Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Deutsche Telekom in fibre frenzy

I regularly receive announcements of Paul Budde of BuddeComm, an Australian telecom consultancy. Paul Budde is from Dutch origin, but emigrated in the eighties to Australia. In the Netherlands he was involved in the launching of videotext services on Viditel. In his reports he is rather straight forwards and so he is again this morning. This time it is on fibre.

Northern Europe has several avenues for fibre roll-outs. In The Netherlands, municipal councils such as those of Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been investing heavily in fibre networks to supply 10Mb/s broadband to their denizens. Much of the stimulus originally came from the need for fast broadband which was not being met by the major players, and now those municipal networks are coming under fire from cable operators for unbalancing the market.

Germany’s approach promises to be different. Deutsche Telekom has just announced the largest commitment to fibre access in Europe. The company’s ambitious plans involve an investment of up to €3 billion on FttC networks which promise to deliver up to 50Mb/s to homes in 50 cities by the end of 2007. By reaching 50 cities, the company will effectively access the vast majority of the country’s 82 million citizens. The lion’s portion of the investment will go to upgrading fibre access and VDSL equipment, and fibre deployment.

Trials involving DSL and fibre links have been going on since May this year, and participants in Stuttgart und Hamburg have been enjoying speeds of up to 25Mb/s.

Once on-line, the project will propel Germany to the top flight of broadband countries, both in Europe and globally. The first cities will be connected by mid-2006, bringing fast fibre to almost three million households. The speed of the network is what Deutsche Telekom needs to provide the full triple play package of video telephone, TV, PC and other multimedia services. The company’s merger with T-Online is part of the Group’s effort to create the foundation for this step.

No comments: