Key global research cements FTTB business case: NetComm Wireless

New data on the global adoption of Fibre-to-the-Home internet access technologies has showcased a significant and sustainable pipeline of Fibre-to-the-Building market opportunities for Netcomm Wireless.

According to the Sydney-based fixed wireless specialist and NBN Co partner, the Connecting Everyone report – released by French research firm Idate at its Paris DigiWorld Summit – unveiled some real-world challenges in providing universal FTTH
coverage while also flagging major opportunities for ultra-fast Gfast and fixed wireless capabilities to deliver high-speed broadband.

The study – originally commissioned by NBN Co, the company deploying the Australian national broadband network – found that across the total serviceable global FTTB and FTTH market comprising some 670 million premises, 60 per cent of those were being served with FTTB technology.

“This is an extremely important factor to bear in mind when we think about the actual state of play in the broadband market in terms of network deployment and for regulators when they think about how much real FTTH has actually been deployed globally,” said the report authors. “It shows us that the number of premises in which operators have actually run new fibre all the way inside the residence is actually still a small proportion of total broadband homes in the global market.”

“Many operators we spoke to for this report concluded they could not see an investment case for upgrading networks from FTTB to FTTH,” said Jean-Luc Lemmens, Head of Telecom Practice at IDATE. “This means that FTTB services will be part of the mix for a very long-time to come.”

Other key findings included:

  • Significant FTTB (fibre-to-the-building) opportunities exist in several European markets for Australia’s Netcomm to help operators devise a solution that is easier, more cost-effective and faster to deploy.
  • Many European countries are learning the same lessons Australia learnt when it embarked on universal FTTH deployment, and turning to Netcomm due to its expertise in this field with NBN Co.
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Els Baert ,Director of Marketing and Communications at NetComm

Speaking at the summit, Sydney-based Netcomm marketing and communications director Els Baert said that while aiming to deliver universal FTTH was admirable, almost all markets faced specific challenges, which made attaining that goal unrealistic.

Connecting Everyone shows that there is a significant market opportunity for us in the FTTB market to help operators devise a solution that is easier, more cost-effective and faster to deploy,” she said, noting Netcomm’s partnership with NBN Co to roll out its Gfast enabled 8-port and 16-port DPUs onto the network’s Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) network in multi-dwelling units – the first of which are slated to be delivered in the first half of 2019.

“We have concluded seven lab trials and one field trial with major operators in Europe who are actively exploring alternatives to building a full FTTH network,” Baert said. “Due to our expertise in this field with NBN Co many operators are turning to us for our insight and innovation.”

In addition, Netcomm said the data highlighted a lack of progress in connecting rural areas to FTTH networks, with regulators increasingly considering to use a broader array of access technologies.

“Fixed wireless opens up the possibilities for alternative network providers to build high speed broadband networks far quicker and more cost effectively than delivering universal FTTH,” Baert added. “When using 3.5GHz and 4-carrier aggregation, speeds of up to 400 Mbps can be provided in a range of up to 14 km around the base station.'”

Taking into account Europe’s unique challenges, Baert said the region could use its heritage to its advantage by harnessing its natural town planning built around churches to utilise those capabilities.

“By installing a base station in the towers, rural areas could be covered in record time, with minimal investment,” she said.

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