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[Article] Fibre-to-the-home should be Germany's broadband solution

  • 06-07-2003 3:59am
    Registered Users Posts: 19,608 ✭✭✭✭

    Not the newest article on the block but worth a quick read given various comments from them that are in power (see New Connections[1] for statements that investing in fibre might be a waste of money as it might become obsolete before we use it:D (there are two ways to interpret that)).

    Fibre-to-the-home should be Germany’s broadband solution
    26/02/2003 - Editor: Neal S. Lachman

    Broadband availability in Germany is unlikely to happen in the near term, according to a recent survey of the broadband sector by Deutsche Bank Research. However, researchers often make the mistake of looking at existing, legacy system operators, such as CATV (cable) and telephone (DSL) operators, for broadband solutions. This is a wrong approach, based on outdated way of thinking.

    Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), is the only solution for a future-proof, high-capacity, and superior-quality transmission system. CATV and Telco operators can only deliver semi-broadband access, simply because these systems are not built for the high-throughput two-way/bi-directional traffic. No matter how often and what upgrades the systems will go through, FTTH is the only economical and future-proof solution to provide traffic at true broadband speeds, which can be defined as speeds of 10 Mbps and higher, up to 100 Mbps.

    FTTH is a brand-new industry, based on fairly new technologies, but it will be able to deliver us the same services as we know and use today. Better, besides delivering Internet Access speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second, FTTH operators can also provide higher quality telephone services, and broadcast many more TV networks to your TV than a cable or satellite operator can dream of. All this, plus true Interactive services and programming, real-time on-demand programs and movies or DVDs to your TV and computers.

    But how can German households and (small) businesses get access to true broadband services? The answer is that only FTTH system operators will be able and willing to do something in the near future, at costs that everybody can afford.

    First we need to understand that start-up FTTH operators, that enter the market as new players, without a legacy system, can be more successful and dedicated to build true-broadband infrastructures. This is because CATV or telcos don‘t feel the need to cannibalise their current revenues. The main issue is that FTTH infrastructures are not based on the legacy CATV and telco infrastructures. It must be built completely from scratch, ‘overbuilding’ as the industry calls it. On the economical side, legacy system operators have debts for hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions. They have invested that money in building the legacy systems, thus their return on investment, or break-even-point, has still to be achieved. FTTH operators will start with zero debts, zero liabilities, just with some very smart investors who buy shares in their companies.

    Secondly, given the geographic spread of cities in Germany, traditional broadband technologies won’t be sufficient. There is no need to wait for the CATV and telcos to deliver broadband services. By stimulating FTTH operators, German citizens and businesses, can bypass the semi-broadband market and go for true broadband at once. There are no technical or economic hurdles for FTTH operators. They just need to be stimulated, given the chance to get going. An appropriate technical approach for FTTH operators in Germany is, most likely, to connect to existing fibre networks for the metro-networks, use high-capacity fixed wireless technologies for the middle mile, to be inventive in laying the last mile, and wiring the building and then the homes with fibre.

    In May 2002, Senator Joseph Lieberman of the United States published a report on true-broadband infrastructures. In it, he clearly recommends the United States adopt a national policy on high-speed broadband infrastructures, because it will be a goldmine, for the country, as productivity will grow. Politicians and investors in Germany - or from the whole world for that matter - should know that FTTH is a goldmine for the country.

    Neal S. Lachman is a Dutch citizen, living in - and operating from - Vancouver, Canada. He is a founding member of the world's first global Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) trade-organization: 21st Century Infrastructures Consortium. Neal is a 12-year veteran in bandwidth- and broadband industries, with extensive experience in the field of CATV systems and Satellite transponders. In his function as President and CEO of LBDC International, Neal strongly advocated plans for building their own FTTH infrastructures.

    [1]I've again recently received official confirmation that New Connections is still the official FF/PD government plan for the Internet in Ireland, even though they haven't actually implemented anything in it (except part of the bit dealing with filing:D) and certainly won't get anywhere near fulfilling their promise (in the document, the FF election manifesto and lots of speeches by Mary O'Rourke) of a 5Mps connection for everyone by 2005. Seems you can still be full of crap even when you know someone's watching.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭Serbian

    I quite like their definition of True Broadband speeds:
    FTTH is the only economical and future-proof solution to provide traffic at true broadband speeds, which can be defined as speeds of 10 Mbps and higher, up to 100 Mbps.
    This basically says, that when [if?] we eventually get broadband at 512k, it's not really broadband. Even the overpriced, unavailable 1024k connections don't come close to true broadband!

    Way to go Eircom!

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,815 ✭✭✭✭po0k

    But it's been long stated that official broadband starts at 1.5MBit/sec.

    Of course, that's a very old benchmark.
    I agree with the definition of "True Broadband" speed of 10Mbit/sec, full-motion video uses up about 6MBit so it's only right to have that plus some decent overhead.

    The only problem with having these big fat pipes is that service providers/hosting companies are going to need to give far bigger slices of abndwidth to sites and servers so support all the people with these bigger pipes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,441 ✭✭✭✭jesus_thats_gre

    A similar technology to that referred to above is called the Metro or MANs (Metropolitan Area Networks). If you do a search on the CISCO web site you will find some technical articles on it. It essentially allows standards such as Ethernet to be run over fibre to a customers address and is scaleable from megabit to gigabit speeds. I think it is in operation in either Hong Kong or Tokyo with over 1.5 million buildings served by it already. It has been a few months so I cant remember the finer details off hand.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,718 ✭✭✭SkepticOne

    There are many metropolitan area networks in operation around the world, but they don't always involve fibre to the home. The example of a university with several campuses around a city connected via a high speed network would be covered by the definition. Also covered would be the Government's fibre rings project, which does not include last mile connectivity.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 14,069 Mod ✭✭✭✭monument

    "Fibre-to-the-home" is somewhat nearly true where I live (Ballina, Co. Mayo) and I’m told it’s in or coming to other towns in Ireland. When I say somewhat nearly true I mean that a pipe possible containing fibre cable has just been put down around the town.

    The small problem is that it’s currently not connected to any houses or workplaces. That small problem is really a big problem because before any data/tv/phone/whatever providers sell people a service the cable must be independently linked to houses/workplaces.

    If it’s not independently linked to buildings the ownership of the link should not belong to the service provider as this would make the whole point of having an independent main cable stupid.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 154 ✭✭query

    The fibre ring in Ballina is one of the 19 MANs being built by the Government and local authorities - there's currently a tender out for the management company for these, someone did post a link to it earlier.