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Fiber News
Rogers Cable Big Fiber Home RFP
Written by Dave Burstein   
Friday, 13 September 2013 00:58

Rogers TowerBiggest Canadian may be getting serious. Does fiber replace DOCSIS? Alcatel thinks so, touting their new fiber customer, small Japanese cableco Tonami . Rogers might be the first big  one to switch. I've learned they now have an RFP out for large volumes. Rogers began a limited deployment in Toronto and Mocton last year.  The decision will probably wait on the new CEO, Guy Laurence, just hired from Vodafone. He's a "think different" kind of guy who got rid of all the desks at Vodafone UK. Execs get a file cabinet drawer, a laptop and a mobile. He wouldn't be afraid to be the first major cable exec in the world to move away from coax.

Russia Passing U.S. in Fiber. What?
Written by Dave Burstein   
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 23:58

Both around 20M homes passed but Russia surging ahead. Rostelcom, Beeline, MTS and others are running fiber to the basement and 100 meg Ethernet to apartment at a ferocious rate, adding 59% in 2012. 

Sony's "2 Gig" Network Good Ole GPON + Better Home Connection
Written by Dave Burstein   
Thursday, 18 April 2013 08:01

2.4 gig split 32 ways = 2 gig to each? There’s no new technology in Sony’s “2 gigabit download” Nuro service in Japan, I originally wrote. But a reader points out that I was wrong saying "It’s the same GPON used by Verizon and dozens of other telcos. They are simply marketing 2.4 gig (shared) GPON as providing 2 gigabits to any home if the network isn’t loaded." While the connection from the network to the home is presumably unchanged, the usual CPE for GPON can't forward more than 1 gigabit to the home network.

   In practice, very rarely will the 32 homes on a GPON node draw 400 megabits, so 2 gig would actually be available on demand. Ed Harstead of Alcatel examines the potential of GPON for peak performance and the likelihood of actually getting the speed at http://bit.ly/11ZcFXN. Only a few uses take advantage of performance over 100 megabits today, with cloud storage being the most interesting. Sony with the Playstation is also looking to an edge for gamers.

   Sony may be using the new Lantiq Falcon, with an SFP Optical Module that can deliver the full 2.4 gigabits. That's unconfirmed, but I've included the pr for the Lantiq unit below. While two gigabits may be overkill for most homes, the speed may be usefui as GPON is emerging as backhaul for MDUs and wireless cell sites. Carriers including AT&T and China Mobile are testing GPON backhaul where previously they would have used Carrier Ethernet. Because of GPON's use in fiber home, the gear is remarkably inexpensive. 

   Great marketing move.

The French Secret: Fiber Will Happen Because the Ducts Have Room
Written by Dave Burstein   
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 01:25

French ducts are large

No digging most places per France Telecom
Marc Lebourges of France Telecom writes “there is enough availability in existing ducts to
accommodate fibre deployment” in France. That’s not true in the Netherlands or all of Britain, Lebourges observes, but makes sense. Fiber takes less space than copper, at least in PON deployments.

Because the fiber doesn’t require digging, it’s practical in most of France to have two or more competitive fiber carriers. The last loop, from the customer to the basement or neighborhood box, would be built by one carrier and shared. Behind that, each carrier would run their own fiber back to the exchange. He believes all but ~20% of the homes can have two fiber choices, many 3-5 carriers competing.

Those networks are now being actively built by FT & SFR and the fiberization of France is finally gaining steam. ARCEP has separately accepted that less dense or otherwise expensive areas will get VDSL for now, not fiber.

The 2011 paper, Competition via Investment, An Efficient Model for FTTH Rollout, is free at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1810505. Here’s an extract.

10 Gigabit EPON Going to Production
Written by Dave Burstein   
Thursday, 01 August 2013 17:21

China Telecom buying in. 10G EPON has moved from trials to ordinary commercial use, Julie Kunstler of Ovum tells me after her visit there. Babak Samimi of PMC confirms 10G chips are in regular production, with the necessary software ecosystem building rapidly.

George Soros Bets $75M on U.K. Fiber Home
Written by Dave Burstein   
Monday, 27 May 2013 21:41

Hyperoptic MascotLegendary investor sees a profitable business model Operating profits on a fiber network are typically very high - once it’s built and customers acquired. So the key is building at low cost and getting customers quickly.

Gigabit Easy with GPON and 10G PON for Decades
Written by Dave Burstein   
Friday, 04 January 2013 01:35

GPON can handle even 4K TVsHarstead and Sharpe of Alcatel base forecast on conservative traffic projections. 10’s of millions of homes, including millions at Verizon, have GPON connections easily capable of delivering a gigabit downstream to each home 99+% of the time. While the total is only 2.4 gig shared, almost never is the actual demand more than 1 gigabit. Any user needing their own gigabit is easily accommodated.

Hong Kong Broadband Network happily sells the gigabit service for about $30 but most are holding back. Australia’s National Broadband Network intends to offer the gig to millions starting in 2014. Verizon won’t sell more than 300 megabits.

That 2.4 gigabits shared, the GPON total, delivers a gigabit reliably surprises most people. The 2.4 gigabits is shared up to 32 ways, an average of about 70 megabits/home. In practice, the total demand is almost never even a single gigabit, leaving more than a gig for any user who demands it. Harstead and Sharpe examine the question of likely change over time as homes require more bandwidth. They believe looking at the peak throughput, not the average, is a much better measure of GPON.

Actual data is the average home draws an average of 100k-200k today, with the Alcatel paper sourcing that figure to Gartner/Cisco and some semi-official Japanese figures. Other estimates from actual networks are similar. Alcatel is presumably informed by the actual demand on the hundreds of carrier networks they support.

Peak usage is higher but still not enough to strain 2.4 gig GPON. Even assuming each of the 32 homes is watching Netflix and has several others in the home online, demand is only 5-10 megabits. Adding some HD video calls and the like doesn’t change that substantially. 10 megabits by 32 users (320 megabits) is less than 1/7th of the capacity of GPON.

Britain’s Gigabit: $40-$80/month
Written by Dave Burstein   
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 13:59

Bournemouth 3

Gigler/CityFibre in Bournemouth matches Google’s price
21,000 homes in England are being offered a true gigabit down, 500 megabit up, low ping fiber connection at a price similar to Google’s in Kansas City. £25/month ($40) has an 80 gigabyte cap, best thought of as an hour or two a day of HD video. £35/month ($56) has a 250 gigabyte cap, enough to watch most of prime time. £50/month ($80) is unlimited. Install is £50.
   Greg Mesch’s CityFibre intends to cover the whole city of Bournemouth by the end of this year and is working in York as well. They manage 30,000 kilometers of fiber for private and government groups. CityFibre emerged after the financial collapse of i3 Group and now is building again.
I recently reviewed fiber economics at http://fastnetnews.com/fiber-news/175-d/4835-fiber-economics-quick-and-dirtywhere I concluded that in medium density areas the cost is about $1,000/home passed. Per home served that becomes $1,000 (nearly everyone) to $4,000 (25% take rate). That gets you to an easy gig today and an easy 10 gig in 2-5 years.  CityFibre tells me their costs "are considerably lower due to the high density of homes in the areas in which we deploy and the fact that we are using a PON architecture and not point to point."

   In general, the direct return from residential fiber buils is something like a decade away, too much for private companies. So going for fiber only makes sense for a company which can capture major externalities or other revenues. Google's a perfect example of externalities. What's good for the Internet is good for Google ad sales. CityFibre is aggressively marketing to Local Authority/Government, business and mobile. Gigler is already planning to sell voice. The $50 fiber business plan is still unproven but I’m getting more optimistic as additional revenue sources prove out. 

   If externalities are significant, then it becomes sensible government policy to overcome the corporate reluctance. A social investment can look to a 10-20 year payoff. Impacts of better broadband are usually overstated but I believe non-nil. I'm convinced just giving out money like our broadband stimulus is beyond the power of the U.S. government to do efficiently, and I suppose that's true elsewhere. Nationalization and direct government investment has problems as well. But I'm pretty sure that long term loans bringing down the cost of capital are natural here, preferably to entities with enough skin in the game to make sure the money isn't wasted.

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