Operators should trial fibre to the home (FTTH) while also focusing on less expensive copper-based technologies

Date: Mon, 09/20/2010 - 15:12 Source: Analysys Mason press department

Operators should reconsider costly plans for fibre to the home (FTTH) and focus on copper-based technologies, according to global telecoms, media and IT adviser Analysys Mason’s latest report FTTx roll-out and capex in developed economies: forecasts 2010–2015
Operators should trial fibre to the home (FTTH) while also focusing on less expensive copper-based technologies Rupert Wood, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason

Wireless devices and services will continue to capture new consumer telecoms spend (whether this is incremental or substitutive) because this area has the greatest rate of innovation. This growth makes it more difficult for fixed operators because overall consumer spend on telecoms has long since ceased to grow in developed economies. Many cable operators have been offering superfast fixed broadband connectivity for some time in Europe and North America, but take-up remains troublingly low.
“FTTH is often said to be ‘future-proof’, but the future appears to have veered off in a different direction,” says Rupert Wood, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason and author of the report.
“The vague promise of future services may appeal to some early FTTH adopters, but will become increasingly ineffective as a selling point unless the rate of innovation in devices and services that are uniquely suitable for FTTH gets some new impetus from vendors and service providers. The future cannot be simply plotted against increasing fixed-line bandwidth.”
Moreover, in an economic environment where governments have to reduce their levels of borrowing, we would expect some to reduce, or rethink, their long-term commitments to fibre roll-outs. Heavy next-generation access investment could be perceived as politically awkward or even inappropriate in markets where budgets for education, health and social welfare are being cut.
The report recommends that operators should trial FTTH while focusing on less-expensive copper-based technologies, such as VDSL. “Conditions vary between markets, but in general the business case to move much beyond trials just isn’t there and we are already beginning to see some scale-back,” explains Wood.
“Bandwidth demand for fixed broadband is converging with the bandwidth required to stream TV, and its rate of growth will slow down. VDSL might not be able to meet these demands at some point in the future, but we believe that this point is still a long way off.”

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