Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2013

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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FTTH DeploymenT FTTH Empowers Scottish Housing Cooperative The installation of FTTH on greenfeld sites gave Scotland's West Whitlawburn Housing Cooperative control over deployment, services and cost and ensured a wide take-up of high-speed broadband among its tenants. Editor's note: Tis case study was originally published by the FTTH Council Europe in January 2013. Contact the Council at W hen Scotland's West Whitlawburn Housing Cooperative (WWHC) built 100 new homes on the outskirts of Glasgow between 2007 and 2009, it chose FTTH as the communications infrastructure for its greenfeld site. By laying and managing its own network, WWHC set out to ofer tenants triple-play communications services at lower rates than those of national communications service providers, according to Paul Farrell, director of West Whitlawburn Housing Cooperative, which provides afordable accommodations to low-income families on the edge of Glasgow. Funding for the new development came from both the Scottish government and loans to the WWHC from the Co-operative Bank [a division of a large consumer cooperative in the U.K.]. Because it was starting from scratch, WWHC was able to lay ducts for its GPON fber network as part of its overall construction project. Tis meant that equipping the 100 dwellings with FTTH added little to the total £13.5 million ($21.0 million) cost of building the 100 dwellings. "Te scale of the housing development was huge, and we had no existing infrastructure such as water or telecoms. Laying fber added around 26 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 2 percent to the total cost; it was not signifcant," says Farrell, adding that "the highest building is two-story, so technically it wasn't too difcult." WWHC remains the sole telecom infrastructure provider on the site, and in 2009 it set up a legally independent consumer cooperative, called Whitcomm, to provide and manage the FTTH access and triple-play service. Whitcomm also sets a monthly tarif based on the services tenants choose to use. Tenants have the opportunity to be members of Whitcomm and therefore decide both pricing and service evolution. In April 2012, for example, the cooperative upgraded broadband speed to 50 Mbps. Whitcomm sets pricing and does not seek a return on investment in its FTTH infrastructure. "Whitcomm's capital position is neutral. We need to watch our fees," says Farrell. For line rental and fber broadband up to and often exceeding 50 Mbps, Whitcomm charges £24.70 ($38.53) per calendar month. For both broadband and telephone service, customers pay £30.69 ($47.87), which includes anytime calls to U.K. landlines. Nevertheless, WWHC calculated that Whitcomm needs to attain a 50 percent penetration rate in order to be viable – a threshold that it has surpassed. | March/april 2013

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