Hybrid FTTx leads the growth in broadband access

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 
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  • With IPTV driving deployment, European operators are turning to hybrid fiber
  • With strong customer demand and active fiber rollouts, Europe continues to be the strongest region for IPTV
  • Hybrid FTTx deployments rise – 68.9% in past year to 3Q2011
  • FTTH sees a 30.6% increase in annual growth across Europe to 3Q2011
  • Broadband Forum continues to expand its fiber related specifications and G-PON certification to spur interoperability and expedite deployments

MUNICH — As IPTV approaches 55 million subscribers globally, it is Europe that still holds the strongest position for IPTV (23.5 million customers) as European markets continue to build their customer base. The latest deployment information shows that operators are increasingly turning to fiber access solutions to meet the needs of the well-connected home.

Technology               Europe - net subscriber additions  Total subscribers (Q3 11)
                         ---------------------------------  -------------------------
DSL                                              9,215,763                125,806,005
Cable Modem                                      1,978,036                 25,772,847
FTTx (inc. VDSL, FTTB)                           3,988,194                  9,771,216
FTTH                                               741,563                  3,167,208

Source: Point Topic 3Q2011

Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic, said: “The future of Europe, at least for the next 5 years, is going to be dominated by FTTx. The cost of full fiber (FTTH) deployment, particularly the last mile, is prohibitive and so the industry and consumers need a stepping stone which is provided by hybrid solutions such as FTTx. FTTx provides a significant increase in bandwidth and an efficient use of existing infrastructure and allows the welcome continued amortization of costs.”

DSL, Cable Modem, FTTx (inc. VDSL, FTTB), FTTH
Source: Point Topic 3Q2011

This update comes from the Broadband Forum on the opening day of the FTTH Conference Europe, which aims to promote the benefits of fiber access across the continent and accelerate the availability of fiber-based, ultra-high-speed access networks to both consumers and businesses.

The international Broadband Forum, whose 200-strong membership comprises service providers, system and chipset vendors, as well as consultants, test houses and research centers, focuses on developing technical specifications to help the industry engineer faster and smarter broadband connections. This work includes its comprehensive BroadbandSuite™ 5.0 which is a major resource for the fiber industry to facilitate and accelerate the deployment of PON.

The Broadband Forum G-PON ONU Certification Program – a world first initiative – is set to fuel even greater growth of fiber deployments across Europe. The certification program, known as BBF.247, is open to G-PON ONU products with Ethernet interfaces and is based on the Forum’s OD-247 test plan. This certification demonstrates that an ONU fully conforms to TR-156 and the associated OMCI configuration as defined in the ITU G.988. It provides vendors with the opportunity to test once and use their certification globally, saving testing cost and time as they compete in RFPs for business. Equally it gives operators increased confidence in their vendor selection processes, another step towards providing truly interoperable solutions.

Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum, said: “Our G-PON certification program is proving to be very effective with eight companies already achieving certified products in the past six months. Certification is key to future FTTx deployments and our efforts will enable next generation interoperable systems to come to market faster. Standards provide the foundation for that growth; further demonstrating G-PON capabilities to meet the demands of evolving operator networks.”

“Operators in Europe have maintained a three year high for IPTV in the region as they have the greatest success in selling additional services to existing customers. G-PON Certification is set to provide the breakthrough step in accelerating deployments now and creating the platform for innovative applications and new service bundles,” concluded Mersh.

The latest fiber related work at the Forum includes test specifications for additional conformance testing modules for G-PON ONU, OLT and XG-PON1 as well as an interoperability test plan. Work to enhance PON device management via CPE WAN Management Protocol (TR-069) is in place, and new PON energy efficiency efforts are under way.