But it'll need to cost a lot, because the number of customers per OLT port is going to be very low -- just a handful.
This morning the service here on site was averaging between 600 Mbit/s and 700 Mbit/s, and peaking at about 800 Mbit/s (according to an on-screen meter), which would put the number of end-user connections served by a 2.5-Gbit/s GPON port at a maximum of four. (Indeed, the demo booth here had four terminals up and running.)
But it's not the incumbent telco, Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT), that's offering the service -- it's the competitive cable operator, ZON Multimédia , which has integrated GPON gear from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) into its network to deliver this very high-end service, as well as a more regular FTTH service with top line speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s. (See ZON Does GPON With AlcaLu.)
Of course, where 1 Gbit/s is being offered, the customer-to-fiber split ratio is going to be very low.
The service was announced in September 2009 but with limited details. (See ZON Preps 1G Broadband Offer.)
This is what competition does to a market, as Portugal Telecom admitted this morning. Talking about the operator's own fiber access strategy, CTO Alfredo Baptista noted that the rollout was driven by a number of factors, one of which is "competing infrastructure." He added: "In Portugal there is a high level of competition with cable, and to compete we need fiber."
The competition doesn't stop there, either, as Oni Communications , Optimus Telecomunicações , and Sonaecom are also offering, or planning to offer, fiber access broadband. (See AlcaLu's GPON Goes Portuguese, PT Uses Huawei for FTTH, Portugal 'Gets' FTTH, Portugal Telecom, Corning Target GPON, and Sonaecom Plans $350M FTTH Build.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading