If you couple the increasing availability of 'up to' 80Mbps FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet
) broadband with the growing popularity of competitively priced Ethernet based services such as leased lines
, we ask “Is there really still a market for FTTP?”
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Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager[/caption]
While the answer is fundamentally ‘yes’ in our view, it’s important to understand that the potential market for FTTP customers is being squeezed. We are still receiving regular enquiries about FTTP
from our resellers, who tell us they often struggled to find a wholesale provider for FTTP. It continues to be a viable option for business customers looking for high speed connectivity but who don’t need the service guarantees provided by Ethernet based solutions. It’s only real current Achilles heel is its limited availability, especially when compared to its more accessible cousin, FTTC.
Originally, Openreach said it would invest £1.5 billion in rolling out superfast broadband (FTTC and FTTP) across 40% of the UK by 2012. Of this, 1 million premises were expected to be covered by FTTP and they even increased this to 2.5 million in October 2009.
BT Wholesale’s investment plans continued to increase with them upping the total investment to £2.5 billion and aiming to reach 66% coverage by 2014, and then most recently increasing that target to 95% by 2017 using the additional BDUK funding.
However, most of this investment has been focussed on FTTC and, by the end of 2012, FTTP was only available to approximately 100,000 premises - a far cry from the 2.5million target! Whilst they still state that the BDUK funding they receive is expected to be used to further expand FTTP coverage, the initial targets have been pretty much withdrawn now. BT Wholesale have also temporarily pulled from sale the expensive and confusing (available in FTTC not FTTP enabled areas but behaves like FTTP!) Fibre on Demand (FoD) variant which was aimed to fill in some of the shortfall, as it has been taking unacceptably long for Openreach to deliver it to customers.
The apparent ‘u-turn’ on FTTP availability is an obvious disappointment to the industry but it’s appeal was always going to be to a relatively small niche market anyway, especially with the growing availability of FTTC and ever increasing popularity of Ethernet based solutions.
So, why choose FTTP?
The key to understanding FTTP is that its delivery is entirely independent of a copper telephone line in terms of a functioning service, although there is a price premium if you don’t take a traditional analogue line from the same communication provider alongside it as FTTP cannot currently deliver telephone calls.
Unlike FTTC which utilises fibre from the network to the cabinet and then copper to the premises, FTTP utilises fibre all the way to the premises which means it can provide much faster speeds. Whilst FTTC can currently provide up to 80Mbps downloads, FTTP can provide up to 330Mbps downloads.
Therefore, for business customers requiring significantly faster speeds but with no need for the SLAs and service guarantees provided by leased lines or simply without the budget for such services, FTTP remains an interesting tool to have in the box. For the majority of businesses, we would still recommend the slower but uncontended EFM and GEA solutions (available up to 35Mbps and 20Mbps respectively based on location) which have business service levels.
Therefore, if you’ve written off FTTP you could be missing out on some valuable opportunities, as there is still a niche for FTTP in the market. Download our free eBook 'A Comprehensive Guide to Connectivity' to find out more about where FTTP fits into the market.
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Have your say!
Are you already selling FTTP successfully? Or have you received limited interest in the product? Do you promote alternative services in its place? We would love to hear more about your experiences selling FTTP solutions, so please leave us a comment below.