Facing the fiber-for-everything future
With fiber networks’ ability to create more sustainable connectivity and monetisation opportunities, how can operators take advantage of the benefits provided to ensure the future success their business? Ana Pesovic, marketing director at Nokia explains
During the recent Brooklyn 6G summit, organised in partnership with Nokia and the NYU Wireless Research Center, Pekka Lundmark, CEO of Nokia, took us back in time to early 1998, when the Nobel winning economist Paul Krugman forecasted that “the growth of internet will slow drastically as the flaw in Metcalfe’s law becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other. By 2005, it will be clear that the internet’s impact on economy has been no greater than the fax machine.”
In hindsight, is easy to find this statement amusing. After all, many young people today would not even understand what a fax machine is, whereas we are all aware of the importance of the internet and reliable connectivity to work, learn, communicate, entertain and more.
The digital world has become relentless in transforming human experiences. High-speed, low-latency data connectivity and rich, immersive digital content is influencing and shaping the future of societies and industries.
Key to the rapid growth in data connectivity are fiber broadband networks. According to statistics from industry market intelligence firm, Point Topic, as part of its Global Broadband Statistics (GBS) service, by the end of 2030, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is expected to make up a massive 75% of all fixed broadband subscribers globally, with passive optical network technologies (PON) accounting for >95% of total FTTH market. Fiber networks based on PON are recognised as a very attractive investment due to their ability to create revenues, meet sustainability targets and provide value in the long term.
One of the best properties of fiber is its ability to evolve to higher capacity by simply adding new wavelengths (colours of light) on the existing fiber cabling – each wavelength carrying traffic at higher speeds. Fiber speeds today have reached 25Gb/s, with demonstrations of 100Gb/s already ongoing.
As fiber’s adoption and speed accelerates, PON networks are found almost everywhere, making them readily accessible for a plethora of use cases, new services and new revenues. This drives a new trend in fiber broadband: it is not fiber-to-the-Home anymore but fiber-for-everything. Fiber-for-Everything spurs a new era, bringing network monetisation to the next level by expanding the use of fiber. The same fiber that passes our homes also passes businesses, commercial campuses, schools, hospitals and public buildings. It can meet the connectivity needs of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and even larger enterprises, industry 4.0, smart cities and 5G mobile transport.
The PON technology advances enable much more efficient and versatile use of fiber. Software defined networks (SDN) provides an easy way to slice up the huge fiber capacity and make it available to different service providers and to support more services.
With fiber you know you have the speed, but you also have low latency needed for industry 4.0. It’s highly reliable and it's also the most energy efficient way to deliver massive amounts of bits to massive amounts of people. The sustainable properties of fiber are widely recognised throughout the industry. Very little energy is used transmitting data along a fiber optic cable – it is approximately 6-8 times more power-efficient than copper, coax or wireless. In fact, an industry report from Australasian research firm, Sapere Research Group cites an entry-level fiber plan operating at 50Mb/s as up to 41% more efficient than copper VDSL and up to 56% more efficient than 4G fixed wireless, and so is playing a critical role in helping to lower the industry’s energy consumption and carbon footprint. In addition, fiber’s resilience to harsh environmental conditions means that it can boast a life expectancy of more than 75 years, so you can leverage the investment in fiber network to monetize it over and over again for decades to come.
Fiber networks are an incredible asset. Thanks to their ubiquitous availability and technology advances, they are now capable of connecting everything, creating greater monetisation opportunities for operators and most sustainable connectivity for all.
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