Sure, fibre is a real technology force. But, why all the recent fuss about fibre? That's because Nov. 4 is Gimme Fibre Day, a virtual event run by the FTTH Council that encourages organizations around the world to tout the benefits of fibre to the home technology. What’s new since last year’s event, you may ask? Well we took our questions straight to a major industry source – this blog features a recent exchange between me and Hartwig Tauber who is the Director General of FTTH Council Europe.
For JDSU’s part … in the spirit of celebrating Gimme Fibre Day, highlights of recent activity include:
* JDSU’s Get Fiber Smart Page is loaded with the latest in JDSU fiber products and solutions, videos and webinars, resource center and reference guides.
* JDSU XG-PON video shows the ins and outs of the JDSU OLP-87 XG-PON test meter.
* The launch of a new optical power meter solution for FTTH deployments PowerChek™ with flexibility for many fibre network applications.
How PowerChek™works: When testing fibre optic networks, there is no instrument more widely utilized than the Optical Power Meter (OPM), an essential tool to troubleshoot and ensure fibre networks are correctly installed and optimized. As requirements for testing and certifying optical networks expand, technicians rely on their OPM to measure optical power and provide an easy way to document results and generate reports to certify quality and performance. The expansion of fibre into additional applications has created an influx of technicians that are new to fibre optic technology—they prefer a tool that adapts to their working environment and skill set. JDSU’s new solution makes fibre optic power measurements easier, faster and safer.
* Interview with Hartwig! Read on for great, global insight on fibre’s fantastic future.
Hartwig Tauber from FTTH Council - Director General, FTTH Council Europe
Let’s start with the past year since the last Gimme Fibre Day celebration - please name a few industry trends that have been peaking this year in the fiber industry. Also, it seemed like Gimme Fibre Day was a major success . . . how did it go in your view?
Hartwig Tauber: Since last year, FTTH has gained speed again in some European countries. The Nordics started a second wave of fibre roll out and we could see a new trend of regional broadband-fibre initiatives in Germany, Austria, UK, France and some other countries. It seems that in particular rural and semi-rural areas are not willing anymore to wait until the incumbent is moving forward on fibre. In Germany there was even a debate on structural separation, investigating models to split Deutsche Telekom into an infrastructure and services part. The first statements of President Junker regarding a focus of the new European Commission on Digital Economy sound promising.
Regarding our first Gimme Fibre Day: this was a great success. There were more than 30 activities and events in 16 European countries – and several more in the areas of our sister organisations around the world. This year we event want to top this and we already have a lineup of interesting Gimme Fibre Day activities!
Now, let’s look ahead - what are the hot areas that are coming up/down the road in Europe that observers should keep an eye on – any new advancements or expected opportunities for fiber technology?
Hartwig Tauber: We expect a strong broadband and fibre push through the new European Commission next year. Many projects that are in planning seem to start off in 2015/16. This should include some interesting news from Poland where we have our FTTH Conference in February 2015. We are realistic; countrywide deployments by incumbents will still not happen – but they are forced to go at least for Fibre to the Building in cities to stay competitive towards the cable operators. The combination of FTTB and G.Fast could lead to a new acceleration of fibre deployments.
You travel the world to take part in forums that address the impact of fiber on the technology industry. What stands out as common themes?
Hartwig Tauber: There is common agreement that ultra-fast broadband that delivers good quality of service is important for economic growth and society. And all players agree that FTTH is the only endgame solution. The interesting situation is that Europe still sticks to its “technology neutrality” approach while most of the other regions pave the way towards full fibre networks. The FTTH Council Europe will therefore continue to urge the decision makers to actually MAKE a decision: “If you want fibre, why don’t you just say it?”.
Another topic that I see around the world: the consumer demand for bandwidth and quality of service is increasing very fast. 4k and Ultra-High-Definition TV are buzz words but when you discuss further, most experts agree that the parallel use of already existing services quickly adds up to bandwidth demands that can only be fulfilled by FTTH.
How about the status of FTTB/H penetration and how you see it moving forward?
Hartwig Tauber: While the growth in Europe is slow but steady, some other regions in the world move forward in a surprising speed. South America and several African countries start deploying FTTH in a broad scale, simply because the growing cities need telecommunication infrastructure and there is no legacy copper network available. European decision makers have the reflex to say that this cannot be compared with the regulatory and market framework in Europe. This might be correct, but still we are in global competition with those regions and it could be a big surprise when “Good Old Europe” realizes one day that we are lagging behind on FTTH and therefore on competitiveness.
What activity does the FTTH Council Europe have planned for this year’s Gimme Fibre Day? Since you have insight into what organizations have planned, does any activity get your attention as super creative or big to commemorate the occasion?
Hartwig Tauber: The Gimme Fibre Day is the day of all FTTH supporters. Like last year we count on our members, on operators, associations and individuals to do a broad spectrum of activities on 4th November. We see ourselves as facilitator to motivate and to coordinate the activities. With our new and completely redesigned Gimme Fibre Day website combined with a Facebook campaign, we try to attract as many people as possible.
A special activity from FTTH Council Europe is #run4fibre – everyone can post her or his jogging-trainings on Facbook and tag it with #run4fibre. The one who runs the largest distance until February 2015 will win either an iPad or a brand new Polar training computer. Therefore: put on your running shoes, activate your running app and run for fibre!
Hartwig, thanks for your time! Congratulations on a fantastic worldwide “virtual” event to drive awareness of and celebrate the immensely important benefits of fiber.