Plans by Fujitsu to deploy high-speed fixed broadband infrastructure in the UK could revolutionize access in rural areas, a leading independent broadband expert claims.
Sebastien Lahtinen, co-founder of thinkbroadband.com says Fujitsu’s commitment to deploy FTTH to five million homes in the country will provide a viable alternative to incumbent BT’s fiber network, and could result in rural areas leapfrogging urban sites in terms of deployments.
“It is exactly what campaigners for the ‘final third’ have been seeking,” Lahtinen told Telecoms Europe.net.
Fujitsu’s plan, revealed yesterday, leverages a decision by regulator Ofcom to force BT’s Openreach infrastructure business to open its ducts and poles to rival operators on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. ISPs Virgin Media and TalkTalk have already committed to access wholesale services on the Fujitsu network, which will be built on Cisco infrastructure.
The Japanese vendor believes it’s plan to bypass street cabinets and run fiber optic cable straight to the home will make the network particularly well suited for rural areas that might otherwise be overlooked due to commercial concerns. The approach means the network will have 1Gbps symmetric capabilities from the off, and offer the potential to hit 10Gbps.
Lahtinen notes the viability of Fujitsu’s network is the only potential downside to the plan, because other companies have already appealed to BT Openreach for a reduction in price to access its ducts and poles. “If these can be overcome, the UK could be about to take the biggest leap forward in next-generation broadband access,” he said.
Virgin Media was among the companies that called for the price reduction, arguing that Openreach’s price strategy would make it cheaper to simply construct its own ducts. Chief executive Neil Berkett said Fujitsu’s plan was “ground breaking,” and offers an opportunity “to change the game in terms of broadband provision in parts of the UK that are otherwise being left behind.”
Fujitsu is seeking a slice of a pot of £530 million (€596 million) allocated by the UK government to boost next-generation network rollout in rural areas to help fund the network.