12:20 pm - Friday 20 October 2017

India still needs to tighten its belt for FTTH/B penetration

By Nitesh Sharma - Thu Dec 15, 2:57 pm

Kuldeep Goyal, presently serving inside the board of directors at FTTH Council of Asia Pacific, is a veteran in telecom domain and has served the industry with his in depth knowledge of the domain. He has also served as Chairman & Managing Director of the State-owned telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL). He retired from BSNL on July 31, 2011 after completing three years as CMD of the company. Earlier, he had worked as Director (Planning and New Services) on BSNL Board and was responsible for planning and execution of strategy for expansion of BSNL’s network.

After bringing significant reforms during his tenure in BSNL, he now shoulders the responsibility of expansion of fibre to the home in Asia Pacific and India particularly.

insightVAS brings to you his valuable reservations on the Latest trends in the Fibre to the  home expansion in Asia Pacific region. He explained in detail about the different aspects of the FTTH penetration in the Asia Pacific region. Find out:

Growth of data traffic

Data Traffic for networked devices per capita in 2010 was 1%, which would jump to 2% in 2015… IP Traffic per capita (GB) in 2010 was 3%, which is estimated to grow to 11% in 2015… Internet traffic from non-PC devices (TV, Phones, Tablets, M2M) in 2010 was 3% that would be 15% in 2015…. Mobile Data traffic per month in 2010 was 240PB, which is estimated to jump to 6300PB in 2015.

FTTH subscribers connected

According to the data available till December 2010, 50 million subscribers were connected out of which Europe contributed with 3.9 million subscribers, Asia-Pacific with 45 million and North America with 8.8 million.

Current FTTH/B deployments in APAC

Tier 1: Advanced FTTH/B deployments in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and China.

Tier 2: Starting FTTH/B transition in Taiwan.

Tier 3: Planning FTTH/B transition in Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Tier 4: Exploring FTTH/B deployments in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

There are significant differences between countries in same tiers as China has changed (Tier 3 to Tier 1) in 3 years and Singapore from Tier 2 to Tier 1.

Factors correlating to Broadband penetration success

Factors correlating to broadband penetration success in countries such as Indonesia, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, HK, Singapore and S. Korea are government policies, ICT initiatives, investments to drive BB/FTTH growth, regulatory certainty and consistency, infrastructure based competition, copper unbundling, existing presence of fixed network infrastructure which can be leveraged for fibre networks, multi service bundling etc.

Citing the success stories of countries like Singapore, Taiwan and Korea in terms of offering Fibre Optic direct to the common homes of their respective regions for enhanced broadband access, Mr. Kuldeep Goyal said, “Flexible government policies, ICT initiatives, supportive investments by government including the same from private players, significant Public Private Partnerships for CAPEX, significant regulation to increase competition, non-discriminatory policies for both urban and rural areas and improved service have collectively impacted in the expansion and popularisation of broadband in the Asia Pacific region. However, India is still lacking behind in the race and need to tighten its belt for the same.”

He said, “Effective network deployment, development of congenial ecosystem and universal access and welfare schemes are the three mandatory phases of growth of FTTH phenomena. Along with these, stimulus from government like tax subsidies, direct investment from authorities are required to fuel the growth.”

Government policies driving Asia’s FTTH/B expansion

Government policy has been the absolute FTTx driver in Japan and South Korea under which comprehensive government programs including investment in urban and rural fibre also played a major role.

Regulation of services has been vital to increase competition in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China Massive direct government investment in fibre and emphasis on reaching rural communities in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, & New Zealand changed the scenario for these countries.

Current national government investment projects in Asia

Singapore: Next Generation National Broadband Network [NGNBN] – USD 0.71B, 100% premise fibre penetration by 2013

Malaysia: High Speed Broadband [HSBB] project – USD 3.27B, 20% HH fibre penetration by 2011 expanding to 50%.

Australia: National Broadband Network [NBN]- USD 38.7B,  93% premise fibre penetration by 2017
New Zealand: Ultra-Fast Broadband Investment Initiative – USD 2.2B, 75% premises fibre penetration by 2019.

Correlating development phase to different requirements

Phase 1: Network deployment will be the main priority in terms of focusing on countries like Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Thailand. The deployment of backbone network infrastructure, initiating policy enablers such as infrastructure sharing are required to increase competition.

Phase 2: Ecosystem development is in process in countries like Philippines, Australia, China and Malaysia. Also, deploying high speed infrastructure in high economic areas, establishing access network to increase coverage in low demand areas (financial incentive) and services/applications to drive usage and demand are essential.

Phase 3: Universal access and welfare is essential in countries like Japan and Korea. It will stimulate further adoption through development of public services targeted towards mass market and utility services ensuring coverage of un-served/underserved areas.

Key technical & financial obstacles

High level network flow and fibre deployment issues:

Core: Currently core infrastructure has been deployed primarily to connect the urban areas. There is limited core network connectivity in the rural areas; right of way and high cost of roll out are the key barriers in front of effective fibre deployment.

Middle Mile: There is limited or no middle mile connectivity in the rural areas, right of way with high cost of roll out is the key barrier to fibre deployment.

Access: Right of way and high cost of roll out are the key barriers to fibre deployment, there is no business case for operators to deploy the fibre for access due to limited target and users, there are limited use cases for rural population to drive broadband adoption.

Mr. Goyal stated, “Right of Way is the most important legislative requirement for the FTTH deployment in India. Utility services must be made available to the common man through optical fibre. The local city administration possesses the necessary potential to make it a reality and it must take initiatives in terms of formulating and implementing the FTTH expansion on local grounds. However, at the same time the quality of services must be maintained.”

Unique rural service drivers

Online services for rural and urban end user segment

Livelihood services & shared access require fibre connectivity for efficient delivery. Services such as telemedicine are high utility applications that have direct impact on livelihood of users in rural areas. Lifestyle services such as video and gaming are more entertainment oriented and have high relevance for urban customers.

Regulatory issues impacting India’s Broadband deployment

Specific to India: Issues like definition of broadband data rate (256kbps vs. 2Mbps), government ruling on unrestricted VoIP service, right of way permission procedures for network construction and duct sharing, building codes for broadband wiring in newly constructed MDUs, promotion of private investments in wire-line access infrastructure (e.g. tax relief) are prevalent in India.

General: Establishment of quality standards and ensuring compliance (QoS oversight), Compatibility and interoperability between providers, wide spreading of fair coverage and subsidies for remote areas are some of the key issues.

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