Telecom Italia goes full-blown FTTC

10 Dec

A few years ago, it looked like Italy might be a place where interesting broadband deployment models might emerge. In particular, a consortium of alternative operators all working together pushed a radical proposal to pool resources for the deployment of a unique national FTTH point-to-point network. The key to making that work of course was the willing participation of incumbent Telecom Italia. Having rejected FTTC as a solution, and being cash-strapped, it looking for a while like Telecom Italia might agree.

Alas, things have changed and the Italian model now looks like so many others: Telecom Italia is embracing FTTC with FTTH deployment being a reality only in Milan (using Metroweb’s infrastructure). The plans for FTTC deployment target 6.1 million homes passed end 2014 in 100 cities. Somewhere in there is the Milan FTTH and possibly one or two other cities, but that sounds like wishful thinking to me.

Meanwhile, the ambitious Lombardia FTTH project seems to have ground to a halt as well. I haven’t heard anything about it in ages, and I don’t know if that’s for financial, technical or political reasons (and probably a mix of the three).

So there you have it. For a long time, Italy was a leader in the European rankings because of the legacy of Fastweb’s deployment in Milan. But these numbers have stayed flat for years, and it’s not looking like they will be growing anytime soon.

3 Responses to “Telecom Italia goes full-blown FTTC”

  1. marccanter December 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    In 1998 I worked on a Digitale Citta project in Trieste.  Telecom Italia was the main partner.  At the time – they were looking forward to something called Turin 2000.  Now it’s 14 years later.

  2. Frans van Camp December 11, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Given Italy’s average sub-loop length of around 400 meters, this actually makes quite good sense. One of my models, which explicitly takes into account household composition in Italy and uses different usage profiles for different household sizes and levels of digital literacy, shows that a national FTTC network based on VDSL2, profile 17a would cover the bandwidth needs of 99% of Italian households, as projected for 2016. And I believe that, if you add  vectoring, this infrastructure may well be able to cover residential bandwidth needs for another decade and beyond.

  3. fiberevolution December 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Frans, that’s a fair comment. The impact on competition however is not something that can be assessed from loop lengths. I’m still concerned that regulators are letting incumbents take back a part of what they’ve been forced to share by switching from passive to active wholesale products…

Leave a Reply