Executive Summary

One of the significant challenges facing network operators today is the high capital cost of deploying next generation broadband network to individual homes or schools. Fiber to the home only makes economic sense for a relatively small percentage of homes or schools. One solution is a novel new approach under development in several jurisdictions around the world is to bundle the cost of next generation broadband Internet with the deployment of solar panels on the owners roof or through the sale of renewable energy to the homeowner. Rather than charging customers directly for the costs of deployment of the high speed broadband network theses costs instead are amortized over several years as a small discount on the customer’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) or renewable energy bill. There are many companies such as Solar City that will fund the entire capital cost of deploying solar panels on the roofs of homes or schools, who in turn make their money from the long term sale of the power from the panels to the electrical grid. In addition there are no Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and Green Bond Funds that will underwrite the cost of larger installations.

For further information and detailed business analysis please contact Bill St. Arnaud at bill.st.arnaud@gmail.com.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Next Generation FTTh networks increases traffic volumes

[A couple of good articles on next generation FTTH architectures which allows for easy structural separation and competition, and based on experience in Sweden, enables greater traffic growth. It is also interesting to note that the wireless cellphone industry in the USA has largely moved to similar structural separation architecture, where the companies that own and operate the towers are independent of the network operators. Because of intense cellphone competition in the US, most have come to realize that is a lot cheaper to have someone else own and operate the towers which can be shared by many different network operators. There are many thriving companies that specialize in this business - so much so that they have their own index in the stock market. Companies like American Tower Corp, SBA Communications etc dominate this burgeoning field. We are starting to see such specialization in the FTTh market in jurisdictions where cities own and operate telecom conduit or dark fiber like Montreal, Stockholm, Amsterdam, etc --BSA]

Unlimited calling plans put Cellphone towers firms in Sweet spot [Globe and Mail Feb 28, 2008- B18. Bizarrely, in this day and age no web pointer]



FTTH is a hot topic already and it is only a matter of time before investors start realizing the true potential by launching special products or investment funds. ...The Swedish Ventura Team recently reported on usage, which provided some reassurance to anybody displaying scepticism over what to do with all that bandwidth.

Their main findings:

* Nielsen's Law (available speed increases at a 50% CAGR) generally holds. The Ventura Team expects it to hold for at least another decade. This means that 100 Mb/s will be available in France in 2008, in Poland in 2012 and in the UK in 2015.
* The mass market lags the high-end user by 2-3 years.
* FTTH customers generate >3x more traffic. Surprisingly, the inbound/outbound traffic ratio seems to be similar to the one for ADSL networks (notwithstanding an expected P2P concentration on FTTH networks).


Pendulum swings away from controversial fibre technology


Proponents of GPON fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology were dealt a number of blows at last month's FTTH Council Europe conference in Paris. The European Commission, independent experts and even some incumbents used the FTTH-equipment manufacturers'annual event to voice concerns – and criticism– about the controversial approach to building next-generation access networks. [...] "Once you have a PON network, really how to unbundle this network is still very unclear,"


Next Generation FFTH architectures - home run fiber


European telecom regulators have expressed an intense interest in the future architecture of FTTH (fiber to the home) networks. They’re concerned that choosing the wrong architecture will make future unbundling difficult and make it impossible to create a competitive broadband market. The most flexible alternative is a “home-run” fiber architecture, which will allow for true unbundling and create a level playing field in the market.

The telcos and their equipment suppliers are almost universally pushing for the emerging GPON technology, while many municipal networks and innovative startups, such as PacketFront, are pushing for Ethernet point-to-point. A pox on both their houses, I say.

The telcos love GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) because it keeps them in control of the network. Although there is some talk of “virtual” separation with wavelengths and so forth, it still leaves one carrier in charge of the network. The other challenge with GPON is that, once it is deployed, customers are locked into this type of architecture for the next 20 years, with certain assumptions on traffic flows and ratios based on today’s understanding of networks.

If there is one thing we have learned over the past decade, future network demand will likely exceed our most optimistic projections. Ethernet point-to-point is a bit more future-proof, but its main drawback is the deployment of active equipment in the field. This equipment will need power and ongoing servicing.

But there is good news. Regulators don’t have to choose between these two unappealing approaches for FTTH. They could decide on“home-run” fiber architecture