Monday, February 16, 2009

Fiber, schmiber

In the wake of the Copenhagen fiber love-in last week, a multi-platinum mega-uber value reader alerts me to a review of the event published by NLkabel, the cable trade association previously known as VECAI. My Dutch isn't what it used to be, but my source tells me that the main conclusions are - wait for it - that there are no new services for fiber, that the social and economic benefits are unquantified, and that the main driver of fiber deployment to date has been the competitive dynamic in markets where it has occurred.

I'm more intrigued by the choice of images in the report. Look at the photo on page 2 - don't you think that the attitude of the woman's shoulders betrays an underlying depression, because fiber events are boring and the whole endeavour is ultimately pointless and doomed? Or the picture on page 3 of the man looking wistfully into the middle distance from his perch at an empty display stand, wishing he'd had the foresight to train as a CATV installation technician - instead of becoming a lonely FTTH-loving loser... Or the two photos at the bottom of page 3, which definitively prove that a) video looks blurry over fiber, and b) fiber dudes are misfits who look like they come from the ranks of a ZZ Top tribute band.

It's subtle stuff...

Meanwhile, if you, like me, are skeptical that we will see any meaningful deployment of fiber in the UK before the ending of this song, then you probably won't be any more encouraged after reading this news snippet. I have often heard it said (and indeed have said it myself) that BT is a gargantuan pension fund with a small telco attached, but this really brings things into perspective, or as Spinal Tap would say, too much perspective. Should the worst happen, what do you suppose the government's appetite for a £30bn fiber deployment could be once it has absorbed BT and crystallized its financial obligation under the Crown Guarantee?

1 comment:

Sammael99 said...

<< there are no new services for fiber, that the social and economic benefits are unquantified, and that the main driver of fiber deployment to date has been the competitive dynamic in markets where it has occurred.>>

And to be fair, none of that would be patently false on a wide scale. You (and indeed I) have said this on our respective blogs on occasion.

The new services are painfully slow to emerge, for sure. We're starting to see some things which would probably not be impossible on Docsis 3.0 Cable either.

The social and economic benefits are not quantified simply because there's not enough hindsight to do so...

And the main driver has indeed been competition, either from cable or from FTTH itself.

What I find really interesting is that this is a Dutch publication. No report on KPN inverting its line loss rates in areas where it's running its FTTH Pilot ?

I hope for the sake of Dutch cable that this is not a bad case of the three monkeys...