Post written by:

Frédéric Pujol

Spectrum and Radio Technologies Community Leader

Roland Montagne

FTTx Community Leader

Carole Manero

Wireless Services practice leader

After massive rollout of Fibre for backbones and submarines cables, Fibre is now being deployed for Superfast Broadband access to the Homes (FTTH). At end 2016, IDATE was counting more than 340 million FTTH subscribers worldwide. But today with main players looking already how to best anticipate 5G rollouts, this Fibre could be at the center of necessary investments when connecting future 5G radio sites.

5G investments are already launched and Fibre is part of it

In 2017 an FTTH pioneer such as Verizon in the US (Fios coverage) announced 2 major contracts first with Corning and then with Prysmian (total value more than 1,3 billion USD) for providing Fibre to the three years to come. Main usage of this massive Fibre investment will be for connecting today 4G but also tomorrow 5G base stations; and it is today clear that the spread of future 5G radio stations with high frequency usage will be huge. So FTTH could take advantage of 5G arrival for boosting business plans (access + 5G backhauling)

Role of local authorities: Fibre or 5G?

The role of public or local authorities funding has been already proven to be essential for enhancing FTTH coverage especially in suburban and rural areas. Today examples of such public investments for FTTH can be found from New Zealand (Crown Fiber Holding) to the USA (Municipalities) and for sure in Europe (France, Poland, …), most of the time thanks to an Open Access Network approach. But with the promises of 5G and the development of Wireless Broadband access already spreading today through 4G, the role of local authorities could change. Is it time today also for local authorities to consider 5G on their investment agenda when looking at digitalization of their territory? But how?

Worldwide Top 20 Superfast broadband providers (December 2016)
Source: IDATE DigiWorld, World FTTx market, July 2017