Broadband deployment strategies differ around the world

National fibre optic networks are the infrastructure required for our future. There simply is no other technology that can handle the capacity of data and applications that will be needed to run the cities and countries from today onwards. The infrastructure needs to be robust. It has to have enormous capacity. It needs to be secure and to be able to protect privacy. There is simply no other infrastructure technology that is up to that job.

Fibre-based infrastructure deployment requires vision and recognition of the fact that many of today’s social, economic and sustainability problems can only be solved with the assistance of ICT. This need will increase dramatically over the next 5 to 10 years as industries and whole sectors (healthcare, energy, media, retail) carry out the process of transforming themselves in order to much better address the challenges ahead.

More than 120 countries worldwide have now developed broadband policies, recognising that such infrastructure is critical to their development. None of these countries’ policies are identical; they are all different – they reflect the political, social, economical, financial and geographical conditions that prevail in each case. However all agree that a broadband infrastructure is needed to face the economic and social challenges that each country is facing – and the broadband infrastructure is perceived by all to be critical for the development of the digital economy, healthcare, education, e-government and so on.

The challenge now is to put these policies into practice and what is needed from politicians and other decision-makers is leadership. Leadership needs to be balanced against an endless process of procrastination and it is time to implement innovative solutions that enable us to advance as a society.

One can argue endlessly about what technologies should be applied and at what cost, but we believe that all signs point to Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) networks as the best future-proof solution. One can debate about whether it is needed in 5,10 or 15 years – and again that depends on some of the differences between countries – but in the end FttH is the best final solution for all urban and many regional premises.

BuddeComm’s new report, Global Broadband – Fibre is the Infrastructure Required for the Future, provides important insights into the worldwide fixed broadband industry and includes trends, analyses, statistics and case studies. It provides insights into fibre network deployment and the growing importance of broadband to the telecoms sector. Information and statistics at a regional level is provided for North America, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific, written by BuddeComm’s Senior Analysts.

Examples of key insights:

  • From a financial and investment point of view broadband infrastructure should be treated as utility infrastructure.
  • A National Broadband Network (NBN) should be based upon an open network as this makes it possible to offer the basic infrastructure on a utility basis to content and service providers. This in turn paves the way for the development of the digital economy.
  • It looks as though 2013 will be remembered as the year when construction of new Greenfield HFC networks came to a halt. Of course, there will still be upgrades to existing networks but the cost of fibre deployment – linked to its much lower operational cost – is now convincing cablecos and telcos alike to build new fibre networks wherever possible. This is not necessarily directly driven by customer demand, but by network costs and network efficiencies.
  • Telcos which do not suffer too much competition from cable companies will continue to upgrade their current DSL networks to FttN using VDSL, VDSL2 and VDSL2+ technologies wherever possible. Upgrades are done in a selective way, based on local geographic and market conditions.
  • There is increasing evidence (e.g. Netherlands, China, Japan, Korea, France, Israel, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden) that customers will come forward once affordable FttX services become available.
  • Africa’s international fibre bandwidth is expected to more than double again in 2014.
  • Bandwidth is gradually increasing in most LAC countries, governments are implementing national broadband plans, and regulators are seeking measures to promote competition.
  • Asia continues to be a leading broadband player, not only in the roll-out of broadband infrastructure, but also in promoting and applying the increased use of broadband to facilitate the digital economy.
  • Improving International connectivity provides a boost for fibre rollouts in the Middle East.
  • Along with an increasing number of governments around the world, the US has taken the view that a trans-sector use of broadband infrastructure is a key driver for economic growth.
  • The share of all broadband subscribers held by HFC networks across Europe fell from 26% in 2002 to about 11% by mid-2013.
  • By mid 2013 in Australia, NBN Co indicated that the national broadband rollout plan was now slightly above target.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Global Broadband – Fibre is the Infrastructure Required for the Future

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