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Boom times for FTTH


Fiber is booming and the FTTH market is expanding rapidly. This presents challenges to network operators, and opportunities to solutions providers.

As the first quarter of 2023 comes to an end, the booming “Fiber To The Home (FTTH) market shows continues to be robust. The research firm PointTopic[1] states that the total number of global fixed broadband connections had reached 1.3bn by the end of the first quarter, 2022. 90 per cent of the countries tracked reported growth, with the share of FTTH within the total standing at 58 per cent.

In Europe, the FTTH council’s forecasts are optimistic[2]. FTTH is playing an important role in reducing the rural/urban digital divide. Even in historically copper and cable-based geographies, the fixed broadband market is now seeing the market expand with alternative service providers driving FTTH deployments, particularly in areas not covered by major national players. A number of recent initiatives from incumbents suggest a response; many are migrating their core architecture towards FTTH and are expected accelerate full-fibre rollouts rapidly in the near future. By 2027, Europe is expected to be home to around 190 million FTTH subs.

Outside Europe, the same thing is happening. Analyst firm Statista[3] notes that FTTH subscriptions in Japan grew for the eighth consecutive year in 2022, with around 36.7 million now active. In the US, Cowen Analysts[4] anticipates that FTTH will pass 82 million American households by 2027, doubling market size in the next five years. The four largest US telcos plan to be pass over 71 million homes with fibre growing FTTH’s broadband market share from the current 14% to 26%.

But there are challenges

While the market is healthy, FTTH rollout remains challenging which presents a significant opportunity for solutions providers. One domain in which we can see this is managing FTTH network inventory. If increased bandwidth availability and better quality of service are to be delivered, (legacy copper networks can’t provide either), then successful FTTH deployments will have to provide the answers.

What, then, is the issue? Mainly, it’s how operators can best manage FTTH network inventory, a challenge that’s complicated by the increasing adoption of Passive Optical Networking technology. PON enables high speed broadband connectivity via the optical core and wider transport networks and it’s a cost-effective approach to FTTH deployment, using a single fiber strand over the “last mile” to deliver services to the end-user. It reduces infrastructure and material costs compared to active, point-to-point systems.

However, for network operators seeking to bring Fiber to the Home (FTTH), Passive Optical Network (PON) technology isn’t “plug and play”. Deploying it effectively and maximising its value is challenging. Once built, FTTH PON assets need to be operated and managed in tandem with legacy network infrastructure using a unified strategy. That’s something which legacy OSS’ aren’t designed to do.

New challenges, no surprise

The fact that FTTH deployment isn’t straightforward shouldn’t come as a surprise. With any new telecoms infrastructure technology, automating provisioning processes, managing network security, optimising asset usage, and maintaining a comprehensive record of network inventory will inevitably be challenged by change.

For operators. the risk of not finding a solution that enables them to follow a customer order from inception to delivery in the network by effectively managing FTTH network inventory isn’t tenable. This should be worrying; the fragmented IT and network management system that would result from not addressing the issue at the outset can’t be overlooked if CSPs want to maximise their investments in the network.

FTTH is here. So there’s an opportunity for solution providers to leverage

All this means there’s a real opportunity for solution providers in domains like network inventory management (and others). New network technologies present new management challenges that can only be addressed with new products and solutions. And the challenge for operators today has moved beyond simply how to deploy FTTH to how ensure its success. For IT companies who can play a role in that process, eContact Services’ understanding of the fibre market can give their marketing strategy and execution a considerable advantage over their competitors.


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