Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Who need competition? FTTH Council pushing for all-fiber future
Competition is a fluid concept in the telecom industry. While the Federal Communications Commission has worked hard over the past few decades to remove any complete monopolies and create some sense of genuine competition, the market is still dominated by just a few major providers. Sure, some small telecoms are still getting by on the fringes, especially regionally-focused service providers, but the reality is that the industry is dominated by a handful of vendors.
The question remains, "Is the lack of competition good or bad for the sector?" From the Fiber to the Home Council Americas' perspective, the FCC's current efforts to create competition are a problem.
Competition in the telecom sector
In theory, competition is good because it gives consumers more options. This forces providers to offer a diverse range of competitively-priced solutions based on demand and creates a sense of balance in the sector. However, competition is not always good. Sometimes, efforts to keep more businesses afloat in an industry can limit how far other companies can push the envelope. The FTTH Council Americas is concerned that this is happening in North America.
In a recent letter to the FCC, the FTTH Council Americas explained that while industry leaders like Verizon are working strategically to replace aging copper network infrastructure with fiber-based technologies, the move is being slowed by the need to keep copper systems in place. Current industry guidelines mandate that existing copper infrastructure not being used remain in place so other telecoms can use the network to provide non-bundled internet services. The FTTH Council Americas sees fiber as the future and wants the FCC to foster innovation by allowing telecoms to tear down old copper systems.
"It is clear that fiber technology is superior, that consumer demand is increasing rapidly for higher-performance networks, and, as a result, wireline providers of all types are by necessity deploying fiber plant," the council wrote in the comments filed with the FCC.
According to the FTTH Council Americas, only an extremely small minority of telecoms are still building new copper networks, making the large-scale transition to fiber essential.
Easing fiber deployment
Copper networks represent one of the greatest roadblocks to FTTH installation, but copper infrastructure in telecom networks is not always the problem. Most homes and businesses still require copper cabling infrastructure to support Ethernet functionality. As a result, interoperability issues are a major concern in FTTH deployment. Fiber to Ethernet media converters are an essential tool in resolving this issue and simplifying FTTH installation.
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.