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Saturday, February 10, 2007

OFCOM: Shocking Statements on FTTH

ZDNET are reporting that the OFCOM chairman, Lord Currie, made some shocking statements in a speech to a trade association of comms users in business, Communications Management Association.
"For customers who live too far from an exchange, technically this is a problem that could be solved by fibre. But the services are not yet defined, the technology is not yet stable, and so it is too early for a regulatory approach. The case for digging up the road is a rather weak one."
When challenged by conference delegates, Currie admitted there might be a case for deploying fibre as far as street cabinets, but stood by his opinions over fibre being laid as far as individual homes and businesses.
I am horrified and I believe that it is so against the OFCOM policy of being technology neutral that I can only believe that the Chairmans comments have been misunderstood. I think it might be similar to the shocking widely reported statement from Google that Video over the internet will not work, until you actually read the fine print of the Google speech which meant they were talking about the copper bottleneck in the last mile which incidentally could potentially be solved by FTTH.

OFCOM are normally pretty good about placing important speeches on their website. I await the fine print from Lord Currieā€™s speech and any clarification.

The problem is that 41% of businesses cannot get broadband because of their distance from the exchanges. This has always been the case and the solution nearly always has been to lay fibre to the businesses and deploy leased lines. The problem is that this is really expensive and only the largest and more profitable businesses could afford these type of solutions. Silicon economics, technical innovation and the world towards an all-IP world have radically brought down the costs, however the economics are uncertain.

What is certain is that more and more Fibre to the Home and Business is being deployed throughtout the world, it technically works and supports more and more services including every comms application that a business currently would want to running.