Fibre to the home viable now: Ericsson

A Lower Hutt project shows fibre to the home - and suburban businesses - is viable. The project involves narrow trenching, a way of laying fibre in the ground that is less disruptive and cheaper than conventional digging.

A Lower Hutt project shows fibre to the home (FTTH) — and suburban businesses — is viable.

That’s the message Colin Goodwin, Ericsson Australia’s multi-service networks product manager, delivered at a seminar in Auckland this week.

FTTH is well-established in Europe and is being rolled out in Western Australia, but is yet to emerge as a widespread technology here. But the Lower Hutt project, involving laying fibre beneath city streets to carry traffic information for the police, shows its deployment in New Zealand is viable, Goodwin claims.

The project involved narrow trenching, a way of laying fibre in the ground that is less disruptive and cheaper than conventional digging. Ericsson was a partner in the project and Goodwin says its completion proves to New Zealand councils that narrow trenching is “a valid building practice”.

Combined with cheaper ethernet hardware, the conditions are right for a wider rollout, he says.

“FTTH has happened in Sweden and Holland, with a lot of government support, but there’s no reason not to do it in new, greenfields property developments with thousands of residents.”

Goodwin believes in 10 to 20 years carriers will be replacing copper connections to homes with fibre and it will be standard practice for new developments to put in fibre.

“There’s no way it’ll be bigger than ADSL in the short term, but it will eventually take the wind out of ADSL.”

The business case for FTTH doesn’t work if all that’s considered is internet access, he says.

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