Why is FTTH better than other broadband technologies

  “Today I got in one of those discussions, that I normally avoid, an old colleague that says that fibre investment is not need, as copper based networks are good enough for the needs. do you agree? (Joao, Consultant)”

FTTH vs Copper based broadband technologies

Views of telecom consultant

“It is naive to think that one technology is better than the other. Please don’t do that typical salesman’s mistake.”

  After so many years in FO and in PON, I came to the conclusion that everything starts from the subscriber available applications and not the operator transport technology.

  For instance, the more heavy-bandwidth applications are made available by the operator, the more higher bit rates must be available to the operator.

  However, it will always (at least so far) be a matter of voice, Internet data and video/TV services. So no matter what is available it will come down to video transport that eats the most bandwidth.

  So for the traditional operators, the choice is between satellite and PON. We all know what is the most powerful in all respect. For the CATV operators, it is the HFC with the fibre going down to the last amplifier and the coax to the subscriber.

  And the market is divided into a simple two-part: brownfield (network already installed) vs. greenfield (new subscriber base/new development). And the real issue is the brownfield.

Communications cables: Fiber or copper?

Communications cables: Fiber or copper?

  In the brownfield, the traditional operator is forced to remove and replace no matter the selected technology (PON vs. VDSL2). Here I need to emphasize that it is naive to think that one technology is better than the other. Please don’t do that typical salesman’s mistake.

  In brownfield the CATV operator needs to remove amplifiers up to the last one and replace them (or bypass them) by fibre up to the last amplifier. In both cases, PON and HFC/last amp, the limitation is related to the fibre cost. In VDSL2, the limitation is distance. but it will always come down to what the subscriber is ready to pay for the service/bandwidth is getting for. Who has the most margin: the elders, the workers, the kids and young adults, the owners of shopping centres, the small and medium size companies?

  In greenfield, everybody is at the same starting line. There is absolutely no difference between the technology. The limitation is overall service/technology installation cost and negotiation for the operator with the developers.

  Now in conclusion, today, there is not much difference in brownfield between the traditional operators with FTTH service offering/price and the CATV operators. They are approximately even. Are they better on the customer service and tech support? Are they faster in call responses for maintenance/repair? For me the laters are much more important than everything in today market. In greenfield, everything is open for fight; but not the transport technology.

  Of course all this is subject to interpretation when it comes down to other developing markets such as in the Far East, Africa, Middle East and Latin America. Then the Government factor (politics) must be mainly taken into account.

Thinking from Project Manager side

“Concerning telecommunications, they want availability with ubiquity (as much as possible), bidirectional enough bandwidth and low latency.”

  I completely agree with consultant’s point of view. We must always watch from the consumer’s perspective. The consumer is alway looking for full feeling their own expectations about the product/service. Concerning telecommunications, they want availability with ubiquity (as much as possible), bidirectional enough bandwidth and low latency. All of that for enjoying or working with no stress. So, from this perspective, the technology is a no subject at all. Everything should be evolving naturally from the hybrid tech of today to the total fibre everywhere in the future. By the way, on my opinion, the ubiquity of access it must rely on very short range radio links like WiFi and other radio technologies based on very high frequencies transmitters ( like 60 GHz or 80 GHz).

Different voice from operator and market

“Telecom consultant and project manager, I agree that you need to see from the customer point of view, but that’s why operators spend money and money in strategy guys, we cannot apply a equal rule for every operator or market.”
FTTH Fiber to the home

FTTH Fiber to the home

  I understand, that a HFC operator don’t see an immediate need for swapping for fibre as satellite and ADSL ones normally do, but as one market is different than other, before going to do a huge investment they see what is in favor and against. While looking for the Portuguese market, the numbers say that the investment of Portugal Telecom and Vodafone was correct, while significantly increase their market share and 3Play packages profits since the firsts deployments. The other way around, NOSm the cable operator, decreased their share a lot.

  As you said, we need to see from customer perspective, but can FTTH or HFC perform better one than other in order to give a better customer experience? I believe FTTH does. The small things such as paying, as a customer, 50 euros for 50 mb package, I like to have those 50 mb, not “up to 50 mb” with values of 10/20 mb in peak hours. Also, a FTTH network performs better in terms of reliability, so in terms of maintenance and downtime they should perform better.

  In terms of company synergies, FTTH is a great network to use also in 4G deployments, decreasing deployment costs a lot, also, are the current HFC networks ready for FTTH swapping in the future? If yes, better, if not will they go over a deployment when their network is not able to compete with FTTH?

  So, I see FTTH as a better technology, but company strategy is what makes difference in the end.

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