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FTTH Europe: Now That's What I Call Broadband

Ray Le Maistre
LR Cable News Analysis
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief
2/24/2010

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

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ericwaynedavis
ericwaynedavis
12/5/2012 | 4:42:09 PM
re: FTTH Europe: Now That's What I Call Broadband


"Of course, where 1 Gbit/s is being offered, the customer-to-fiber split ratio is going to be very low."


 


Hmmm... ever heard of over subscription, or statistical multiplexing?


 


Who in their right mind would consider offering a 1Gbps guaranteed data service to a residential subscriber for Internet access?

t.bogataj
t.bogataj
12/5/2012 | 4:42:08 PM
re: FTTH Europe: Now That's What I Call Broadband


ericwaynedavis: "Who in their right mind would consider offering a 1Gbps guaranteed data service to a residential subscriber for Internet access?"


Sounds so familiar, brings up memories.


No one will ever need more than 640 kB of RAM.


No one will ever need more than 1 Mbps access.


History is our teacher, but we never seem to listen.


Tata,
T.

ericwaynedavis
ericwaynedavis
12/5/2012 | 4:42:08 PM
re: FTTH Europe: Now That's What I Call Broadband


Please don't misunderstand my point. I'm not dismissing the idea of 1Gbps to the home. I AM saying that it will be oversubscribed. As such, the split ratio is not a limiting factor. You can still offer 1Gbps and maintain a 32/64/128 split ratio, again because the service is over subscribed.

Hopkins
Hopkins
12/5/2012 | 4:42:03 PM
re: FTTH Europe: Now That's What I Call Broadband


As Ray can attest, ZON proves that innovation and multiplay bundles are the way to compete in Europe. In addition to superfast FTTH broadband, ZON now offers MVNO, and is Europe's fastest growing triple-play operator. The key to their strategy has been service transformation.

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