Everything You Need to Know About Next-gen Broadband New DSL flavors, DOCSIS 3.0, Bell TV, and more...
From Broadband Reports Posted on 2005-07-07 15:05:23 Written by Karl Bode
ADSL2+? VDSL2? Fiber to the Curb? Fiber to the Home? DOCSIS 3.0? It's hard to get to the truth behind the constant stream of belligerently optimistic press releases. We sit down with industry reporter Dave Burstein to try and make sense of next generation broadband deployment, and find out when (if ever) you'll begin to see next gen speeds from your broadband provider.
BBR: What can we really expect in regards to a bell next-gen deployment timeline?
DB: In three to four years - because constructing facilities for millions of people take that long - expect that half of Verizon should have fiber at 15-100 meg, otherwise slow DSL. Half of SBC should have DSL at 10-20Mbps, from existing boxes 2,000-5,000 feet away (FTTN). The rest will be slow DSL and satellite resale. One-tenth of BellSouth customers should have 50Mbps+ service from fiber to the curb. Half of the rest should have 10-30Mbps DSL, often using two lines.
BBR: As we discussed yesterday, Verizon seems like the poster child of how to do a next-gen deployment correctly. Your thoughts on their Fios plans?
DB: Verizon is going as fast as it can building fiber; one newspaper reported 2,000 crews working just in Virginia! It's really that big a job to rewire a third of the U.S. All the others are constrained more by their decision on how much to spend, not construction limits.
Verizon wants fiber to the home. That's the big deal. Three million homes passed by the end of 2005. They've budgeted for, and are likely to deliver - a total of 7 million by the end of 2006 and 15 million by the end of 2008. That's about half of their 1/3rd of the country target - an enormous build costing $15-20 billion. Verizon and NTT in Japan are the only two large carriers in the world doing large volumes of fiber.
Currently, Verizon has a BPON network with video that matches cable on one wavelength and 19 meg down/ 6 meg up. They intend to switch to GPON for new builds as soon as it's ready, and have pushed manufacturers to have equipment by mid-2006 and accelerated the international standard. That's designed for 100 meg symmetric and higher, for real.
For the 20 million plus other Verizon subscribers, they will continue offering DSL and have given no indication they'll jump from the 1-5 meg ADSL speeds to the 10-15 meg ADSL2+. They stopped the DSL build at 80% or so to concentrate on fiber, but I believe are now going back to reach 90%+. Because they were considering selling rural lines, they didn't invest, leaving half of Maine unserved.
Scotch, what amazed me in this article was the broadband expert's comment/opinion that SBC and BLS's hybrid DSL/fiber plan will only yield enough bandwith comparable to what the cable companies were providing in 2002!
And now its 2005 with HDTV coming on mainstream. The expert noted that SBC is especially cutting it close in terms of meeting consumers' expectations for bandwith delivery. What will they do when consumers request hookup for two or more HDTV sets in the home, a broadband internet connection and telephone service? Will performance fall short of comsumer expectations and cause a high churn rate? And can you imagine consumers' reactions to this problem after they spend thousands of dollars on new HDTV sets? And by the time SBC and BLS finally get around to deploying their triple-play plans, cable may by then have the answer with a new and better performing Docsis 3.0.
Seems to me SBC and BLS's band-aid approach, designed to control costs, will fail. They'll have no choice but to follow VZ's lead. Actually the best news for MRV would be an accelerated adoption of Docsis 3.0 by the cable co's in 2006. That would change the game completely.
Until this plays out, lets hope the ethernet networking side of MRV's biz picks up and VZ is on time in beginning delivery of TV service by the start of 2006.