From www.ciol.com on June 11, 2009
BANGALORE, INDIA: At your wits’ end owing to slow broadband speed? Time to move on to to fiber.
Of late, fiber network has emerged as a strong alternative to the existing broadband accessing technology, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) in India.
The India optical fiber market showed a CAGR of 43 per cent (from 2003-2008), making it the fastest growing market in the world. In no time, India saw an upcoming of VoIP and IPTV usage, which in turn calls for more bandwidth (copper wire has limited bandwidth compared to fiber).
Low operational and maintenance cost, higher bandwidth and decreasing prices are further augmenting fiber network’s growth, and today, it is all set to enter your homes to cater to speedier broadband requirements.
Telecoms vendor Ericsson recently deployed India’s first-ever residential FTTH-GPON (Fiber-To-The-Home- Gigabit Passive Optical Network) project with Radius Synergies.
P Balaji, vice president, marketing & strategy, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson had its eyes on India’s growing broadband base, ever since it strengthened its IP portfolio with the acquisition of Entrisphere, way back in 2007. The adoption of fixed broadband access is seeing resurgence at the residential and enterprise levels and FTTH technology will play a critical role in driving this forward.” He was speaking to CIOL with regard to Ericsson’s FTTH launch.
CIOL: The end-to-end fiber access solution from Ericsson is based on EDA 1500 GPON system, which offers the highest capacity available in the market and its Micronet and Ribbonet air-blown fiber, and microcable solutions. Can you elaborate on this?
P Balaji: Ericsson EDA (Ethernet Data Access) 1500 provides the highest capacity GPON solution in the world. Based on a carrier-class platform, EDA 1500 is key for the converged high-capacity, all-IP fiber networks needed for advanced services such as IPTV. It comprises Optical Line Terminal (OLT), Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) and EntriView.
“Ribbonet and Micronet” are ducting and fiber solutions for building the last mile access.
Ericsson’s Ribbonet Air Blown Fiber (ABF) system has been developed specifically to provide fast, efficient and flexible fiber distribution in the drop and premises network for medium to long-distances.
Ericsson Micronet Air Blown Micro Cable system is useful when deploying metropolitan and access networks.
CIOL: Will FTTH solve bandwidth problem in India?
PB: FTTH is the way forward for wireline networks of the future as the need for large bandwidth applications grows. Fiber technology can accommodate such bandwidth requirements for applications and high-speed data transmissions with ease.
Fiber also has duplex transmission ability which means signals can be transmitted both ways-from exchange to customer and vice versa, which plays a vital role in applications such as interactive IPTV.
CIOL: Where do you see the demand coming from, with Indian metros already furnished with copper networks and real estate business is a bit dull?
PB: According to industry experts, the market for FTTH services in India is expected to be much higher than other markets such as the US, because of the huge size of the Indian population.
Penetration of fiber infrastructure has been rising in the Indian cities since the last five years and most of the commercial buildings today have fiber connectivity or fiber ring passes, parallel to existing copper.
For buildings which have pre-existing cable infrastructure inside, Ericsson has two solutions namely FTTC/B (Fiber to the Curb/Building) and FTTH (Fiber to the Home).
Today, condo homes are increasingly becoming popular in India and connected homes is a big trend. Therefore, the need for bandwidth hungry applications is going to be high. Further, the unique business model being followed by companies such as Radius, who built the open access infrastructure in a partnership arrangement, should help create value for developers, facility management companies and service providers.
CIOL: What is the scope of FTTH–GPON technology in India?
PB: Current market estimates indicate that India could be having as many as one million FTTH lines within the next three years. The main driving forces for FTTH in India are high speed, bandwidth applications such as VoIP, IPTV, HDTV, Smart Home etc.
With a marked improvement in performance over DSL, adoption is expected to gain ground leading to reduced cost of services. This will drive users to easily avail FTTH services at home even though they might use other services like normal TV.
We are in discussions with the key market players for FTTH–GPON deployment. The fact that operators are keen to roll out close to a million lines in the next 2-3 years represents the sense of optimism and potential about this domain.
To catalyze the growth of FTTH, we are working with carriers and also promoting initiatives of infrastructure companies such as Radius, who plan to build GPON-based FTTH network and provide open access to all the carriers, on a Pan-India basis.
Being an ITU-T backed technology, GPON has a high degree of acceptance within the carrier community. Although it is true that its benefits are just starting to be realized in India, what is important to note is that leading operators such as BSNL are convinced of its potential and have already begun its adoption. Others too are looking at following suit shortly.
We foresee the growth of FTTH GPON as a network and of “Open access infrastructure based upon GPON–FTTH” as fixed broadband in India. Initiatives like RADIUS NANO – Neutral Access Network Operations – will take the lead on FTTH rollouts.
CIOL: Going forward, what will be the challenges in laying optic fiber in India?
PB: The biggest challenge in FTTH deployment is the passive (fiber access) planning and roll out. As reaching the last mile can be difficult, it is essential to focus on the logical planning of the Access network.
Besides, like any new technology, the market uptake will initially be slow. Therefore, ‘rightsizing’ capacity build out is extremely important. In this regard, Ericsson has a unique proposition because of its own special Air Blown Fiber solution, which makes deployments easy and cost effective, reducing OPEX spends by lowering AMC costs.
System integration is another challenge because of the numerous active, passive infrastructure elements.
CIOL: Won’t high cost of service, compared to DSL networks, be a hindrance to FTTH’s penetration?
PB: There are certain applications which require higher bandwidth for which demand is increasing. In today’s environment, enterprises are looking at continuous 24×7 connectivity as well as quality of service (QoS).
This trend is expected to be also echoed by the residential sector. Hence, while enterprises will show high acceptance and facilitate service uptake in the short to medium term, in the longer term, with IPTV gaining popularity, contribution from the residential sector is likely to increase substantially leading to lower cost of service, higher market penetration which will drive affordability of the fiber based infrastructure over DSL.