JULY 21, 2009 -- The announcement of a major deployment of FTTH service in the province of New Brunswick is a strong indication that Canada is about to ramp up its migration to next-generation, all-fiber telecommunications service, according to Joe Savage, president of the Fiber-to-the-Home Council North America (search Lightwave for FTTH Council).
Earlier this month, regional communications provider Bell Aliant announced that it will invest CAD $60 million to build an FTTH network that will bring high-bandwidth Internet, voice, and television service to 70,000 homes in Fredericton and Saint John by mid-2010. The project, which has the support of the Government of New Brunswick, is expected to be completed by the middle of next year and marks the first time an entire Canadian city will be served by an FTTH network.
"Canada has not seen the level of end-to-end fiber deployment that the United States is experiencing, so this announcement indicates a change is in the works," says Savage. "Canada's high level of Internet user sophistication indicates they can match or exceed the FTTH growth rate in the US."
While trial FTTH deployments by both incumbent and competitive telecom providers are underway, only about 0.4% of Canadian households are connected with end-to-end fiber. In contrast, FTTH market penetration is at 4% in the US, where all-fiber networks now pass more than 13% percent of U.S. households and are connected to 4.4 million homes. The annual growth rate in the number of U.S. connections is about 50%.
"Canada led in earlier deployment of DSL access but has been lagging in FTTH deployment," says Savage. "We believe that the demand for more bandwidth to access increasingly sophisticated Internet and video applications will drive FTTH growth in Canada in the same way that it has in the United States."
As a strategic partner in the Bell Aliant FTTH deployment, the Government of New Brunswick says it expects to attract business investment to the province, help expand its high-tech sector, and help expand the local employment base, all of which have been demonstrated in U.S. deployments, according to Mike Render of RVA LLC (search Lightwave for RVA LLC), a consulting firm that tracks FTTH deployment in both countries.
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham told the FTTH Council the network is essential to helping the province grow and attract skilled workers and will help maintain the province's leadership edge in telecommunications technology across Canada.
"It allows us to build on our reputation as Canada's smart province, marketing New Brunswick as a place where people can work, learn, and play in a truly connected community," says Graham.
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