Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fiber to the igloo and usagigoya

Bell Canada's representative just gave a fairly technical presentation about the architecture of BCE's G-PON deployments. The most telling statement was that when he first joined the company 15 years ago, his initial assignment was in FTTH. What's different now is that the technology works and all the supporting factors are in place. NTT's Hiromichi Shinohara has followed, and again the audience gasped at the stats that 4m homes (incidentally, "usagigoya" means "rabbit hutch" and is a term Japanese people sometimes use to describe their cramped living quarters) are on fiber and should eclipse DSL lines by 2007 (currently receiving more that 20k new orders per week). More gasps from the audience when we saw pricing for the "Hyper Family" product (1Gbps) at EUR32 per month with ISP fee included. He is optimistic about video services, but is clear to stress that currently the driver for fiber adoption is broadband internet access and VoIP. Major audience gasps when Mr. Shinohara showed a video of a new bendable optical cable for use in domestic connections - the most common point of failure. The cord was knotted and bent in various ways with no loss of throughput.

UPDATE: Quote of the day (at least so far) came during the Q&A session, in which one audience member asked about payback period for the projects discussed in session one. No one took the bait at first, but to his credit, the man from BCE stepped up and said that various forecasting exercises had pointed to a range of 5 - 10 years, but payback would not necessarily be the prime determinant of the strategy - rather, it might be the behavior of competitors which drives the process. Nice to hear some frank admissions for once. Circle the wagons honey, this is our last stand.

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