Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back on the grid: FTTH and OA

On my way back from Australia, I had a chance to read the Straits Times, which reported on the next stage (an RfP for the NetCo layer), of the Singapore Next Generation National Broadband Network plan. The leading front page story on that day, mind you. Justice finally to this eminently important issue.

This is what I found in my mailbox and around the net on FTTH:
  • Algeria, neatly covered by Blues Brother Benoit. Another case of an emerging market leapfrogging ‘the west’.
  • Singapore, which didn’t escape Brough’s attention. Very interesting, as it mirrors approaches seen in Amsterdam and Sweden: a network in 3 layers, and Singapore is adding structural separation.
  • Amsterdam itself, finally approved by the EC (see Benoit’s coverage).
  • Cisco announced a Reggefiber deal. Interesting wording in the press release: Deventer, Almere and ‘another city within the next few months’; ‘speeds of 100 Mb/s initially, and up to 1 Gb/s in the future’; ‘Reggefiber has plans to offer FTTH-based broadband services to the majority of residents in the Netherlands’; ‘Reggefiber has the ambition to make broadband available to everyone in The Netherlands’.
  • Network build-out in Almere has now started. KPN and Reggefiber joined forces, which apparently extends to datacenters.
  • More Dutch initiatives: BreedNet in North Holland and schools in Frisia (which successfully tapped Kabel Noord, a small MSO that I have learned to know as a frontrunner in cable country). Many MSOs still resist FTTH, apart from the well known Numericable, which is expanding.
  • FTTH appears to be part of the FTTx plans of seven Greek towns, that contracted Ericsson.

‘FTTH’ is linked, via ‘natural monopoly’, to topics like ‘open access’, ‘wholesale’ and ‘sharing’. Still, not everyone is convinced, as can be read here (in relation to the Singapore plans). Still no Telco 2.0 points yet for Belgacom either.

But now, it is spreading to the mobile realm:

  • Network sharing is gaining traction. No longer just Vodafone, but T-Mobile and 3G as well.
  • E-Plus (the German subsidiary to Telco 2.0 champ KPN) is looking ahead to a time where all-IP implies commoditisation on one side and a quest for new revenue streams on the other side. Very interesting, as Apple, Google, Nokia et al seem to be planning along the same lines. KPN itself is taking the services-only path in Spain.

See also my updated FTTH database.

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