With all this talk about a new high speed Broadband network for Australia, and should it be based on Fibre to the home or Fibre to the node technology, it has prompted me to get down to the basics for those of you out there who aren’t up to speed.
The current Australian liberal government is seeking tenders to build a new Broadband network. The guideline prospectus that was recently released suggests that the network infrastructure has to be faster than anything available today with the future potential of being upgradeable. It appears that only two variations will have the requirements to suit such a network (FTTN or FTTH). So what is the fundamental difference between the two, and how much will they cost? Let’s take a closer look.
FTTN – Fibre to the node (aka fibre to the neighborhood or fibre to the cabinet – FTTCab):
FTTN is a telecommunication technology that uses ‘fibre optic’ cables that run from a cabinet in a local neighborhood. Connecting to this infrastructure from your home is done so by using ‘coaxial cable’ (the cable we currently use now for broadband services) or twisted pair wiring. Typically, a FTTN cabinet serves a few hundred customers in an approximate radius of 1.5kms or so. If the area that a cabinet serves is less than approximately 300ms, it would be then referred to as ‘Fibre to the curb’ (FTTC or fibre to the kerb FTTK).
FTTH – Fibre to the home (aka fiber to the premises – FTTP)
FTTH (like FTTN) is another variation of a ‘fibre optic’ telecommunication transmission technology. However it runs straight to the subscriber’s premises and therefore differentiates from FTTH as it does not use the ‘coaxial cable’ nor ‘twisted pair wiring’ methods.
How fast – Fibre Speeds
FTTN & FTTH technology can both produce Broadband speeds in the vicinity of 15-50Mbit/s. However, only a FTTH has the potential to reach office desktop speeds of 100-1,000Mbit/s (1Gbit).
How much – Fibre Prices $$
It’s been suggested that a FTTH network would cost about $1500 per household. While some argue that’s twice the amount that a FTTN network would cost, others suggest that a ball park FTTN figure is around $4.5 billion, and a FTTH network $20 billion.
While we in Australia await the deliberations of the government’s expert panel on fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), other countries in the region are steadily building fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) access networks.
There are four main ways in which a major network upgrade can be justified: investment in national infrastructure; new services; operations cost savings; and competitive response.
both could deliver 50Mbit/s downstream and 1-2Mbit/s upstream. But, eventually, if we all want the line rates currently delivered to office desktops – namely, 100-1,000 Mbit/s – then FTTH will be required.
A broader view of the issues, such as reduced road traffic through greater home working and remote delivery of health and education services, could start to close the cost gap between FTTN and FTTH.
Will it be a case that Australia is caught on the ‘back foot’ when it comes to technological advancements and may be left behind for sometime to come? Or will we get a high speed state-of-the-art Broadband network that will keep us on par with the rest of the world (or possibly higher) which will help our nation, and economy, excel toward future prosperity. Which ever the case, we’ll have to wait until after this year’s election well and truly passes for a decision.
Read the entire ‘Fibre: going all the way? article here at ovum
Additional Information and Statistics
FTTH & FTTN research gathered from http://en.wikipedia.org
FTTH & FTTN Network costs sourced from The Age.com
Speeds & Prices researched from Fibre: going all the way article at ovum.com