Broadband to the Home

The Broadband Daily has a post by Karl Bode on the US situation:

Verizons Fios fiber to the home deployment is the most ambitious, running the fiber directly to your living room, and costing the company an estimated $1000 to $1,300 per home. Once it emerges from limited trials, 5Mbps can be had for between $34.95 and $39.95 depending on the services you bundle. 15Mbps can be had for between $44.95 to $49.95. 30Mbps will be offered as a business service for $200 a month.

Less ambitious ($29 billion less ambitious, actually) is SBCs Project Lightspeed. SBC believes they should deploy fiber to the neighborhood node, then use next generation DSL (ADSL2+ or VDSL2) to provide 20-25Mbps worth of bandwidth to the consumer – most of that for video.

Critics charge this wont be enough bandwidth to seriously deploy HDTV, VoIP, broadband, and video on demand (not to mention apps of the next decade); but SBC insists theyll solve choke problems via compression. They recently signed a $400 million deal with Microsoft to provide set-top television software.

This week saw the expected announcement by BellSouth of the third most ambitious upgrade by the bells, a modest $2 billion improvement. Theyll be running fiber to the node, then ADSL2+ to the home; the pipe offering between 15 and 17Mbps, the broadband portion of that being a paltry 4-6Mbps.

Hey, thats great guys, but Time Warner Cable this week quietly started upgrading standard users in NY and California to 5Mbps – for free. Youll see the official announcement later this month.

Wall Street and cable executives find BellSouth and SBCs offerings tepid at best, and Qwest has other things to worry about. But even Verizons plan is a little light when you look elsewhere: Japans NTT Group intends to spend $47 billion on expanding fiber to the home for nearly half the Japanese population. A population that already sees 30+Mbps connections for less than $40.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.