Frequently Asked Questions
- What is FTTx?
- FTTx (Fiber-to-the-x) is a generic term for any network architecture that uses optical fiber to replace all or part of the usual copper local loop used for telecommunications; it describes the fiber optic network for the "last mile" of the telecom connectivity between the communications provider and the customer.
The four technologies, in order of an increasingly longer fiber loop are:
- Fiber‐to‐the‐Node (FTTN) or Fiber‐to‐the‐Cabinet (FTTCab)
- Fiber‐to‐the‐Curb (FTTC),
- Fiber‐to‐the‐Building (FTTB)
- Fiber‐to‐the‐Home (FTTH) or Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP). Both are often used interchangeably.
- What is PON?
- A passive optical network (PON) is a point-to-multipoint, fiber to the premise network architecture in which unpowered optical splitters are used to enable a single optical fiber to serve multiple premises, typically 32 to 64. A PON consists of an Optical Line Termination (OLT) at the service provider's central office and a number of Optical Network Units (ONUs) near end users. A PON configuration reduces the amount of fiber and central office equipment required compared with point-to-point architectures (Wikipedia).
- What's driving FTTx deployment?
- Put simply, bandwidth demand. However, this demand runs much deeper than just basic consumer internet bandwidth. Massive increases in video content, high-bandwidth applications, and convergence, are all driving broadband bandwidth requirements; and although several technologies are available to satisfy this demand, fiber in the local loop–and more specifically, fiber directly connecting the customer premise–will be one of the very few technologies that are able to keep pace with projected increases in the future.
- What types of organizations (i.e. public or private) are well placed to deploy FTTx networks?
- FTTx represents an entire paradigm shift in the local access service delivery industry; largely because it is not just a telephone company's game. It is interesting to note that just like much of the telecom development in the early part of last century, it was the public purse that was behind much of the investment through either crown corporations or generous public right-of-way deals. That being said, both private and public organizations are well placed to invest in and develop FTTx infrastructure. Private entities that are ready and prepared to take the step, will do well, as will public organizations such as municipalities, who want to take control of their FTTx space and who have the political will and financial means to do so.
- What are some rough cost estimates for deploying a FTTx network?
- The cost of an FTTx network is dependent upon many parameters, such as service offering (single-play vs. double-play vs. triple-play), network equipment, construction method (underground vs. aerial), and population density. However, speaking in rough, conservative figures, an average cost to design and construct an FTTx network is usually about $1 million per 1,000 population (public perspective) or about $1 million per 500 homes passed (private perspective).
Note that these costs represent CAPEX (capital expenditures) only and do not include the associated OPEX (operational expenditures).