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The Current Status of FTTH in the US and the Rest of the World

Jun 21, 2008
Understanding FTTH (Fiber To The Home)

FTTH is an all-fiber connection to the home which provides a minimum of 155Mbps bandwidth on both up stream and down stream directions. Basically, it is composed of a fiber from the service node to the optical splitter, the optical splitter which separates to (fan out) terminate on single home ONU.

So similar to FTTC (Fiber To The Curb), FTTH is a point-to-point architecture with a dedicated connection from the home to the network. This fiber link provides secure transmissions by virtue of the fact the it is much harder to tap a fiber than a copper cable.

FTTH is much better suited for broadband service applications than DSL and other intermediate technologies. It is our broadband future.

Cost Savings of FTTH

FTTH provides a robust outside plant which requires extremely low maintenance over the lifetime of the system. Fiber based networks require considerably less maintenance than traditional copper networks.

FTTH in the US

Currently in the US, FTTH is not yet a real alternative challenge to interactive digital services distributed over cable, DSL, satellite and other media. Why? The simple reason is the cost. The cost for roll out a widespread FTTH infrastructure is exorbitant and therefore currently it is only feasible in urban and business areas.

FTTH offers up to 20 times more bandwidth than ADSL which is tremendous to most Americans. And once the fibers are in the ground, the capacity can be upgrade to even more by simply upgrading or adding new equipment on the end. In the future, FTTH will not only be offered to larger business customers but also for residential customers, SoHos and SMEs.

However, most of the largest telcos are still limiting their FTTH deployment to small-scale trials. But many smaller carriers and newcomers are pushing ahead with actual product offerings and are creating a significant base of fiber users. Bellsouth is playing a very active role. Another active player is Verizon with its FiOS offering.

Fiber-to-the-home connections in the U.S. have more than doubled from a year ago to surpass the 2 million mark, according to data released today from Render Vanderslice and Associates.

Verizon Communications accounts for about two thirds of the country's FTTH subscribers and more than two thirds of the homes passed by fiber.

Other players including AboveNet and Paxio. AboveNet, PAXIO team on FTTH network in San Francisco Bay area.

FTTH in Europe

In Europe, FTTH is just at the beginning of its life cycle. In Germany, BerliKomm (based in Berlin) is preparing to offer FTTH. And in Sweden, Bredbandsbolaget (the leading FTTH player) is already offering FTTH services. In Austria, Wienstrom is also offering FTTH service under the name of "i-blizz".

FTTH in Asia

Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan are the world leaders in the percentage of homes that receive broadband communications services over direct fiber optic connections, according to a new global ranking of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) market penetration.

According to this first ever official ranking of FTTH deployments in the world's economies, 21.2 percent of homes in Hong Kong are wired with FTTH, followed by South Korea at 19.6 percent and Japan at 16.3 percent. Scandinavian countries occupy the next three positions, with Sweden having 7.2 percent of its households connected to FTTH, Denmark at 2.9 percent and Norway at 2.5 percent.

Taiwan, Italy, People's Republic of China, The Netherlands and the United States round out the top 11 economies, with FTTH penetration rates of between 1.4 and 1 percent of households. Only economies with penetration of 1 percent or more were included in the ranking.

The three regional FTTH Councils joined together to create this first official global FTTH ranking in order to provide the telecommunications industry, governments and regulators with a unique snapshot of international fiber access penetration. Going forward, the councils will update and re-issue the rankings on an annual basis, as well as work jointly to further refine the research methods in order to provide more in-depth information.
About the Author
Colin Yao is an expert on fiber optic communication technologies and products. Learn more about cable pull machine , cable pulling techniques , cable pulling machine on Fiber Optics For Sale Co. web site.
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