Wednesday, April 25, 2012
South Africa could be an ideal home for FTTH investments
Fiber-to-the-home is gaining popularity around the globe, especially in mature economies, but there is still a place for the technology in economic climates that are not as well developed. In a recent TechCentral report, Cris Fuentes, CEO at ZTE SA, said that South Africa could be an ideal destination for FTTH, as the country's broad investments would be well complemented by new FTTH infrastructure.
According to Fuentes, South Africa's government is working on national, undersea, provincial and metropolitan optical network deployments to help comprehensively improve connectivity options. However, he told the news source that making these broad investments will have a limited impact on the nation as a whole if they are not accompanied by FTTH projects, which help bring the advanced connectivity options to the people.
"We will achieve nothing if we don’t bring the final mile [of fiber] into houses. But the private sector alone cannot take responsibility for FTTH, even in the dense urban areas. The state must participate to make it a national effort," Fuentes told TechCentral.
To achieve this goal, Fuentes said that current government initiatives to expand broadband access need to take fiber-optic connectivity options into account. For example, he told the news source that the government should enact a policy that all new construction should be accompanied by optical cable installation. Essentially, FTTH would follow the same pattern as water, sewer and electricity construction accompanying any building project, creating a utility-like environment for the advanced networking format.
Fuentes told TechCentral that South Africa should follow Australia's plan for FTTH, which includes a goal to connect 93 percent of the homes, schools and businesses in the country to an FTTH network. The total price of the project is more than $40 billion, but the potential gains far outweigh the costs.
History has shown that FTTH advances are often best supported by government. For example, the United States has established itself as a leading player in the FTTH industry largely because of federal intervention. Initially, urban areas and regions densely populated with relatively wealthy residents were the locations for FTTH investments, as targeting these areas assured telecoms of consistent revenue. But FTTH can also stimulate the economy, but needs to be widespread to do so. As a result, the U.S. government sponsored major projects throughout rural regions, helping telecoms subsidize their new installations and fueling rapid growth.
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