ETB Launches FTTH With ZTE | Light Reading

11 Feb

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ZTE helps ETB launch FTTH broadband network in Colombia.

Benoit Felten‘s insight:

ZTE seems to be cruising nicely in Latin America. It’s about the only market apart from China where I truly see their successes, but in that market at least they have some significant wins starting with Uruguay’s Antel.

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TPG Telecom’s FTTB play a headache for Turnbull

11 Feb

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Although obviously very unhappy with the broadband monopoly created by the previous government, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull – as its shareholder minister – also has to protect the interests of NBN Co.

Benoit Felten‘s insight:

I must confess to a certain amount of pleasure watching Malcolm Turnbull struggle to keep together the NBN he has contributed so hard to undermine. It’s not good news for Australia, but you can’t help but feel he got it coming…

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Dean Bubley’s Disruptive Wireless: “Sender-pays” is a ridiculous 19th-Century idea misapplied to the Internet

5 Feb

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Benoit Felten‘s insight:

I was going to write about this, but Dean’s write is so concise, and probably better written than I would have, so you might as well read his. In a nutshell, AT&T’s sponsored data, whether you oppose it on principle or not, is doomed to fail.

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Exciting Stuff at the FTTH Council Europe Conference in Stockholm

4 Feb


Like every year, Diffraction Analysis is an analyst partner of the FTTH Council Europe annual conference which this year takes place in Stockholm on February 19-20th with pre-conference workshops on the 18th.

This year is particularly exciting for us because we will finally be able to show results from a very exciting quantitative study of broadband users in Sweden. We think these figures could significantly change some of the perceptions around the potential of FTTH. These results will be presented during Session 15 of the Conference on the FTTH Business Case:

Session 15: February 20th, 14:15, Room B

You will not want to miss that, sorry for insisting!

Benoît Felten will be there during the whole week of the conference from Feb 17-21st. He will be manning the Diffraction Analysis booth when not otherwise engaged. The booth is in the Analyst Corner section of the exhibition floor. Should you want to meet with Benoît for a briefing, expert opinion or to discuss business opportunities, please get in touch!

In addition, Benoît will be speaking at a number of workshops and events throughout the week:

  • Tuesday 18th AM – Huawei Customer Event
    Speech: 5 ways to supercharge your FTTP Business Case
  • Tueday 18th PM – Investor Day
    Panel Moderation
  • Tuesday 18th PM – World of Applications Workshop
    Speech: FTTP Usage Trends

Diffraction Analysis and Fiberevolution will be tweeting teasers from our study results starting tomorrow and all the way leading up to the conference. Please spread these around if you find them interesting!

Kansas Legislature Introduces Bill to Limit Internet Investment

31 Jan

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Benoit Felten‘s insight:

Looks like the US incumbents are at it again, trying to stifle competition through restrictive legislation, in Kansas this time. Commentary has been that it might be to hamper another Google Fiber, but Google Fiber isn’t a PPP. More likely they’re worried Google Fiber will give other Kansas communities ideas…

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2014, the year of Emerging Market Connectivity, Open Access and Smart Cities

17 Jan

New Year's CardIt is traditional for analysts to end a given year with an assessment of the major trends in that year and predict what the next year will be like. This year we thought we’d do a bit of that ourselves and update you on some of the things you can expect from us in the coming months.

Broadband and politics, unhealthy bedfellows

Probably the most significant news of 2013 in the broadband space will remain as the partial collapse of the Australian NBN. A highly political project from the start, its inability to deliver in the promised timeframe gave the Australian political opposition the ammunition to significantly reduce its ambitions when they won the elections. We have written repeatedly about exactly this risk, and while the reduced scope and ambition of the new project is a dissapointment to those who looked at Australia as the beacon in forward-thinking government led broadband, at least the core of the structural separation has so far been preserved.

In New Zealand also, the highly political NBN has hit some roadblocks, though not quite as dramatic as the Australian ones. The government, by not adjusting the regulatory framework to fiber caused the whole UFB plan to be jeopardized by a drastic price reduction in wholesale copper just when Chorus and the other Local Fiber Companies were heavily investing in FTTH. We have written about potential solutions, but they would require a fair amount of political clout and coverage, and it’s uncertain at this stage whether the government in place has that.

The conclusion from these events is that when large scale plans are put in motion to bring the telecom infrastructure into the 21st century, be it kicking and screaming, governments need to make realistic promises, execute efficiently on these and insure that regulation and policy go hand in hand. Good advice for a number of countries that have moved or are moving in that direction like Israël, Uruguay, and others.

Open Access is finally getting mainstream

At Diffraction Analysis we have long been arguing that Open Access not only makes economic sense but that in many countries around the world it’s the only way to get infrastructure deployed. A few years ago, the coalition of the unwilling incumbents was so deeply against this idea that even policy makers, for the most part, balked at exploring it. Things are slowly changing.

We’re seeing various forms of infrastructure sharing emerge around the world, be it around mobile network components (cell-towers, base stations…), access (open access fiber), backbone, etc. And the players involved, increasingly, include the same incumbent operators who had been fighting tooth and nail against any form of mandated open-access. Consequently we will see increasingly that Public-Private Partnerships that impose open access are likely to become more and more prevalent as even established players willingly consider participating.

Structural Separation doesn’t really get any closer…

On the other hand, the ultimate solution to infrastructure sharing and market fairness, structural separation, isn’t really gaining much traction. There was hope that Italy would represent a major landmark earlier in the year, but shareholder Telefonica seems to have killed that one in the nest (and nabbed a few assets in Latin America in the same move). The aforementioned Israeli project is closer to the mark although the continued existence of the copper-based incumbent may become an issue down the line.

The sad thing is that structural separation (and we now have a functional example of it in New Zealand) would solve most of the issues the market is facing both with funding and competition, at a lower cost to market players than the current model. I don’t have high hopes for policy makers to have the gumption to push this any further, although the UK and Poland might be places to keep an eye on. In the former, the incumbent seems to have aggravated the government so much that I hear the subject is at least no longer taboo. In the latter the incumbent seems keen on making it happen. If only it wasn’t owned by another incumbent who won’ hear of it…

The year(s) to come

While the above trends will continue to unfold, and hopefully a more radical approach to policy, at least in Europe, will be understood to be necessary, there’s little that we can do at our level to influence that. In emerging markets things are a little different because pragmatism generally trumps ideologies and even lobbying to some extent when you try to get from nothing to something. The example of the Colombian national backbone project is very enlightening in that respect, and probably the smartest piece of policy we have seen in telecommunications in years.

This helps us focus where are work will be needed, and it’s essentially in three areas:

  • Emerging market connectivity: the field to further connectivity out in emerging countries and in the rural areas of developed countries is wide open, and smart solutions and approaches emerge everyday. Our research has convinced us that the traditional view that only wireless will do and then only in dense urban areas is increasingly erroneous. We are releasing a white paper in the next few days on this topic, so watch this space. We expect to work more and more with emerging markets in the coming years to help policy makers set up the right context for connectivity growth and to help businesses build smart, effective and profitable networks addressing the massive opportunity there. Rural broadband in developed markets will most likely rely on similar approaches although the legacy may prove to be a big hindrance.
  • Open Access: now that the ideas of infrastructure sharing are gaining traction, an increasing number of players, public, private and in-between hop on board. At the same time, they start to realise that there’s no ‘Field of Dreams’ effect in technology adoption, and that you have to work hard to make an open access model work. We have been hard at work in 2013 assisting neutral operators, both municipal and national in fostering the right ecosystem for adoption to happen as swiftly as possible, and we will continue to do so. Figuring out the proper wholesale offerings, establishing the right levels of trust between partners and taking an active role in promotion and commercialisation are all part of the solution.
  • Smart Cities: it’s a sad state of affairs when you realise that many cities that have invested massive amounts in their own municipal fiber networks are not using it for much beyond delivering broadband to their citizens. Furthermore, cities that don’t have their own assets are increasingly puzzled as to how they can become smarter while having to rely on third-party networks not designed to do what they need them to do. This will be a big focus for us in the coming year as we try to establish the infrastructure bedrock for local governments to really launch themselves in the world of Smart Cities.

These areas are of course in addition to our usual coverage and analysis. In the next few weeks we will announce a lot of releases from Diffraction Analysis, including but not limited to the new iteration of our FTTx World Database, a report presenting 5 Ways to Supercharge an FTTx Implementation, in-depth analysis of user-by-user consumption data from a gigabit fiber network, a thorough examination of the reality of Chattanooga’s Gig City and much much more.

We will also attend rather more events than we did last year, including the just-round-the-corner FTTH Council Europe conference in Stockholm from February 18-20th. We will be presenting very exciting results from the first ever Fiber Usage survey. Stay tuned for more in the coming days.

This is going to be an exciting year, both for Diffraction Analysis and for the industry in general. We certainly hope it’s an excellent year for you, and we hope to see you around before December!

James Enck presentation at NMHH conference Budapest, Dec. 2013

7 Jan

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A few thoughts on the role of third party entreprenuerial capital in bridging the FTTx investment gap. Video of the presentation can be found here. http://eurot

Benoit Felten‘s insight:

Great presentation from James Enck on what’s missing to kick the FTTH market into high gear.

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Problems with your Blackberry?

22 Oct

I wanted to apologize for the radio silence, a combination of too much work and a planned blog/website rethink leads to blogging paralysis.

So just to make up for it, here a hilarious video that should speak to Telecom people, probably the only ones who can really get it…

Fantastic Video on Net Neutrality

3 Oct

I’ve long held the idea that a short video explaining the concept of net neutrality to joe and jane average should be feasible. This isn’t a short video, but it’s the next big thing. It features a (fake) researcher doing some work for the big ISPs to establish the case for net discrimination. In the process of doing so, he interviews just about everyone who defends net neutrality to understand why. It’s fun, and it’s powerful. Take the 30mn to watch it!

Gigabit at Bayonette's Point!

26 Sep


I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Bayonette until I read this article in ZDNet. I tend to be cautious around such announcements because while it’s relatively easy to get coverage in the tech press, it’s much harder to actually deploy a network at scale and hook customers to it.

So, Bayonette is taking a leaf off of Google’s Fiber book and deploying Gigabit and free broadband. Could work, although when you don’t have the Google brand backing you, I have some doubts about the effectiveness of this. In France where a number of social houses have negociated “free basic broadband” as part of their FTTH deals, the story goes that customers who subscribe to the free service never upgrade. I guess it’s just the wrong kind of demographic to expect upsell from.

There are a few things that raised my eyebrows in this piece though:

  • Bayonette’s basic enterprise service is also a symmetric 1Gbps connection, but priced at 2,490 NOK per month (about €309): Good luck explaining to business customers that the service they pay 5 times as much for isn’t the same service consumers pay less for, honest gov’. That’s a recipe for cannibalization and value destruction if ever there was one.
  • The company employs existing dark fibre, and runs its own-brand DWDM (dense wave division multiplexing) equipment on top of the fibre: OK, so they’re not deploying fibre (fair enough, although I’m curious how much open dark fibre actually exists in Norway for access services), but they developed in-house DWDM. Either these guys have cracked the hardest nut to crack ever (DWDM ONTs cost a bomb which is why no one has seriously deployed them in the access market to date) or there’s something I don’t get here.

My gut feeling is these guys are really small, probably sub- 20k customers today (which is kind of our threshold at Diffraction Analysis for including them in the Fiber Database) but I guess I’m intrigued enough that I want to know more. If anyone from Bayonette is reading this, or if anyone reading this can put me in touch with someone from Bayonette, I’d be keen!