Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2014

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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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 69 East are built with marble, which operators don't want to risk damaging. In these cases, operators are glad to have high-speed, copper-based solutions that they can set up from outside a building. Even in other parts of the world, installing fber inside MDUs can often be challenging. Some owners are unwilling to grant entry rights, and some old buildings are just too difcult to rewire. Will customers actually see the same speeds over copper that have been demonstrated in the lab? McDonald believes that though the new copper technologies won't work as advertised in all cases – and in particular won't be a universal solution – they will work well enough to make a signifcant diference for many telcos. "In real-world deployments, there are always some surprises," he says, "but the industry is pretty confdent." As always with copper, there is a trade-of. When an operator terminates fber at a distribution point right outside a customer premises and uses it to connect a single customer via VDSL or, that customer can receive service very similar to FTTH. However, the operator has incurred the expense of laying fber to the customer's door. Vanhastel explains, "If you get that close, the cost becomes very close to FTTH – you just save the cost of entering the home, and for some operators, it's worth it. Some use it as a Plan B" – if, for one reason or another, they can't install fber inside the home. On the other hand, when an operator locates a DSLAM farther away and uses it to serve a large number of customers, the cost savings is much greater, but maximum speeds are lower, oversubscription is much higher, and service is not as reliable. FULL SPEED AHEAD WITH FIBER Getting fber "most of the way there" is a step toward getting fber all the way there, and some telcos are using vectoring for that purpose. Vanhastel says Alcatel-Lucent expected the European operators that were already committed to DSL to embrace vectoring (a technology that Alcatel-Lucent was frst to introduce), but "we were a bit pleasantly surprised to see fber operators looking into it, too, as a complement to fber. It takes years to roll out fber, and they're facing heavy competition from cable operators, so they can't aford to wait till their FTTH rollouts are completed. Tey're looking at VDSL2 to speed up the rollouts and get them more customers faster … and start generating revenue, then use that revenue to fund the FTTH rollout." In 2013, the Australian government decided to refocus its National Broadband Network from FTTH to fber to the node – a decision that prompted more than a quarter-million Australians to petition the government to reconsider. (So far, it hasn't.) However, according to Vanhastel, other large-scale FTTH projects in the Asia-Pacifc region are still "going full speed ahead," and deployments in Europe are also continuing apace. Tus, the deployment of new VDSL technologies should not change the long-term outlook for fber, even if it delays fber rollouts in some areas. Rather, its main efect will be to provide extra bandwidth to customers who were not slated to get fber for several years, if ever. GPON and, to a lesser degree, point-to-point Ethernet are the most prevalent FTTH technologies in use today, with EPON – formerly the most frequently deployed technology – now on the decline. Vanhastel says some Asian telcos have now switched from EPON to GPON, which ofers 2.5 Gbps, compared with EPON's 1 Gbps. EPON remains popular among North American cable companies for reasons that are primarily institutional and historical rather than technical. Te availability of the new Many FTTH deployers face heavy competition from cable operators, so they can't aford to wait till their FTTH rollouts are completed. They're looking to VDSL2 in the interim. BBC_Jan14.indd 69 1/27/14 1:48 PM

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