BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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68 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 TECHNOLOGY What's Next For Next-Generation Access? Copper and fber are both getting faster and more economical. In the next few years, telcos should be able to provide next-gen services to many more customers. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities T elephone companies have an ever- expanding menu of options for delivering advanced broadband services. New technologies and new standards are proliferating, and many operators use multiple approaches. Nearly everyone agrees that fber to the home is the endgame and that gigabit access is the new measure of success. However, many FTTH technology options are available, and there are many paths to a full fber network. Which choice is the right one depends on the condition of an operator's existing plant, the size of its capital budget, the density of the population served, the competitive landscape, and current and future customer demand for bandwidth and for highly reliable, consistent service. SQUEEZING MORE BANDWIDTH FROM COPPER Because of vectoring, pair bonding and the soon-to-arrive G.fast standard, the broadband speeds possible over last-mile copper are faster than ever before (for details, see "Is VDSL+PON the Cure for Consumer Broadband Addiction?" on page 64). For many operators, these new technologies provide relief, albeit temporary, from the fnancial burden and the slow pace of building out FTTH. "Te demand for VDSL is increasing, and we have seen some of the more ambitious plans for fber to the home being scaled back due to cost," says Bill McDonald, director of carrier development and relations for semiconductor company Ikanos Communications. McDonald believes that even China, which announced a goal of connecting 40 million families to FTTH by 2015, is now "looking at VDSL more seriously." Another reason to use copper-based solutions is that they are less disruptive for customers than fber. Both McDonald and Stefaan Vanhastel, wireline marketing director at equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent, say some European operators report that as many as 50 percent of DSL customers cancel their FTTH orders after learning that fber upgrades will require digging up lawns and drilling through walls. Tese operators turn to VDSL solutions to provide high speeds without the need for construction at customer premises. (Tese cancellation percentages seem extremely high relative to the experiences of U.S. operators and even to earlier experiences in Europe. A skeptic might wonder whether European operators are now overplaying the disruptiveness of fber installation to encourage customers to continue using copper-based service.) Fiber deployers encounter other problems in the Middle East, where, according to Vanhastel, installers may not enter a customer premises unless the man of the family is at home. In addition, many high-end homes in the Middle BBC_Jan14.indd 68 1/27/14 1:48 PM