Bandwidth demand driving FTTH in Europe

JULY 9, 2007 -- New analysis from market research firm Frost & Sullivan finds that fibre-to-the-home deployments reached over 2.5 million homes in 2006. The company estimates the number of fibered homes to reach over 14 million by 2012.

JULY 9, 2007 -- New analysis from market research firm Frost & Sullivan (search for Frost & Sullivan) finds that fibre-to-the-home (search for FTTH) deployments reached over 2.5 million homes in 2006. The company estimates the number of fibered homes to reach over 14 million by 2012.

"Video content, high-bandwidth applications, and convergence are driving broadband bandwidth requirements in Europe," notes Frost & Sullivan research analyst Fernando Elizalde. "Several technologies are available to meet the delivery of bandwidth demand, of which fibre in the local loop and, in particular, fibre-to-the-home is future-proof."

Several service providers across Europe have made commitments to deploy fibre-to-the-node (search for FTTN) or FTTH networks in the next three to five years. In addition, the availability of gigabit passive optical networking [GPON] technology has made such deployments more economically viable, say Frost & Sullivan analysts.

However, digital subscriber line (DSL) technology, which uses existing copper access networks to deliver broadband, is well entrenched in Europe and lengthens the useful life of existing copper infrastructures. Furthermore, with DSL technologies, the bandwidth requirements in the near future can be met to a certain extent, say analysts, who add that high capital investment and local network characteristics pose restraints to a full FTTH deployment across all countries.

"DSL is the preferred technology to deliver broadband and other related services in Europe," admits Elizalde. "Local network conditions have been favourable to the deployment of this technology to deliver sufficient bandwidth to cope with user and application demands."

However, with the advent of high-definition video and other entertainment applications over broadband, this will not be the case for too much longer, he says. Multiple high-definition video streaming to the home and other converged applications can easily outgrow the bandwidth capacity of DSL-based networks. As a result, service providers will need to start looking at deploying fibre deeper into the network, even to the home or building, in order to be ready to meet future bandwidth requirements.

The new report, "Fibre in the Last Mile in Europe," is part of Frost & Sullivan's Communication Services Growth Partnership Service, which also includes research on the carrier Ethernet market and data retention in Europe.

For more information, visit Frost & Sullivan.

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