FTTH – Would you pay?

Read recently in the telecommunications international magazine, an interesting comparison in the differing approaches of BT and France Telecom in approaching Fibre To The Home (FTTH).   

 quote: “The French and British often pride themselves on their differences. Flamboyancy and showmanship favoured by the French; restraint cherished by the British. When it comes to broadband access, the respective incumbents of these two countries are showing similar differences in style”

BT’s argument is that the UK public are not prepared to pay the subscriber costs associated with the high deployment costs of FTTH.  Instead vDSL2 is the way forward for the UK for the moment.  This means high speed broadband access up to 24mbps if you live close enough to the exchange, (although there are moves afoot to try and extend that).  At present it would seem that for 50 or 100MB to your computer at home, Fibre is the physical media that is required.  But will you pay for it, currently your house has the copper infrastructure already there (the local loop), to effectively replace that is a costly exercise.  Techniques such as blown-fibre down existing ducts is doing it’s bit to reduce the civil costs (the cost to dig a trench to your door) but it is still pricey. 

Recent studies put the setup costs of supplying FTTH at over $1000 per customer but declining.  What these means for the consumer, well  the telecomms international article quotes this as about 45 euros a month for 50MB with France Telecom’s Orange product. A straight currency conversion makes that a seemingly reasonable price of approx £32-35 .  In the UK we were paying that much for 4mb not too long ago, but I suspect that this figure would be more like £50-75 where it in the UK. 

However it’s a bit pie in the sky at the moment, BT at the moment doesn’t seem to have FTTH in it’s roadmap whilst the 21CN project is ongoing and who else is there really to challenge. 

So do BT have it right, Cameron Rejali, MD of Products and Services BT Wholesale: “The economics for rolling out FTTH as the prices that customers would be willing to pay wouldn’t justify the investment”

…………………… your comments are welcome..

Definition (source: wikipedia) 

Fiber to the x (FTTX) is a generic term for any network architecture that uses optical fiber to replace all or part of the usual copper local loop used for telecommunications. The four technologies, in order of an increasingly longer fiber loop are:

  • Fiber to the node / neighborhood (FTTN) / Fiber to the cabinet (FTTCab)
  • Fiber to the curb (FTTC) / Fibre to the kerb (FTTK)
  • Fiber to the building (FTTB)
  • Fiber to the home (FTTH)

In the actual deployments, the difference between FTTN and FTTC is quite subtle and is mostly that the latter is nearer the customer than the former.

The poorly-defined term fiber to the premises (FTTP) is sometimes used to describe FTTH and/or FTTB.


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