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Gigabit Broadband: What's the Business Case?

An affordable gigabit broadband service sounds like a great proposition for business and residential users, but how possible is it for a network operator to develop a commercially viable return-on-investment and business plan to support such a service?

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, global consumer at JT (formerly Jersey Telecom), the incumbent network operator on the small Channel Island state of Jersey (just off the north coast of France), has some answers.

He's part of the management team that has developed and implemented an unique business case for a point-to-point fiber broadband network rollout, dubbed "Gigabit Jersey," that includes the forced migration of users from copper connections to fiber: "Most others are opt-in," notes Kutvolgyi.

That forced migration, plus other factors, such as the decision to charge customers for broadband data usage above a certain monthly limit, is all part of an integrated business plan that JT hopes will enable it to cover its investment within ten years.

JT is still in the process of taking fiber all the way up to the island's 42,000 premises, but it already has its backbone ring running within 100 meters of all the island's properties, while about 15,000 of the island's 36,000 or so broadband services users are already hooked up to fiber. JT offers a range of fiber broadband plans, with its gigabit service costing £59.99 (US$93.10) per month (for data use of up to 300GB).

But Kutvolgyi and his colleagues have learned a lot about data consumption habits, the challenges of a forced migration plan -- "It's a social program that has its challenges" -- and the "critical and under-estimated issues around the connection to the actual home/office networks beyond the service demarcation point" related to security, WiFi capabilities and IP address management.

The JT man also has plenty of great insights into the anticipated impact on day-to-day operations and costs of running an all-fiber network (with no copper plant).

So it was only natural that I would invite him to be one of the key speakers at the upcoming Gigabit Europe 2015 conference I'm hosting in Munich, Germany, on September 29 & 30. Having spoken with him on the phone, I know Kutvolgyi is going to be in demand to share a great deal more about Gigabit Jersey than he can possibly impart during his keynote speech and panel discussion (Gigabit Broadband Goes Home) on September 30 (see the agenda for full details).


Want to know more about gigabit broadband developments in Europe? Then join us at Light Reading's Gigabit Europe 2015 conference on Sept. 29-30 in Munich: It's where beer and broadband come together!!


That's because not only does JT have a fascinating business model, but its approach to developing a gigabit broadband service on an island that measures about ten miles by five miles is one that's highly relevant to so many municipalities and cities that are contemplating whether they should invest, or encourage investment in, new (alternative) fiber access networks that can be a catalyst to a truly digital society.

The discussion and debate at Gigabit Europe will focus on the business, technology, strategic and service options facing incumbent, competitive and potential greenfield operators of all kinds (telco, cable, mobile, utility, municipality): Find out more by joining Kutvolgyi and the other great industry speakers in Munich.

For more on the issues we'll be discussing, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

DHagar 9/18/2015 | 8:18:18 PM
Re: Jersey Boy Ray, congratulations, it sounds like a great place and a great business model.  I have been wondering, with all of the cities looking to add gigabit, when someone would come up with a sustainable business case.  This is really good news.  Will you be sharing it with we LR readers?  Note:  Also, consider including a picture of Jersey?
PaulERainford 9/18/2015 | 4:22:08 AM
Re: Jersey boy I suppose a wide-eyed Jersey boy would find the siren call of the Greater London borough of Sutton impossible to resist. That and the coffee's better over the water.
[email protected] 9/18/2015 | 3:34:01 AM
Re: Jersey boy It's true that this tiny island is my birthplace (and explains why I have a rather ridiculous surname for a Brit - Jersey is only miles from France and has a strong French heritage).

This makes the Gigabit Jersey development even more interesting to me personally... and also gives me on-the-ground feedback from family members who still live there.

To keep me there, Gigabit broadband wold have needed to be launched in the early 1980s.... I don't think they were ready for it then :-)
DOShea 9/17/2015 | 3:11:38 PM
Jersey boy Ray, shouldn't you have put this disclaimer somehwere in here that you are from Jersey? If gigabit broadband had come sooner, I'm wondering if you might never have left the island...
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