Saturday, July 02, 2011

1575 Dramatic slowdown in Dutch FTTH - my comment

Yesterday, I reproduced the press release by Telecompaper on the dramatic slowdown in Dutch FTTH. At first sight the figures are dramatic. Despite the roll-outs in 205 municiplaities of the almost 418 municipalities nationwide, the figures are down.  Causes:
- Adverse weather conditions (a lengthy frost period) hit the overall market.
- Reggefiber's roll-out in Amsterdam also saw a dramatic slowdown; connecting homes in metropolitan areas has proven challenging.
- Competitive factors have held back FTTH as well, such as the nationwide availability of Docsis 3.0 (offering speeds up to 120 Mbps) by cable operators such as UPC and Ziggo.
- The absence of well-known brand names on FTTH (such as Tele2 and Online), and KPN's focus on shareholder remuneration forcing Reggefiber (in which KPN is a shareholder) to raise outside debt.

From my home situation I experience the dramatic slowdown in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. Last year I started a sibling blog on fibre to my home in Almere. Initially there was excitement with the activity of rolling out the cables. That was March 2010. By May this year, so more than a year later, the fiber was connected and two months later operational. Can you imagine: you put fibre in the ground and let it rest overthere for more than 16 months doing NOTHING. Of course the story is more complicated.

The fibre was resting in the ground for at least 13 months. During those months nothing happened and as far as I know fibre does not have to settle in the ground. If a bank would not pay rent for 13 months you would have brought your money already somewhere else. It is inconceivable why it took so long. The financing question of Reggefiber and KPN might have been at the root of this postponement.

Secondly, the fibre I am talking about has to enter an appartment building. In an appartment building with working people it is hard to coordinate to get the fibre connected. And as the organising company is only available in working hours, there is a problem. So that explains another month or two.

A third problem is the communication. As house owner you do not get a notice telling you that you are connected now and can have a look at the offerings. In the meantime you see only KPN canvassing the neigfhbourhood and some flyers of Tweak.

So you go to the page of Glashart, an coordinating organisation for the ISP's, type in you ZIP code at the site of Glashart and it says: Congratulations your address has a glass fibre connection; you can now enjoy all the advantages of the new connections and you have a selection out of eight ISP's. In your enthusiasm you start comparing all the offers and want to start ordering. But then something strange happens. So Glashart has told you that you have a glass fibre connection and that you can enjoy the advantages. But closer reading shows that your neighbourhood can not make use of all the offerings!

Time to make a phone call to the ISP you have selected after comparison of the offerings.As my house rule is to avoid any KPN subscriptions, I look for another ISP. BTW The KPN is lousiest offer of the eight ISP's. I get on the phone with one of the candidate ISP's, in my case Solcon. I tell my story: Glashart tells me I can get a glass fibre connection, but when I fill out my ZIP code on the Solcon site, I do not have a connection. The Solcon rep starts to explain.The glass fibre has been laid by Reggefiber. KPN has a majority share in this company. So KPN and its ISP's (Lijbrandt, Tweak) are allowed to canvas the eighbourhood  EXCLUSIVELY for half a year in order to recover its investment in Reggefiber!

Besides all the problems mentioned (frost and finacing problems) the slow uptake of glass fibre can be blamed on: no level playing field fo all the ISPs and the lousy offer of KPN. For th time being I will stay with UPC which has also a  glass fibre infrastructure with speeds up to 120Mb, but not to the home. So I have still to share the cable with my neighbours. When the close-up period for the ISP's in our neighbourhood is over, I will make another phone call. The earlier the level playing field is instituted the faster the subscriptions will come.

BPN 1575 

No comments: