Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Update on FTTH

There has been a large amount of news on many aspects of FTTH this month alone. Here is an overview, using my own classification (details and hyperlinks are in my updated FTTH 2007 & 2008 database).

  • This month several US muninetworks were announced or reported on: Rosemount (Minn), St. Paul, Glenwood Springs (Col), Smithville (Ind), Salisbury and Wilson (NC), Rutland (VT; hitting a bump), Highland (Ill).
  • In the Netherlands, KPN and BreedNet are stepping up their FTTB (business parks) efforts (Huizen, Urk).
  • Etisalat has plans for the UAE.

Demand, usage, penetration, VAS
  • The FTTH Council North America reported 12m homes passed, etc.
  • The World Economic Forum released its 'Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008'. The free web-based version is great to toy around with.
  • Wilson (NC) targets a mere 30% penetration to make the business case work.
  • Keep an eye on CERN and its Large Hadron Collider (LHC), to be operational this summer. Processing power (and even power supply) are too limited on a local level, forcing the institution to go international. The grid is made avaliable to other researchers. Who knows, in the future it will be the basis of a superfast internet, enabling cloud computing, holographic video conferencing, etc.
  • BT is buying Wire One. It appears to be a reseller of all the usual suspects, including Cisco. It will be a while, but I am sure telepresence will be made available to the masses at some point and be a FTTH driver.

Financing: PPP and other
  • BT asked for some exemption from USO (united service obligations) in exchange for committing to fiber.
  • In New Zealand, Peter Macaulay proposed a Fibre Fund to which investors could contribute and anyone could draw upon. "The fund will enable councils to enter public-private partnerships drawing on a common fund rather than drawing money from ratepayers or telco customers. The investors will want to stay in rather than looking for a quick repayment of a loan." He, as well as the New Zealand Institute, misteriously predict that the value of the network will increase over time. That is a bit funny from a DCF point of view (which implies that everything is discounted to the present day), but what they obviously mean to say is: more fiber can cheaply be blown through the ducts; gear (WDM) can be added; usage will go up.
  • In the US, Glenwood Springs and Wilson count among muninetworks financed by bonds to be paid (interest) for by subscriber fees.
  • Smithville seems to count on a government grant from the Department of Agriculture.

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