Swisscom plans fiber to the street expansion

June 29, 2012
Incumbent operator Swisscom is planning to provide homes and businesses outside the major urban centers with ultra-high-speed internet connections using fiber to the street (FTTS). At the end of 2013, Swisscom will start to roll out optical fiber to within a distance of around 200 m from homes, bringing it significantly closer to the customer.

Incumbent operator Swisscom is planning to provide homes and businesses outside the major urban centers with ultra-high-speed internet connections using fiber to the street (FTTS). At the end of 2013, Swisscom will start to roll out optical fiber to within a distance of around 200 m from homes, bringing it significantly closer to the customer.

Swisscom has already connected 90 percent of the population to FTTC, and in 1998 began a long-term project to extend optical fiber to homes and businesses (FTTH). The operator says it connects an average of one home or business to the fiber-optic network every two minutes across 40 towns and municipalities. In collaboration with its partners, Swisscom says it will have rolled out fiber to around a third of Swiss households by the end of 2015.

Swisscom now plans to provide ultra-high-speed Internet and multimedia services to areas that are not going to be connected to FTTH in the coming years. To do so, Swisscom will extend optical fiber to a point close to the building, which it calls fiber to the street (FTTS). The remaining distance to the homes will be covered by the existing copper cables. This hybrid fiber-optic technology enables bandwidths of up to 100 megabits per second, and the operator anticipates that bandwidths of 400 Mbps and more will become possible in the coming three to four years.

This summer, Swisscom will be launching three FTTS pilot tests in the municipalities of Charrat (Valais), Grandfontaine (Jura) and Flerden (Grisons) and in November, the first customers will be able to access services via the new technology. Swisscom will also provide wholesale offers to other service providers over the new access technology to support competition.

Swisscom says that its network will continue to rely on a mix of technologies, and is testing alternative possibilities such as expansion of the fiber-optic network to the building and improvements to the existing FTTC infrastructure. Mobile communications technology is also being upgraded. Swisscom says it is investing around CHF 1.7 billion ($1.79 billion) in the expansion of Switzerland’s infrastructure in 2012 alone, some CHF 400 million more than in 2010.

For more information on FTTx/access systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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