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Alcatel-Lucent questions FTTP goal, NZ next?
Posted on 19-Nov-2013 08:03 by Bill Bennett. | Tags Filed under: News.

CommsDay reports Alcatel-Lucent global fixed networks president Federico Guillen says his customers no longer see fibre-to-the-home as the broadband end goal. He says recent technological advancements mean the focus is shifted to vectoring.

There’s a context to Guillen’s comments. He was speaking at the CommsDay NBN: Rebooted conference in Sydney. The conference is looking at how Australia’s plans for a national broadband network will alter following this year’s change of government. The Coalition government has long been critical of the Australia Labor Party’s commitment to a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.

Guillen says: “Now it is about the [service] you provide to the enduser; it doesn’t matter if you provide FTTP, what matters is that you provide 50Mbps, 70Mbps or 100Mbps – that’s what the end user wants. And you need to do it more effectively”.

Alcatel-Lucent now talks of “fibre-to-the-most-economical point”.

It will be interesting to see if Alcatel-Lucent repeats this message in New Zealand. The company is a Telecom NZ network infrastructure partner,  it’s best-known project was the the XT rollout which ran into teething troubles.

The company also works with Chorus and is involved in the Gigatown promotion. Alcatel-Lucent’s ng Connect open innovation program has commited to a $200k development fund for the winning Gigatown.

However the company missed out on New Zealand’s big FTTP project: Ultrafast Broadband. It’s rival  Ericsson won substantial UFB contracts from Chorus and from Whangarei’s Northpower. Meanwhile Huawei got the business from central North Island’s Ultrafast Fibre and Enable in Christchurch. Huawei also has some of Chorus’s RBI business.

With question marks now hanging over Chorus’s ability to finance the full UFB build and other UFB builders said to be facing similar financial problems, is anyone game enough to put a high profile Alcatel-Lucent speaker on a New Zealand stage to explain why building the FTTP UFB network might not be the best strategy?

[digitl 2013]

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