Fiber to Spike Once Recovery Takes Hold

Carl Weinschenk

One thing to keep in mind during the long days of a bad economy is that the needs don't vanish. They are just put off until the financial ship rights itself.


It's also important to remember that savvy companies may use the downtime to figure out precisely how they want to spend their money -- once they have some to spend. They also will go ahead with research and development if enough spare change can be found in the corporate sofas. Indeed, in a roundabout way, the time-out caused by the economy can be a good thing for the adoption of new technology.


A sign of that possible scenario is evident in a forecast released by Ovum on worldwide fiber deployments. VON reports that the firm sees a "steep increase" in fiber to the home and building (elsewhere referred to as fiber-to-the-premises, or FTTP). At the same time, DSL-which is looking more and more like the telecom version of Norma Desmond-is expected to level off or decline. The report points to the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands as examples of fiber strength and DSL weakness. The report notes that the slight ray of hope for DSL is its use in mixed projects. Advanced forms of the technology often are used to supplement fiber in the last/first mile to and from premises.


Two other bits of news seem to buttress the idea that the fiber which has been in the ascendancy for some time, is in an even better position than it was before the recession, despite strong competition from the third iteration of cable operators's Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS 3.0)and WiMax and LTE 4G wireless.


Last week, Ericsson said that it will provide fiber to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. The builds will involve the provinces of Anhui, Guangdong, Hebei, Heilongjian, Hubei, Liaoning, Shandong, Shanghai and Sichuan. The plan is to use fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in a gigabit passive opting network (GPON) configuration.


Perhaps even more telling is research released by RVA LLC Market Research and Consulting. The firm found that 82 percent of buyers who have lived in homes with broadband delivered by fiber say it is the "leading real estate development amenity." These results and others outlined in the press release were taken from a duo of surveys-one of which queried more than 600 FTTH consumers and the other more than 600 other broadband users -- that suggest fiber is something people want and are willing to pay for. It's fair to note that the surveys were conducted for the Fiber-to-the-Home Council. This doesn't mean that the results are not to be trusted. It does suggest that if they weren't favorable they wouldn't have been released or, certainly, publicized.


Pent-up demand is a great thing for the vendors and service providers who survive long enough to take advantage. As the economy improves, look for fiber to enhance its already strong position.

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