Objections to fibre to the home (FTTH) simply do not stack up, says Hartwig Tauber
Thomas J. Watson, chairman and CEO of IBM, famously said: ‘There is a world market for about five computers’. While this statement would have been accurate at the time (1943), viewed through the lens of history it seems rather silly. In any case, the statement is probably apocryphal. There is no record that Watson ever said anything of the sort.
The trouble is that, once a statement has been repeated many times, it starts to take on an aura of authenticity, even if it is outdated or was simply untrue in the first place. This seems to be the case with much of the ‘common knowledge’ around fibre to the home (FTTH). But the myths about FTTH are persistent: there’s no demand; we can’t afford it; there is no business case; it’s too risky; governments have more urgent issues.
It’s not hard to see how some of these myths arose. To keep up with demand, telecoms operators are migrating from telephone and cable-television networks based on copper to networks based on optical fibres, which can deliver higher speeds. However, migration to an all-fibre network requires major investment and takes considerable time to complete – probably at least a decade in most countries. Many operators, mindful of the short-term desires of their shareholders, would like to implement cheaper upgrades that provide more instant gratification. Equipment vendors have developed new technologies to boost broadband speeds, such as fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), very-high speed digital subscriber line (VDSL), and vectoring. And isn’t the whole world going wireless anyway?
Well, it’s not quite that simple. It’s time to set the record straight.
The FTTH Council Europe
The FTTH Council Europe (www.ftthcouncil.eu) is an industry organisation with a mission to accelerate the availability of fibre-based, ultra-high-speed access networks to consumers and businesses. The Council promotes this technology because it will deliver a flow of new services that enhance the quality of life, contribute to a better environment and increase economic competitiveness. The FTTH Council Europe consists of more than 150 member companies. Register at www.ftthconference.eu for the FTTH Conference 2014, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 18 to 20 February 2014. If you are longing for a better internet connection then join the 'I Want Fibre' page on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/I-wantfibre/174248502650699