How to Lay a Golden Egg
Opportunities for wholesalers and independent network operators to monetize their fiber investment
The once-distant dream of every home and office being connected to the fiber network is moving closer. Why? Because everyone – from independent network operators to fiber network wholesalers, to governments, to municipalities, to local authorities – are helping service providers with the fiber connectivity they’ve always yearned for, yet never been able to invest in themselves.
However, the big question for independent network operators (INOs) and wholesalers is ‘how?’. How can they make sure their fiber-laying investment resembles a cash cow, not a lame duck?
First a bit of context.
In the old days, INOs just laid fiber and built basic networks for ‘personal consumption’. But as technology has advanced – think packet ubiquity, cloudification, and video, for example – and fueled demand for capacity, so the process of deploying fiber has accelerated. The result? Laying optical fiber bundles is now affordable enough to allow INOs to lay more capacity than they’ll ever need. The spare capacity they can then sell or lease to other interested parties. Namely, connectivity wholesalers, service providers, and traditional network operators.
This is already happening and there will be many more agreements like this – for the simple reason that high-capacity fiber is essential to a whole range of emerging communication trends and offerings such as:
- Residential services
- Smart cities
- Next-generation business services
To monetize your fiber investment…
However, laying fiber is one thing. Another is how to make money by leasing it – either to connectivity wholesalers or directly to service providers. To do that means allowing wholesalers to connect to their fiber in multiple ways, so they can offer the widest range of new and existing services to the market. Dark fiber, dim fiber and lit fiber services mean INOs have various business models to play with.
…cater for different service types and their requirements…
For 5G, linking numerous base stations will take a huge amount of connectivity and capacity. There’s connectivity for all those existing IoT devices, which existing 4G networks or the non-license spectrum currently handle. Plus, there’s connecting up legacy business services (eg. ethernet VPNs and managed WANs), which still have plenty of shelf life.
When investing in the network, INOs must look beyond access to a solution that offers both access and the programmable transport needed to connect that access back to applications. This might involve partnering with transport vendors looking to develop a more compelling proposition beyond just fixed or wireless access.
…and choose a truly flexible aggregation network
To support whatever services a carrier might want to offer, we suggest investing in a dynamic and programmable IP packet and optical network that can funnel huge amounts of data flexibly around various access networks.
We’d also suggest placing a multi-access aggregation device at the edge of where the access network joins the metro. That way, your network can take any sort of technology or access network coming in, then aggregate that data and pass it on to the core – thus opening up all sorts of new markets.
Lay the golden egg
So there you have it, to monetize your fiber-laying investment, bear in mind three things:
- Invest in building a proper aggregation network to support and aggregate multiple services. This will increase potential earning capacity by extending your network’s flexibility, and therefore appeal, to service providers.
- Finding the right business model for your organisation – dark, lit or dim – based on your own network expertise and resources.
- Remember, connecting transport to wherever it needs to go in the network requires a flexible IP and optical metro transport network. This will connect a customer’s premise equipment no matter where it is in the network.
Of course, to move up the value chain and offer multiple premium services, you’ll need to build an aggregation network that’s capable of offering multiple premium services. You can find out more in our latest white paper.
A very real opportunity
Mobile network operators (MNOs) want to maximize coverage and minimize investment. Leasing connectivity services from others allows this, and MNOs are used to relying on wholesalers for connectivity. In fact, we think MNOs would embrace a flexible transport network from any INO or wholesaler that provides the SLAs required by a new generation of services.
Ready to monetize your fiber investment?
To learn more about ECI’s 5G Solutions, click here.