How Innovation Is Accelerating ODN Construction


    Jul 15, 2020

    A few months ago, IDATE published its latest World FTTx markets’ dataset, a global analysis of more than 80 national markets.

    FTTH/B is still the leading super-fast broadband solution, far ahead of FTTx/DOCSIS3.0 and followed by VDSL. Indeed, 73% of FTTx subscriptions worldwide were to FTTH/B lines, as of June 2019. We predict that growth in FTTH/B subscriptions will continue until 2023.

    Source: IDATE DigiWorld, World FTTx markets, January 2020 / Growth in FTTH/B Subscriptions 2015-2023 (million and %)

    Where We Will See Growth

    The following markets have strong potential for FTTH growth: emerging markets such as India and South East Asia (including Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Cambodia), the MENA region (Egypt and Saudi Arabia), and Europe (particularly the UK, Germany, and Italy).

    The LATAM region, including MexicoArgentina and Brazil, is also a strong candidate for development. Peru and Bolivia have both seen strong growth, increasing penetration rates by more than 89% in one year.

    Finally and in the longer term, Sub Saharan Africa is a reservoir for FTTHIndeed, in Africa, up to 17 countries are currently implementing native FTTH rollout projects.

    All-optical transformation is an industry consensus. For example, ETSI recently launched a new group, the F5G ISG, to accelerate all optical processes.

    Challenges with ODN Construction

    Nevertheless, challenges remain in ODN construction, including complicated network planning and design, and challenges linked to traditional solutions. These issues result in high costs and low efficiency, which is exacerbated by a lack of skilled workers. Telcos have also pointed out difficulties in ODN resource management.

    Turning to the LATAM region, where IDATE is conducting a yearly LATAM FTTH Panorama for the Fiber Broadband Association (LATAM Chapter). FTTH expansion via aerial scenarios has accelerated in the region since the deployment of FTTH ODN networks. At the end of 2018, we estimated that 70% of FTTH rollouts had been completed using aerial infrastructures (existing and new poles). This choice is less costly and faster to implement.

    In the early stages of FTTH deployments in LATAM, splicing was largely used by some players in Chile and Colombia. However, the trend is now moving towards preconnectorized solutions, as it helps reduce time, costs (relating to technicians), and failures during the installation process. It is also making the inventory process easier for network upgrades or adaptations.

    To solve these key challenges, future-proof ODN deployment is key. Accurate ODN engineering avoids outages, which can reach 10% of installed bases in certain cases, representing a major TCO challenge for some telcos. Appropriate ODN will allow easy evolution of fiber networks for connecting new homes and enterprises. It will also allow installed FTTH networks to be used to deploy F5G faster.

    New Tech Improves Efficiency in Fiber Deployment & Management

    Innovative solutions featuring these latest technological improvements could help solve technical and operational issues relating to ODN construction

    Today, ODN planners need accurate cost projections, not only for deploying the network, but also for activating subscribers, maintaining the network during its lifetime, and formulating realistic predictions of subscriber adoption of services and revenues. It is important to base cost analysis on real local data, as there can be major differences between geographical areas – even those with similar population densities. Extrapolations and benchmarking should be avoided where possible. ODN tools should help telcos locate the highest-value areas, design optimum paths, and efficiently integrate deployment to help them achieve their business goals.

    New industrial technologies and solutions are available to provide outstanding network planning outcomes with whole network pre-connection products and solutions, while supporting the development of multiple businesses, including the home and enterprise markets. Digitalized solutions can be found for future ODN deployment. 

    Recommendations for FTTH Operators 

    To solve the challenges they face, operators need to:

    • More efficiently deploy new FTTH networks to incur lower TCO.
    • Prioritize precise monitoring for evolving FTTH networks to F5G.

    To meet these requirements, “quick” and “digital” are the key directions to follow.

    Adopting pre-connection technology and end-to-end plug and play guarantees faster installation for network construction. It is possible to cascade the FAT (Fiber Access Terminal) and complete network deployment without reopening them. A European operator that has deployed one the most fiber optical sockets in the world is known for frontage deployments and using the pre-connectorize solution.

    ODN digitalization decreases the risk for human error and ensures a resource management process that is 100% accurate. Additionally, digitalization and automation enable faster service provisioning and fault recovery by decreasing the need for site visits by technicians, thus improving operational performance.

    About the Author

    Roland Montagne, Director, Business Unit Smart Networks & Territories & Principal Analyst, FTTH Broadband Markets, IDATE DigiWorld

    Roland has been with IDATE since 1998. In recent years, he has managed several assignments focused on DSL, cable and wireless access network economics – exploring global issues such as bundled offers over DSL, and the economics of bitstream access and unbundling.

    Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.


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