Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Fiber-optic network investments essential as telecom services evolve
Telecommunications operators are facing mounting competition for the mind share of consumers who have access to a wide range of entertainment options and businesses that can rely heavily on mobile networks and similar services to get the job done. Broadband internet is still critical in homes and businesses alike, but services including cable television are facing stiff competition from over-the-top video streaming and a diverse range of other sources. The result has been a need to innovate across the telecom sector, something that is making core network investments in fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-business systems critical.
"There is a growing need to innovate across the telecom sector."
A recent study from Pyramid Research found that investing in fiber-to-the-premises (FTTx), be it for a home or business, is becoming critical in response to the rise of multiplay services. The multiplay business model gives telecoms an opportunity to combine their broadband, voice, television and similar services to make them available at a more attractive price point. This results in a more competitive service package that can help telecoms get ahead. However, delivering these services hinges on ramping up the underlying network infrastructure.
Considering the growing need for FTTx infrastructure
According to the news source, the Americas region was home to approximately 141.6 million registered multiplay households as of the end of 2015. That number is set to skyrocket moving forward, reaching 171.5 million by the conclusion of 2020. At this point, the U.S. and Canada are the dominant market for multiplay services, but Latin America is poised for considerable growth. All of this market penetration for multiplay services creates considerable network challenges, particularly in North America, where operators must move beyond offering basic multiplay options and also provide value-add services to gain a competitive edge.
All of this functionality hinges on FTTx infrastructure to carry the large quantities of data to end users - especially considering that many telecoms are offering video streaming options and cloud DVR solutions to go along with typical television systems. All of these technologies depend on the network, and FTTx is critical.
Streamlining network deployment is essential if telecoms want to gain a competitive edge as they jockey for position in a crowded, competitive marketplace. Three ways telecoms can accelerate FTTx rollouts include:
"Microtrenches can help telecoms quickly get fiber to buildings in congested urban areas."
1. Get creative for multi-household dwellings
Fiber-optic cabling systems have long been fairly rigid, with minimal capacity to bend without disrupting the signal moving through the wires. In recent years, more bend-resistant fiber has emerged in the sector, making installing the systems in multi-household dwellings where cables will need to wind between units realistic. Cost-efficient media converters are especially important here, as they allow for interconnection between external fiber links to those units and bend-resistant fiber within the structure. At the same time, fiber-to-Ethernet converters also serve to connect internal fiber systems to the Ethernet systems within each unit.
Microtrenching can also pay dividends here. Using small, shallow, but still secure trenches can help telecoms quickly get fiber to buildings in congested urban and suburban areas without having to take on a major construction project.
2. Work with municipalities and contractors
The need to dig up roads, sidewalks and land in order to build cable trenches is among the major roadblocks to getting FTTx systems installed in the first place. Telecoms that collaborate with municipalities and local contractors can identify when major construction projects are already taking place and install their cables alongside them. Even if you are installing cable that isn't necessary at the moment, adding more network links to your FTTx ecosystem can be invaluable, particularly if you are able to run key backhaul wires down along roads.
For example, partnering with a construction company that is building a new housing development will allow telecoms to quickly roll out fiber while the municipality or construction firm installs new pipes and underground electric lines.
Strategic construction can make it easier to get fiber installed in multi-family homes.
3. Broaden your service portfolio
Monetization has long been one of the major barriers to FTTx deployment. Fiber investments are expensive, and consumers and businesses tend to focus on the price point of network services, not necessarily the quality. Giving somebody who has fast-enough internet an option of paying more for faster service doesn't often pay out. Broadening your service protocol to create more opportunities, and incentives, for updates is critical. Faster internet alone isn't always going to be enough to get consumers or businesses to pay for a major upgrade, but you can more easily cover your costs through value-add services that make your solutions more attractive to consumers.
Getting ahead in a changing telecom environment
Telecommunications companies face a growing need to expand their services to maintain their competitive edge. This leaves organizations with a tricky situation. Strategic FTTx investments make new services possible, but those solutions are vital to get customers to buy into more advanced service plans. Tactical, cost-efficient FTTx projects can help telecoms get ahead and position them to take advantage of a shifting marketplace.
Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.