FTTH Council Europe: Telcos Need to Spend €261b on Fiber
– Calls for Government Mandates and Changes to Regulations
European broadband service providers are investing €3 billion
($3.9 billion) a year in building fiber networks but an FTTH
Council Europe-funded study said that’s not enough because at
that rate it will take them up to 92 years to finish. Of
course, an FTTH body would say that’s too little to spend,
especially considering its founding members were fiber
equipment makers Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Corning, Emtelle and
It is certainly not going to consider that telcos might be
better off by extending fiber closer to the residence and
making the last link with their existing copper wire networks
by using one of the new DSL technologies such as VDSL2
Vectoring, FTTdp, DSM or DSL Rings. That would buy them time
to get G.Fast developed, which promises to provide them with 1
Gbps speeds to the residence.
The FTTH Council Europe study said that connecting every home
in the EU with fiber would cost telcos €261 billion in capital
expenditures. “The current rate of telecoms investment in
fiber is a mere €3 billion a year and that is simply not fast
enough,” the study said.
Stefan Stanislawski, co-founder of Ventura Team, which carried
out the study along with Portland Advisors, said government
regulations are needed. He said, “The industry could fund the
switchover itself over a period of 25 years with the right
He did not suggest who would fund the €261 billion — telcos or
It said that at the present time , there is little incentive
for fixed-line operators to take the plunge since they are
still making money from their legacy copper networks.
The study calls for regulation changes that would be
coordinated by an EC-wide program. It laid out a seven-point
plan that includes regulatory changes, strategic pricing moves
and changes to universal service requirements.
“The good news is that a much faster fiber switchover inside
the EU27 is entirely possible provided that there is enough
political will and that the right regulatory changes are
made,” Stanislawski said.
The bad news is that taxpayers and broadband subscribers will
have to pay for a switchover from copper to fiber that may no
longer be needed because of advances in copper wire
technology. What EU governments need to do is figure out how
they can make it easier for telcos to deploy one or more of
the new DSL technologies that would get 100-200 Mbps in the
near term and 1 Gbps in the longer term – and without having
to dig up lawns and streets.