Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Adventures in Cambodian overhead cabling

Apologies, vestigial mega-uber value readers, for my ongoing lack of output. As usual, I'm involved in some very interesting stuff, which I can't really talk about. What I can share is that I've been doing some consultancy work with a company in Cambodia, and I've observed and photographed the most surreal cabling "solutions" I've ever seen. I wish I'd taken more photos to share with you, but after a couple of days there, the massive snarls of (mostly) fiber overhead become a commonplace sight, and my eye is drawn to all the other amazing sights in this fascinating place.

If you look closely at some of these photos, you'll see PON splitter enclosures, which almost certainly serve customers of one of Phnom Penh's FTTH operators. Yes, you heard me right, FTTH in Phnom Penh, capital of a country where many people earn less than $100 per month. It's a niche product, however, targeted at affluent locals and the burgeoning ex-pat community. How do you fancy paying $225 per month for 4Mbps? Not a power user? How about $115 for 2Mbps? Granted, IP transit is expensive in Cambodia, because of the absence of an undersea cable landing (though that's going to change, and it will be interesting to see how pricing/demand moves in the aftermath), but I think we can guess what the margins must be on these products with pricing like that. This is an interesting conundrum, wherein a superior technology is throttled back to keep opex low, and also to avoid taking the market beyond where it is "ready" to go. I don't mean that Cambodians wouldn't love 1Gbps connections today, but if 512k/1Mbps is the current benchmark, then I assume the commercial guys would question why an operator should force things to evolve dramatically faster than the market really demands?

No comments: