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New Zealand Getting 200/200Mbps Uncapped Fiber Broadband

Snap-Logo-2-300x300New Zealanders want faster broadband and they want it without a usage cap, and Snap is ready to offer both.

Snap’s nationwide 200/200Mbps Ultra-Fast Broadband commenced this week providing the fastest broadband on offer throughout New Zealand, priced at $111.50 a month with an unlimited use add-on available for an extra $8 a month. To date, the service had only been available in Auckland.

Kiwis can sign up for Snap on the Chorus network for the fastest 200/200Mbps speeds. Those served by Enable or UltraFast Fibre will see upload speeds reduced to 20Mbps for now, but will also be compensated with a lower monthly price: $87.71.

A wireless gateway to support the faster speeds will be provided at no extra cost to customers signing up for 200Mbps service.

no limitsSnap’s new service comes as a result of New Zealand’s deployment of fiber networks and an end to usage caps, consumption billing, and/or bandwidth throttling. Snap has been well received in New Zealand because it guarantees no traffic shaping, traffic management schemes, or mandatory usage caps. This comes at a time when North American providers are trying to force customers into usage-capped broadband plans and wireless carriers insist on using traffic shaping and caps.

“There is no faster commercially available service across the whole country today,” said James Koers, general manager, Snap Retail. “We’ve built our own network to ensure customers receive the fastest, most reliable service possible. We don’t cache or proxy or shape traffic in any way, giving customers peace of mind that they’re getting the service they expected and paid for.”

Koers adds there is a clear demand for fiber optic broadband across the country.

“Today, two out of every three of our sign-ups are for a fibre service which shows New Zealanders’ appetite is increasing for UltraFast Broadband as it becomes available,” said Koers. “200Mbps is just the beginning though as we’re now trialling Chorus’ new 1Gbps residential service.”

PC Magazine has rated Snap the fastest broadband provider in the country.

Shell Oil Tries to Buy Some Love With Irish Fiber Broadband Network Along Its Corrib Gas Pipeline

Phillip Dampier October 21, 2014 Public Policy & Gov't, Wireless Broadband No Comments
Protestors oppose the Shell Oil natural gas pipeline in western Ireland.

Protestors oppose the Shell Oil natural gas pipeline in western Ireland.

Shell Oil is trying to turn Irish environmentalists’ frowns upside down by donating a high-capacity fiber broadband and Wi-Fi network to appease local critics unhappy about hosting a natural gas pipeline they say won’t benefit any of the local communities it passes.

Shell will spend just shy of $1 million on the 132-kilometer fiber network and Wi-Fi system that will be laid in ducting placed next to the Corrib gas pipeline. Shell will donate the network to the Department of Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources upon its completion to support regional communications in western Ireland.

Local environmentalists dismissed the project as “propaganda.”

“It’s a pittance in comparison to the damage they have done to the environment,” said Betty Schult of the Kilcommon Lodge in Pullathomas. “It’s beside the point. There hasn’t been any social benefit. We have been given footpaths and street lights, but half the homes are unoccupied because we don’t have the infrastructure to keep them. They gave us flower baskets, but nobody watered them. It’s all propaganda.”

The Corrib gas pipeline has been controversial from the start and relations between Shell and nearby affected communities have been strained to the breaking point. More than 100 complaints about the project’s security staff have been received by the Irish government, with alleged acts of violence and intimidation committed against the protestors coming under serious investigation.

At one point, a “rape tape” emerged which contained a recording of several gardaí (the Irish police) joking about raping and deporting one of two women arrested for public order offenses during a protest against the project.

Protestors object to Shell’s project because it will disrupt the local environment, will likely never pay a penny in tax, and has left local and national politicians falling all over themselves responding favorably to Shell’s requests.

Independent Teachta Dála (Member of Parliament) Clare Daly claims certain gardaí monitoring the project were acting as “hired hands” for Shell Oil and were “arresting people without charge.”

Shell’s new fiber and wireless network will be available to everyone in the region, with the exception of the towns of Rossport and Pullathomas, the home of some of the fiercest protests against the pipeline for almost a decade.

Local protestors noted the oversight and suggested it was hardly an accident.

“It’s like all Shell initiatives; it’s not for our benefit. It’s like the gas, it will leave here and go elsewhere,” said Schult.

Maura Harrington added, “Shell says it will spend €750,000 (tax-deductible), big deal. Shell again clicks its fingers and [Irish Prime Minister] Enda Kenny comes toadying to do the needful.”

Shell to Sea, an opposition group, also dismissed Shell’s announcement “as a fistful of beads and baubles in comparison with the billions of euros worth of gas that was gifted to them in the Corrib Gas field.”

Annoyed Ants Continue to Cause Telecom Outages; They Don’t Appreciate Underground Wiring

Phillip Dampier October 2, 2014 AT&T, Consumer News 2 Comments
Odorous House Ants in splice tray (Image: Rainbow Tech)

Odorous House Ants in splice tray (Image: Rainbow Tech)

Ants going about their daily routine have grown increasingly frustrated with the presence of underground optical cables and other telecommunications equipment including lawn pedestals and terminating boxes and have become a growing problem for telecom companies that can blame local outages on their activities.

In the last month, Frontier, Windstream, AT&T, and Verizon all suffered outages directly attributed to insect activity. In most cases, the damage is unintentional — the insects use enclosed spaces like lawn pedestals and equipment cabinets as a handy home. Material brought into the colony can overheat equipment when it blocks air vents, increased moisture from the insects can corrode or compromise sensitive electronics, and insect attempts to push wiring out of the way can ruin optical cables.

Stop the Cap! reader Geoff Fielder found his entire neighborhood missing U-verse service last month and learned ants had infested the neighborhood’s fiber-copper junction box and corroded some of the equipment contained inside.

“When the technician opened the box, half the neighborhood could hear him screaming,” Fletcher said. “He made it quite plain he didn’t like ants. His partner arrived with a spray can in hand and knocked down most of them and encouraged the others to retreat. The damage was significant and they were surprised it happened so quickly because AT&T technicians tend to visit equipment boxes regularly when they connect new customers.”

It took most of the afternoon to repair the damage and bring the neighborhood back online.

Earlier this summer, Verizon FiOS user Paul McNamara, news editor of Network World, reported ants had destroyed the fiber optic cable bringing him service. Five years earlier, ants caused havoc when they colonized a utility junction box on a pole across the street. In both cases, they brought Verizon’s fiber network to its knees for McNamara.

“When the Verizon technician opened the box it was filled with hundreds of ants (I had actually forgotten about the earlier ant episode, but he clearly expected them to be there),” McNamara wrote in a blog post. “And when he shooed away enough of the critters to get a look inside, the red glow of a stripped fiber optic cable was clearly visible.”

The technician believed the ants were attracted to a liquid jelly used inside the cable’s casing.

Ant Damage to an optical fiber cable (Image: Draka)

Ant damage to an optical fiber cable (Image: Draka)

Draka, an optical fiber supplier dealing with complaints about insect damage, reports the ants it encounters are not seeking out optical cables. They just don’t appreciate when those cables get in their way.

The company ran test ant farms where they intentionally placed optical fiber cables in proximity to the colonizing ants. They were relieved to discover the ants didn’t target their brand of cable specifically — they attacked them all equally.

“Fibers from all four suppliers were found to be damaged by the activities of the ants in the farms,” Draka wrote in its study. “The ants did not preferentially attack Draka fiber in the competitor fiber farms, but rather they did damage to fibers from all vendors.”

Some ant species are less tolerant of cables than others. Among the nastiest are the Red, Western, and California Harvester Ants, found mostly west of the Mississippi. They dig ant galleries as deep as nine feet and have little tolerance for any underground cables they meet.

“It was concluded that the harvester ants often attempt to push aside any optical fiber they encounter if the fiber is in the way of their work,” Draka reported. “It was observed that they sometimes moved the fibers when they were in the way, but they were not seen trying to eat the coating or attacking the fiber.”

They needn’t do either to cause damage. The body parts they use to shove cables aside are capable of creating significant damage, starting with stripping the color off the cable and eventually destroying insulation straight down to the glass fiber itself.

Other ant species are also capable of causing indirect damage by their presence. Ant waste is often corrosive and a long-established colony can do significant damage to equipment cabinets.

The neighborhood bad boy, ready to chew.

The neighborhood bad boy, ready to chew.

Technicians assigned to dealing with insect-related outages encounter more than just ants, however. These insects often set up home inside little-accessed boxes:

  • Black Widow Spiders
  • Brown Recluse Spiders
  • Crickets
  • Fleas
  • Millipedes
  • Roaches
  • Scorpions
  • Silverfish
  • Sowbugs
  • Ticks
  • Waterbugs

Rainbow Technology, a major supplier of insect and rodent control measures to utility companies, says a fast response can make a real difference. Rainbow said the worst offenders are five types of ants that have a bad reputation with utility companies: harvester ants, odorous house ants, Argentine ants, carpenter ants and fire ants. They have been implicated in service outages in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.

Rodents, especially squirrels, also remain constant hazards everywhere – especially to overhead wiring. They need to wear down constantly growing teeth and utility cables are a perennial favorite. They typically stop gnawing after the insulation has been stripped off cable television or telephone wiring. They will stop gnawing for a different reason if they chew on electrical cables.

Irish Communications Minister Promises Fiber Broadband to Every Citizen and Business in the Country

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/Digital Ireland Forum Opening address by Minister Alex White -- Part 1 of 2 9-12-14.mp4

Ireland’s new Communications Minister announced major improvements in rural broadband at the Digital Ireland Forum. This is part one of his remarks. (7:16)

White

White

Ireland’s new Minister for Communications Alex White has made a personal commitment to deliver high-speed fiber broadband “to every citizen and business in the country, irrespective of their location.”

Ireland has a set a national priority to deliver world-class broadband to every corner of the republic, stepping in to subsidize broadband service where private providers have refused to upgrade their networks to offer the service.

Five months ago, the cabinet announced $473 million – $664 million would be available to pay for a rural fiber broadband network for about 1,100 small villages that can barely get DSL service, if any broadband at all.

Minister White rejected the philosophy of incremental upgrades like those taking place in North America, particularly by companies attempting to improve traditional DSL service. He believes Ireland must move to a fiber-based telecommunications future.

Although there are questions about the precise type of fiber network to be installed in rural Ireland, some answers are emerging this week.

Outgoing Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, recently reshuffled out of the Irish cabinet, claimed the National Broadband Plan was committed to fiber to the home/business service, not fiber to the cabinet technology similar to AT&T U-verse and the type of “super fast” broadband being installed in Great Britain.

eircom_logo-744153But some critics contend $664 million is insufficient to wire every building in Ireland for fiber service and suspect the government may try to backtrack and choose fiber to the cabinet or wireless service for the most isolated communities that could prove extremely expensive to reach with fiber.

In 2012, the government initially guaranteed minimum broadband speeds of 30Mbps to every rural home in the country, but failed to meet that commitment and has since dropped promising any specific broadband speeds.

Stating a commitment to deliver “high-speed” service is inexact because it means different things in different parts of Ireland. A “high-speed connection” in rural Ireland might be defined as 10Mbps, but 50Mbps would be more typical in Dublin, Cork, and Limerick.

Earlier this month, national telecom provider Eircom passed the 1 millionth premises with 100Mbps fiber broadband as it completed wiring the County Kerry community of Cahersiveen. The Irish fiber network now reaches half the country, and provides both fiber and Vectored DSL, which can support 100Mbps broadband speeds. Eircom noted its fiber network rollout was well ahead of network upgrades in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Once complete, fiber broadband will be available to every town in Ireland with a population of more than 900 people.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/Digital Ireland Forum Opening address by Minister Alex White -- Part 2 of 2 9-12-14.mp4

Part two of remarks from Ireland’s Communications Minister about fiber broadband across Ireland. (6:26)

Martinique Getting Island-Wide Fiber to the Home Broadband Service

Phillip Dampier September 15, 2014 Broadband Speed, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband No Comments

martiniqueThe Caribbean island of Martinique will receive island-wide fiber to the home broadband service by 2019 and upgrades for many of the island’s ADSL lines while the overseas department (départements et territoires d’outre-mer) of France awaits fiber service.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced the agreement in principle to finance the four-year fiber project under the island’s Public Network Initiative administered by local authorities.

The project’s budget is $155.39 million, with about $34 million paid upfront by Martinique and the rest financed by the island’s four arrondissements and France itself.

By 2019, 80,000 fiber to the home connections will be installed on Martinique, starting with priority institutions including schools, hospitals, government offices and office parks. Until the fiber upgrades are complete Martinique will upgrade existing ADSL and satellite connections to ensure 90 percent of the island has at least 8Mbps broadband service until the fiber network arrives to replace DSL.

Within two years, Martinique’s broadband speeds will exceed the average speeds rural American and Canadian broadband users can receive.

More Proof of Comcast’s Monopoly Tendencies: Spending Big to Kill Community Broadband Competition

When the community of Batavia, Ill., a distant suburb of Chicago, decided they wanted something better than the poor broadband offered by Comcast and what is today AT&T, it decided to hold a public referendum on whether the town should construct and run its own fiber to the home network for the benefit of area residents and businesses. A local community group, Fiber for Our Future, put up $4,325 to promote the initiative back in 2004, if only because the town obviously couldn’t spend tax dollars to advertise or promote the idea itself.

Within weeks of the announced proposal, both Comcast and SBC Communications (which later acquired AT&T) launched an all-out war on the idea of fiber to the home service, mass mailing flyers attacking the proposal to area residents and paying for push polling operations that asked area residents questions like, “should tax money be allowed to provide pornographic movies for residents?” The predictable opposition measured in response to questions like that later appeared in mysterious opinion pieces published in area newspapers submitted by the incumbent companies and their allies.

no comm broadband

Comcast spent $89,740 trying to defeat the measure in a community of just 26,000 people. SBC spent $192,324 — almost $3.50 per resident by Comcast and just shy of $7.50 per resident by SBC. Much the same happened in the neighboring communities of St. Charles and Geneva. 

According to Motherboard, the scare tactics worked, cutting support for the fiber network from over 72 percent to its eventual defeat in two separate referendums, leaving most of Batavia with 3Mbps DSL from SBC or an average of 6Mbps from Comcast.

Much of the blizzard of mailers and brochures Comcast and SBC mailed out were part of a coordinated disinformation campaign. Both companies also knew their claims would go largely unchallenged because Fiber for Our Future and other fiber proponents lacked the funding to respond with fact check pieces of their own mailed to residents to expose the distortions.

When it was all over, it was back to business as usual with Comcast and SBC. The latter defended its reputation after complaints soared about its inadequate broadband speeds.

Kirk Brannock, then midwest networking president for SBC, told city council members in the area that “fiber is an unproven technology.”

“What are you going to do with 20Mbps? It’s like having an Indy race car and you don’t have the racetrack to drive it on. We are going to be offering 3Mbps. Most users won’t use that,” he said.

risky

“All the subscribers got these extraordinary fliers. Ghosts, goblins, witches. I mean, this is about a broadband utility. Very scary stuff. This is real. This is comical, but this is very real,” Catharine Rice of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice said of the fliers at an event discussing municipal fiber earlier this year. “They have this amazing picture, and then they lie about what happened. They’re piling in facts that aren’t true.”

In communities that won approval for construction of publicly-owned fiber networks, the battle wasn’t over. Tennessee’s large state cable lobbying group unsuccessfully sued EPB to keep it out of the fiber business. In North Carolina, Time Warner Cable effectively wrote legislation introduced and passed by the Republican-dominated General Assembly that forbade community broadband expansion and made constructing new networks nearly impossible. In Ohio, another cable industry-sponsored piece of legislation destroyed the business plan of Lebanon’s fiber network, forcing the community to eventually sell the network at a loss to Cincinnati Bell.

The larger Comcast grows, the more financial resources it can bring to bare against any would-be competitors. Even in 2004, the company was large enough to force would-be community competitors to steer clear and stay out of its territory.

women

 

France’s Bouygues Telecom Announces 1Gbps Fiber, TV, Phone Package for $35/Month

Phillip Dampier June 26, 2014 Broadband Speed, Competition, Consumer News 1 Comment

173x116_Logo-BT_WSCustomers of Paris-based Bouygues Telecom in some of France’s largest cities will soon have access to 400Mbps fiber to the home broadband (with an upgrade to 1Gbps later this year), as well as a television and phone package that combined will cost $35.43 a month.

The company’s new fiber offer commences June 30 and comes as a result of fierce competition for the French broadband customer.

Bbox Sensation Fiber is available from both fiber to the home and fiber to the building connections throughout urban areas in France, including Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

Fiber continues to gradually replace older copper-base wire networks in France. But unlike in North America, European telephone companies believe their future isn’t only in selling wireless. Upgrading those networks to fiber to the home service allow companies to sell bundled packages of phone, wireless, television and broadband Internet access.

Bouygues Telecom’s fiber to the home network now reaches 3.3 million French homes with more to come. Its older fiber to the neighborhood network reaches another 5 million customers.

Customers who sign up for the fiber to the home service by the end of August will get two months free

Here are the details:

macgpic-1402559468-29638698693873-sc-opBbox Sensation Fiber (first phase) includes:

Internet

  • 400Mbps service with upgrade to 1Gbps by the end of this year;
  • 50GB cloud storage

Television

  • Up to 170 TV channels, including 29 HD channels
  • DVR with 300GB storage
  • Bbox Video on Demand: Thousands of multilingual titles available in HD and DTS
  • Bbox Games: Over 50 multiplayer video games accessible on the network at any one time
  • Multi-Screen: Watch on portable devices

Telephone

  • Unlimited calls to mobiles in France and the French commonwealth, U.S.A., Canada, China, Singapore and South Korea;
  • Unlimited calls to fixed landlines in 120 countries.

Availability

This fiber offer available in Paris, Lyon, Villeurbanne, Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Bordeaux, Issy les Moulineaux, Boulogne Billancourt, Courbevoie, Aubervilliers, Charenton le Pont, Saint Maurice, Alfortville, Maisons Alfort, Neuilly sur Seine, Puteaux, Chatillon Montrouge Vanves Malakoff, Levallois-Perret, Cergy Saint-Cloud, Garches, Palaiseau, Antony, Clamart, Rueil Malmaison, and Sèvres.

AT&T’s Magic Fiber Fairy is Back: Fiber for All (If You Approve Our DirecTV Buyout and Ignore Our Math)

Notice the word "may"

AT&T’s Magic Fiber Fairy brings fiber to you, if you approve AT&T’s business agenda.

If it wins approval from regulators to buy satellite TV provider DirecTV, AT&T says it will have enough money to afford to expand its gigabit fiber network Gigapower U-verse to an extra two million homes.

That bit of non-sequitur was the highlight of AT&T’s regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T claims money for the fiber expansion will come from anticipated savings from programming volume discounts AT&T will get combining DirecTV’s 20.3 million customers with AT&T’s 5.7 million U-verse TV subscribers.

AT&T expects cost synergies to exceed $1.6 billion annual run-rate by three years after closing.  These savings will begin in the first year after closing, ramp up over four years and grow with the addition of video subscribers thereafter.  It is anticipated that at least 40% of these total synergies will be realized by year two after closing.  These synergies are conservative and derived from items such as programming cost reductions, operational efficiencies and reductions in redundant broadcast infrastructure.  Programming cost reductions are the most significant part of the expected cost synergies.  At this time, AT&T’s U-verse content costs represent approximately 60% of its subscriber video revenues.  With the scale this transaction provides, we estimate AT&T’s U-verse content costs after the completion of the transaction will be reduced by approximately 20% or more as compared with our forecasted standalone content costs.

AT&T believes that despite perennially increasing programming costs, especially for popular over-the-air and cable networks, the 20 percent of anticipated savings will give AT&T enough money to vastly expand its fiber network.

“The economics of this transaction will allow the combined company to upgrade two million additional locations to high-speed broadband with Gigapower FTTP (fiber to the premise) and expand our high-speed broadband footprint to an additional 13 million locations where AT&T will be able to offer a pay TV and high-speed broadband bundle,” AT&T wrote.

On AT&T's budget, the company can send you this really nice star ceiling kit, but it won't pay for gigabit broadband.

On AT&T’s budget, the company can send you this really nice star ceiling kit, but it won’t pay for gigabit broadband.

Before announcing its intent to buy DirecTV, AT&T already promised to expand Gigapower U-verse to up to 100 cities, while telling investors it anticipated flat spending on network improvements. On Tuesday, AT&T went further and dramatically cut investments in its wireline network to a level that raised concerns for the financial security of several of its vendors, including those supplying fiber optic cable and equipment.

AT&T predicted savings from the merger will amount to $1.6 billion a year, but not until three years after the merger closes. There are questions whether this amount is enough to fund the kind of fiber expansion AT&T promises.

In 2012, AT&T committed to expanding U-verse to 8.5 million more customer locations at a cost of $6 billion. That investment paid for AT&T’s less-costly fiber to the neighborhood service. Based on AT&T’s figures, the cost to deploy fiber into each neighborhood, while still utilizing existing copper wiring to bring service into each home, was $705 per home or business.

AT&T Gigapower U-verse requires AT&T to spend considerably more to extend fiber service directly to each premises it intends to serve. Google is spending approximately $4,000 to reach each home with fiber optics in Kansas City. But AT&T’s math suggests it only has to spend about $800 per home (based on the $1.6 billion savings figure it expects to begin receiving in 2017) for decommissioning the remaining copper and extending U-verse fiber for each of two million customer homes passed. What does AT&T know that Google does not?

But wait. AT&T is also committing to use that $1.6 billion to expand traditional fiber to the neighborhood U-verse to 13 million additional homes as well. That means AT&T has a budget that limits it to $106 per home for a combined 15 million new locations passed. That amount is enough for a fiber optic star ceiling kit or a really nice fiber strand light fixture, but it isn’t nearly enough to bring gigabit broadband to AT&T customers.

One thing is certain: AT&T will not be passing on any cost savings to customers in the form of lower bills. AT&T’s proposed investment is a blatant appeal to regulators with promises of broadband expansion the company has already made and shows few signs of actually delivering.

And the Winner Is… United Arab Emirates Now the World Leader in Fiber to the Home Broadband

fiberThe United Arab Emirates leads the world with the highest penetration of fiber-to-the-home broadband service.

At least 85 percent of all homes in the UAE today rely on fiber broadband, according to research by the Fiber to the Home Council.

The UAE’s love for fiber broadband comes from the country’s aggressive government-directed infrastructure and services modernization plan as part of the Emirates’ transformation into the 21st century knowledge economy.

In the UAE, e-commerce, e-government, e-education, and e-health are pervasive, allowing residents instant access to government, commercial, health and educational services. Only fiber broadband had the capacity to handle both the broadband traffic today and sustain the rapid expansion of bandwidth required tomorrow.

The country relies on fiber networks to power smart electricity service, cell towers, wireless data, and various electronic payment systems, which allow consumers to use a single smart card to pass through immigration at airports with biometric authentication, as well as pay for everything from food to traffic fines, utility bills, or even zakat (charitable giving by Muslims).

The two national broadband providers — du and Etisalat, both invested heavily in fiber infrastructure with a goal of connecting every home and business to their competing fiber networks.

uaeSubscription rates in the next-biggest markets — South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan — range from 63 percent to 37 percent, the council notes. In comparison, the United States trails dismally with just 7.62% of Americans signed up for fiber to the home service and Canada’s fiber numbers still too negligible to rate, with only Atlantic Canada seeing widespread fiber deployments.

This leaves North America rapidly falling behind in the race to build next generation fiber broadband networks.

Speaking at the ITU’s recent World Telecommunication Development Conference, the council’s chairman, Dr. Suleiman Al Hedaithy noted that “fiber connections are available to more than 200 million homes globally — a tenth of all the households in the world,” adding that of these homes, “an estimated 107 million households subscribe to fiber-based services.”

Across the Middle East and North Africa, “more than 1.5 million households are using FTTH service,” Al Hedaithy added, with the UAE “ranked number one in FTTH penetration rate globally, for the past two consecutive years.”

In comparison, only 8.7 million Americans subscribe to fiber service.

Etisalat has invested $5.17 billion in fiber upgrades inside the UAE.

Living the eLife with fiber to the home service in the UAE.

Living the eLife with fiber to the home service in the UAE.

Last year, the total length of the UAE’s fiber network was equal to “five times the distance between the Earth and the moon, consisting of a total of 2.8 million kilometers of cable being deployed all over the country,” Etisalat CEO Saleh Al Abdooli said.

Elsewhere across the region:

  • Saudi Arabia’s ambitious fiber to the home projects reached 38% of households by the end of 2013;
  • Qatar will approach 100% fiber coverage by the end of 2015;
  • The next growth areas in regional fiber network construction will be in Egypt, Algeria, and Kuwait;
  • The fastest speed fiber networks offering 100+Mbps are in Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE;
  • There is no relevant development of fiber networks in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Yemen or the Palestinian territories.

“The future,” according to Christine Beylouni, director general at the FTTH Council Middle East & North Africa, “is definitely fiber to the home.”

Verizon: If Your Town Doesn’t Already Have a FiOS Commitment, Forget About Fiber

Verizon's FiOS expansion is still dead.

Verizon’s FiOS expansion is still as dead as Francisco Franco.

Verizon is prepared to watch up to 30% of their copper landline customers drift away because the company is adamant about no further expansion of its FiOS fiber to the home network.

Fran Shammo, chief financial officer at Verizon, told attendees of the Jefferies Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference that Verizon will complete the buildout of its fiber network to a total of about 19 million homes, and that is it.

“Look, we will continue to fulfill our FiOS license franchise agreements,” Frammo said. “[We will] cover about 70% of our legacy footprint. So 30%, we are not going to cover. That is where we are still going to have copper.”

That is bad news for Verizon customers stuck with the company’s copper network because Verizon isn’t planning any further significant investments in it.

“We will continue to harvest that copper network and those customers and keep them as long as we can,” Frammo said. “But we will not be building FiOS out for those areas.”

In fact, Frammo admitted ongoing cost-cutting at Verizon’s landline division is allowing the company to shift more money and resources to its more profitable wireless network.

verizon goodbye

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam doesn’t want to spend money on non-FiOS areas when more can be made from its wireless network.

“It is also taking cost structure out,” Frammo said.  “As I mentioned, the migration of copper to fiber has been very big for us. Our Lean Six Sigma projects have really significantly helped us in our capital investment in the wireline which is why I can put more money into the wireless side of the business.”

Verizon has shifted an increasing proportion of its capital investments towards its wireless division year after year, while cutting ongoing investment in wireline. Ratepayers are not benefiting from this arrangement, and critics contend Verizon landline customers are effectively subsidizing Verizon’s wireless networks.

Verizon will still complete the FiOS buildouts it committed to earlier, particularly in New York City, but it is increasingly unlikely Verizon will ever start another wave of fiber upgrades.

In fact, Michael McCormack, the Jefferies’ Wall Street analyst questioning Shammo at the conference foreshadowed what is more likely to happen to Verizon’s legacy copper customers.

“We have talked extensively in the past about the non-FiOS areas and I guess in my second reincarnation as a banker, I will try to help you get rid of those assets,” said McCormack.

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