Incumbent operators have been on a seesaw in recent years. Once on the up side and leading with voice and data services, they now find themselves on the down side. Contributing factors to this are the cablecos. The arrival of DOCSIS 3.0 has enabled cable operators to offer multi-play packages that make available rich media services like HD, high-speed Internet and voice – and thereby gain market share. As well, new alternative fiber-based operators have been adding to the incumbents’ agony by offering very competitive bundles over the broadest available access. On top of all this, ‘backyard’ issues like local unbundling regulations are forcing the incumbents to share their most valuable asset: last mile copper.
Given these factors, it’s easy to conclude that incumbents must act, and the sooner the better. They can, of course, invest in fiber – and many have announced ambitious plans to do just this. But while FTTH may be the best path forward for future-proof broadband access, it has also been associated with a lengthy list of issues including the cost of goods, unbundling and end-user premises access, among others. And while many believe that such a multi-year plan is a real necessity and it’s something that local governments are backing, an immediate solution needs to be found. This is where VDSL2 and vectored VDSL2 solutions come into play.
VDSL2 and its vectoring enhancement will allow incumbents to:
- Regain market share
- Carefully control capex, enabling reduced TCO via a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ go to market strategy for increased revenues and ROI
- Deploy a next-gen access network capable of supporting rich media/HDTV/3DTV services for the next several years while planning their fiber network
Typically, incumbents attempt to solve the limitations associated with unbundling regulations by deploying new street cabinets. Sub-loop unbundling can strengthen the incumbents’ position in the last mile by enabling them to roll out a hybrid access network (fiber to the cabinet and from there copper) to maximize the massive copper installed base. The copper infrastructure can be upgraded using technologies like vectored VDSL2, which has access rates that can match those of DOCSIS 3.0. These networks help ensure a smooth and fully controlled migration toward the future, where consumer demands are sure to shift and new bandwidth-savvy applications and services will be introduced.
Competitive challenges can indeed turn into opportunities – and vectored VDSL2 solutions, with their extended reach and faster rates, are making it possible for the incumbents’ seesaw to head back up. Until…
Product Marketing Manager
Network Solutions Division