The new Connecting Everyone report from French research company IDATE has revealed the real-world challenges in building universal Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) coverage, leaving a massive opportunity for ultra-fast Gfast and Fixed Wireless technology to deliver high-speed broadband.
Released at the IDATE DigiWorld Summit in Paris overnight, Connecting Everyone revealed that in the total serviceable global Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) and FTTH market of about 670 million premises that 60% of these – 402 million premises – are being served with FTTB technology.
“Many operators we spoke to for this report concluded they could not see an investment case for upgrading networks from FTTB to FTTH,” said Jean-Luc Lemmens, Head of Telecom Practice at IDATE. “This means that FTTB services will be part of the mix for a very long-time to come.”
Director of Marketing and Communications at NetComm, Els Baert, welcomed the findings of the IDATE report.
“Although initial goals of universal FTTH are admirable, many operators with a FTTH strategy find it very hard to take fibre all the way to the home, especially in Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs),” she said.
“By using Gfast, gigabit speeds are now possible in FTTB environments and by reverse powering the Gfast equipment, the installation and activation is much quicker.”
NetComm is already working with Australian operator NBN Co to deploy its Gfast enabled 8-port and 16-port DPUs onto the NBN Co Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) network in Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs) and expects the first units to be delivered in the first half of 2019.
The Fixed Wireless opportunity
Connecting Everyone also found that many countries are still struggling to connect rural areas, which is forcing regulators to consider more flexible technology approaches.
For example, in France, President Macron has called for a minimum 8 Mbps bandwidth to be provided to all citizens to avoid the creation of a new digital divide. He has therefore encouraged to explore the use of alternative technologies while waiting for the deployment of FTTH.
Connecting Everyone found that of the 12 million premises currently passed by FTTH or FTTB in France, only one million were in rural areas. The French government is now considering using Fixed Wireless to accelerate the delivery of universal high-speed broadband.
Speaking at the IDATE DigiWorld Summit in Paris – where one of the key topics was delivering universal high-speed connectivity - Baert welcomed this more flexible approach, pointing out that the topography of many European cities – including in France - make them ideally suited for Fixed Wireless delivery.
“European cities and villages are built around churches, which are typically located at the highest location. By installing a base station in the towers, rural areas could be covered in record time, and with minimal investment as a CPE only needs to be provided when the end-user requests the service,” she said.
“When using 3.5GHz and 4 carrier aggregation, speeds of up to 400Mbps can be provided in a range of up to 14km around the base station, which is well within the requirements of today’s end-users."