Home / Blogs

Is FttH Future-Proof Infrastructure?

Telecoms engineers from all of the major telecoms services and equipment companies around the world agree that FttH is the only future-proof telecommunications technology. So who should we trust—the technology experts or politicians with different agendas? If there had been a division of opinion among these experts it would have been necessary to investigate it; but if they are all in agreement it is safe to follow their advice.

Certainly the copper network has life left in it. The same applied to steam power technology—at its peak this technology was perfected to make trains run at 220km per hour. The technology was abandoned, not because steam had no more life in it, but because in the meantime a new technology had superseded the old technology. But certainly, at that time countries such as Russia and China used steam trains for much longer.

Back to telecoms—the initial plan to extend the life of copper was abandoned in New Zealand. The country started out on a plan based on extending the life of copper, using fibre-to-the-node (FttN), which involved the deployment of thousands of street cabinets. Only Telecom NZ would profit from this, as no other company could afford to install equipment in all of these cabinets and in the absence of that equipment they would have been unable to compete.

The New Zealand Government deemed this not to be in the best interest of the country and abandoned the FttN plan. They have since replaced this with a plan to roll out FttH.

Around the world governments are worried about extending the life of the copper network through technologies such as FttN. Most governments want to move forward to open infrastructure that can be used by many companies and across industry sectors. Planning for facilities-based infrastructure competition for next-generation networks (NGNs) no longer makes sense. Telcos faced with the possibility that governments might intervene in their vertically-integrated business models are reluctant to invest in FttN, although at the same time they realise that building open networks based on their traditional ROI models is not economically viable.

Increasingly governments are beginning to understand—and telcos are beginning to agree—that basic infrastructure should be treated as a utility; and this will necessitate a totally new approach to the building and financing of such infrastructure.

So, for those claiming that there is life left in copper, they are right. We can use copper to ‘drive at 220km an hour’ but in the meantime the rest of the world is moving on and developing the next generation of technology.

Copper can indeed deliver 50Mb/s, but one would have to be living next to the telephone exchange to obtain such speeds. Many people using DSL services—especially in countries with widely dispersed telephone exchanges such as Australia and New Zealand—know all about this; those living further away from exchanges get inferior broadband services.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

Visit Page

Filed Under


Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet




Sponsored byVerisign

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC

Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API

New TLDs

Sponsored byRadix