Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fiber envy, fiber shame

It's really too late to begin a blog post. I'm mostly braindead, but very much enjoyed a dinner meeting ealier tonight with some interesting old friends (more on this as appropriate). I returned home to find a flurry of interest around the release of OPTA's NGA review, which has been interestingly analysed in hyperblog mode by Rudolf (now asleep), and also by EuroTelcofriend Yves Blondeel.   

Just working for now on a crude assumption (generally based on the DSL experience) that the wholesale pricing might equate to around 1/3 to 1/4 the end retail price, this suggests that symmetrical fiber services of various flavors might be available for EUR36 - 70 per month - a range which looks (at least to an outsider) highly competitive with cable and DSL. Afterall, it needs to be pitched to the consumer at a point on the price/benefit curve to ensure uptake/switching, so I assume this is the sort of pricing we will see. I need to digest all this a bit more before attempting any more informed comment, and it's late, so I'll content myself for now with just pointing to Rudolf and Yves' fine work.

One thing I do know for sure is that UK residents shouldn't hold their breath for similar developments, at least not if they are expecting significant public sector participation. We may be doing well just to keep the lights on. 

Lastly, just to complicate things, the ever-impressive Andrew Odlyzko has published an update on web traffic growth, which seeks to moderate somewhat the "exaflood" argument upon which the "fiber imperative" is based. I firmly believe fiber migration is a necessary and noble goal, but I also have a soft spot for contrarians and believe we should not ignore empirical data in preference to preconceptions. 

Now, goodnight.


Vincent said...

I don't know about this slower growth. Looking at the stats of Ams-IX, the internet exchange in Amsterdam, there is something very strange going on there. Growth used to be 100 % per 9 months, but was only 60 % in the past 12 months. So yes, slowing down? Well, growth was an incredible low 8 percent from november 2007 untill the beginning of august 2008. Since then we've seen a growth of 50 percent in less than 4 months.
Not a clue why this is, Ams-IX can't explain it either ...
Vincent Dekker

James Enck said...

Thanks Vincent. Readers, a graph of the Ams-IX traffic alluded to can be seen here http://www.ams-ix.net/technical/stats/cgi-bin/16all?log=totalall;png=yearly

Aad Beek said...

In my general conclusion of the document I am completely missing a social idea of fiber / broadband investments. Everyone is talking about service innovation, low access for new / small providers, broadband as local economy innovator. With these prices I don’t think so….

I have checked only the last part of the document and the prices. It is obvious that the prices are based on model of City of Amsterdam and City of Almere.

100 EUR installation fee (this is the same as in Amsterdam – solved by signing an 2-year agreement with the end-user and lowering the first year rent towards service providers). Who is going to control this? CPE for internet only is less than 50 EUR? Do not expect that everyone will sign for triple play immediately.

Connection fee per Area-POP is 3000 EUR. So, let say, City of Almere with 80.000 homes will have on average 4 City POP’s and on average 32 Area POP’s. A new provider would need to invest minimum of 100.000 EUR for only connection fee for Area POP’s. I am missing fee for City POP’s? Monthly fee for Area POP is 500 EUR, for City POP would be around 1000 EUR (not mentioned in OPTA document). So, in Almere another 20.000 EUR per month for Area and City POPs (no electricity included). How can pay this amount of money?

Maximum number of providers to be connected on this network will be really small. You can expect companies like Tele2, BBFAM (BBned-family) and Online. KPN is a partner so they will already have 20% discount by patching existing copper customers to a new fiber network.
Price per fiber 12 – 15 EUR ok, but on top of that you need to invest in active components. As I can remember copper in Netherlands including active components is less than 10 EUR. Also, in Almere, I thought that Reggefiber would give only 1 fiber for data and analogue TV over second fiber would be offered by Reggefiber itself. Not bad, for them.
Unfortunately for the fiber users, this is going only to work for KPN and Reggefiber (first mover).

Once again, I am pleased that someone is willing to invest in fiber in The Netherlands, but not at any cost. I would be very much interested to see prices on fiber like prices in Sweden, 10 Mb/s for 13 EUR per month, 100 Mb/s for 34 EUR per month, 1 Gb/s for 79 EUR per month,…. but with this kind of model, no way Jose (Jimmy).

Vincent said...

Aad Beek says that Reggefiber in Almere keeps the fiber for analog tv for itself. I don't know about Almere, but the Opta document is about fiber PAIRS. So I guess you get two fibers for the price of one ;-)

Aad said...

Wrong! Why do you need 2 when 1 is enough? With 2 fibers, you need to invest more in analogue TV overlay otherwise 1 fiber is enough. 6-7,5 EUR per fiber is much better price. In Almere offering analogue TV is something what Reggefiber wants to do, meaning that the business case for other provider is even worst.