Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The access network is the weakest link

Operators hesitating to deploy FTTH face a short-sighted stock market and uncertainty over demand. I have displayed some scepticism over the latter myself.

However, as a user I am still frustrated over web pages loading slowly (try FT.com for instance, and even Amazon.com could be a little faster to my taste), which highlights the importance for every single weak link in the network to be dealt with.

Dirk 'munifiber' van der Woude mailed me this excerpt to Nick Carr's new book and tells me USB 2.0 delivers 400 Mb/s. Now, Devolo plans a 400 Mb/s demo for in-home networking (based on PLC). At the other end, Google is making sure it doesn't overpay for transpacific transit.

In other words, the access network (but not just that part) is being squeezed from both sides (backhaul as well as in-home) to deliver more bandwidth to the user. (And not just fixed access, but wireless as well.)

To round off, here are two new articles supporting the demand side of the FTTH equation:
  • e-Health. Google recently scored a deal with the Cleveland Clinic, which could add to a new wave of information competing for bandwidth. McKinsey just released an interview (free registration) with CEO Cosgrove. It doesn't touch upon the Google deal, but it is an interesting read anyway, since e-health is such a big opportunity for the telecom sector.
  • Web 2.0. In a presentation I did last year, I referred to surveys showing that 8% of the US population was actively taking part in Web 2.0, and that 50% read blogs. Now, research shows that 54% of enterprises and 70% of small companies use Web 2.0.

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