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Rushing to fibre can bring headaches
Monday 01 October 2007 18:54:26 by Andrew Ferguson

While fibre is the holy grail for many, there is a degree of whiplash from some consumers in the United States where Verizon is rolling out its fibre to the home service - FiOS. To read what people are worried about visit the Florida Consumer Viewpoint blog.

The things that we need to be aware of in the rush to having a fibre based infrastructure for the last mile of connectivity to the home are things such as:

  • Lack of access to cheap/free ADSL bundles. In the US a Verizon DSL plan can cost as little as $15 a month, whereas FiOS starts at $30 a month.
  • Not all services such as burglar alarm/security monitoring services may be available initially
  • Length of time the battery back up works during a power cut
  • Requirement for power to run the fibre terminating hardware

None of these problems are insurmountable, but in the US it seems Verizon is not giving those who sign-up to FIOS the option of retaining their existing copper based telephone line, and due to the fact that Verizon is not required to offer equal access to other providers, people are locked into using Verizon.

In the UK if the BT group rolls out a fibre based service they are likely to be required to ensure access is available via a range of communications providers. If a competitor to BT were to roll-out a fibre based infrastructure then it is likely no such requirement would be placed upon them and with the rise of gated communities, we may see lock ins to certain communications providers.

Comments

Posted by csimon over 9 years ago
"we may see lock ins to certain communications providers"

To the customers in relevant areas, what's the effective difference between a vendor lock-in and having a choice of just one provider, as is the current situation in many areas of the UK?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
I have to agree with that csimon also when you consider some of the current phone and internet deals have a 16 month contract or longer it makes no difference.
Posted by adriandaz over 9 years ago
amen csimon <ahem> Kingston...
Posted by csimon over 9 years ago
FTTH for $30. Bring it on I say! Even if there is only one provider. The power concerns could be solved by FTTC instead, also cheaper. Some more observations:

Verizon are rolling out FTTH to 18m customers, costing $23bn, saving $1bn+/yr.

FTTH for all of UK would cost £10bn-£15bn and save BT £1bn/yr.

BT are rolling out 21CN, costing £10bn, saving £1bn/yr.

These figures are all in the same ballpark, why has FTTx not happened then? Is it Ofcom that BT are frightened of in forcing them to give open access? Perhaps the Verizon model *would* be the best thing.
Posted by csimon over 9 years ago
[EDIT to above]

FTTH for all of UK would cost £10bn-£15bn and save BT up to £1bn/yr if we use the same guidelines.
Posted by doowles over 9 years ago
Because BT are doing very nicely thank you very much, why would they rock the boat? They are a business not a government. They don't care what speeds end users get. End of.

I'm not saying its right, but this needs government intervention as it cannot just be based on a business decision, especially with a dominant provider such as BT who already has a massive market share of the broadband market.
Posted by Somerset over 9 years ago
See the website

http://www22.verizon.com/content/consumerfios/packages+and+prices/packages+and+prices.htm

Up to 5 Mbps for $39.99/month or Up to 30 Mbps for $179.95.

Yes please! Maybe not.
Posted by ElBobbo over 9 years ago
Are you mad? Look at the prices and take into account the conversion to £.
UP/DOWN in mbps
5/2 -- £19.70
15/2 -- £24.63
30/2 -- £88.69

These prices are amazing, considering what we pay here for ADSL. 15/2 for £25? You would find it impossible to get unmetered MaxADSL for less than £70 - and that's 8mbps, not 30.

I would love to get fibre, even if they reduced the speed over ADSL, just to avoid the issues inherent with copper cabling.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
I would look closer if you think the Verizon packages are unmetered, what is to say that traffic management is not being used to keep usage patterns reasonable.

US broadband companies have a habit of being a lot more silent on these issues, and adverts are often not clear as to what the long term price is.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Just to backup what andrew has said fibre, cable etc HIGH speed services from many providers in the states and subject to traffic management/shaping. Verizon are not the only one. However the differnce is when it comes to the traffic shaping for the most part its more resonably done than it is here, torrenting as an example even though with many is traffic managed its never to stupid speeds half that of dial up like 25k which is what some ISPs do in this country.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Prices in the USA also bear no relevance to what a servie may cost here, even though the costs involved may be the same, if you just look at what goods and services in the USA costs and convert that figure straight to pounds rarely is that the actual cost for the same product here in the UK. More often than the $ sign just gets substitued for a £ sign so something $200 becomes £200 in real life rather than around the £100 it should.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
funny article, how many people use their broadband during a power cut :) might be a bit diffilcult unless they have a batter powered modem and their exchange isnt affected. The remaining issue stated about alarms I expect is far from a showstopper. Pricing, well the market needs an upturn in pricing budget isnt everything and if it brings equality of service equality to all who take it up then thats better then what we have now.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
doowles I expect you are right, BT will make decisions that benefit their shareholders and for no other reason. So unless fibre suddenly becomes a cash cow someone like the government needs to step in and make the decision based on social needs. This government however (at least under blair) is obsessed with competition solving all our problems so isnt boding well.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
Somerset stable 5mbit for 40usd yes please I would take that and I bet a good few others would as well.

Am I wrong when I guess you have a cheapo low attenuation 8mbit line so dont want the boat rocked?
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
andrew you dont think there is demand for people willing to pay more for same speed/caps just to get of unstable slow (below up to speeds on long lines) copper services to stable fibre services?
Posted by PeteK over 9 years ago
@chrysalis.

I'm sure there is. They can have fibre today if they want to pay to 10/20/30/40/50k build out charge to dig miles to lay it. Lets be fair, these (and I am included here) are the folks who prefer to look at fields rather than flats when they open their curtains, and in my case don't have mains gas either. That is my choice. In this society if Be* (or whoever) is neccessary for existance, then perhapd these folks should consider their options when they choose to move, just like schools etc.
Posted by PeteK over 9 years ago
Just noticed on an estate agents website a BT speedometer (based on postcode) to give you an indication of the expected BB speed (guestimate) just like the schools/public transport facilities etc.
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