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Fibre deployments helping with IPTV plans
Wednesday 15 February 2012 17:38:07 by Andrew Ferguson

IPTV has been around in the UK for over a dozen years, and delivering TV signals and interactivity was a key part to the original trials of ADSL in Colchester back in 1994. HomeChoice was the real only provider for some years, then BT Vision arrived, and after various acquisitions that saw HomeChoice become Tiscali TV and then part of TalkTalk it has gone quiet for now.

"The future of Europe, at least for the next 5 years, is going to be dominated by FTTx. The cost of full fiber (FTTH) deployment, particularly the last mile, is prohibitive and so the industry and consumers need a stepping stone which is provided by hybrid solutions such as FTTx. FTTx provides a significant increase in bandwidth and an efficient use of existing infrastructure and allows the welcome continued amortization of costs."

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic in Munich at FTTH Conference

FTTx which is the combination of FTTC and FTTB (i.e. fibre very close to an individuals residence and then ethernet or a VDSL delivery to the actual property/flat, saw a growth of 68% across Europe in the 12 months up until Q3 2011. Oliver Johnsons's comments are from a release by broadband forum on how IPTV is driving FTTx growth in Europe. Full fibre (FTTH) grew by around 31%, cable modem services managing 8% and DSL 7%. The size of the current generation DSL installed base, belies the small 7% increase, since DSL added some 9,215,763 connections, FTTx, 3,998,194 and FTTH 741,563 across Europe in the 12 month period.

The availability of Virgin Media cable TV, and dominance of Sky has generally meant that IPTV has had a limited appeal in the UK, BT Vision has around 680,000 customers. If the rumoured BT Vision 2 can make use of higher bandwidth FTTC and FTTH products from Openreach, or a competitor, then the scope to add more HD channels to Freeview packages using IPTV delivery may increase sales.

While pure IPTV has not had the same pull as in parts of Europe, the UK has embraced the catch-up TV services, and on-demand services like LoveFilm, Netflix and Sky AnyTime+ could well push demand for bandwidth in the home beyond what ADSL2+ can offer.


Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
THe problem is that the UK FTTC rollout does not realy have the bandwidth needed for TV so take up will be limited

The UK is being left behind yet again due to the failure to rollout FTTH in the urban areas

Short term savings will cause long term costs and will hold the UK back as the FTTC bandwidth will very quickly be found to be inadequate it could also stifle inovation of new services and products
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@bob_s2 do the fact I can watch 5Meg feeds on a 7Meg ADSL2+ connection means if I switch to FTTC this will not be possible?

FTTx is popular across Europe, hence the Point Topic comments
Posted by m0aur over 5 years ago
6Meg is plenty to watch HD TV or two or three SD streams plus whatever else you may want to do. My 15Meg connection with 13 down on 1.5Km of copper is more than anyone needs as far as I am concerned. What is the point of fibre that is faster than needed or data that can be delivered, other than being able to say 'Mine is this fast'
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
Bob is right. FTTC is a stop gap. Andrew you may be able to watch some tv feeds, but in most homes there will be several users each wanting to do different things at different times, and an ordinary connection won't cope with quality feeds from different places, especially at peak times when everyone needs it. The only solution is fibre to the home, or stick to ordinary tv.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
A lot of people can't get a connection good enough to stream video, and because they have the 2 meg usc (albeit throttled and capped cos they have a cheap ISP) they won't be upgraded in the future. Only those near cabs and exchanges will go faster. Lots of people live further than a couple of km from an exchange. or cab. They are basically stuffed for another decade.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Worth noting that I did not say that FTTC was the end game, and the article does not. It lays out the case that across Europe FTTx is going to be the dominant form for 5 years or so.

Posted by MysticEddy over 5 years ago
With Openreach announcing the new FTTP on demand product, the option will be there for people to get TV over fibre if they so wish when it becomes available (OR have a product for it, but requires Ofcom approval in each area). But saying that, I can see FTTC being more than ample for a multicast TV product until Ultra HD comes along or whatever. By then Openreach will be pushing all the FTTC areas onto FTTP anyway :p.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
In your eyes cyberdoyble then ISDN/ADSL/ADSL2+ were all stop gap solutions?

I know you are obsessed with fibre and fibre is the future but FTTC should cater for the majority of people for many years like ADSL has done and as Eddy says FTTP on demand will be available to all FTTC users next year so the progression path is there for those that need it, but I'm sure you will find many people do not jump to full FTTP for over 8yrs at least if they can get 50-80Mbps using FTTC

Also Peak times can hit ADSL/FTTC and FTTP just because its magic fibre it doesn't stop peak congestion
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Its absolutely the right move by BT because demand for 110-300Mbps on a wide scale just isn't there no matter how much you go on about it.

FTTC will cater for the majority for years and as things develop they'll be able to progress to FTTP, not worried in the slightest.

Also.. IPTV is certainly a nice extra but I don't see it replacing traditional TV for many years
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
Broadcast quality HD is possible in 10Mb/s - that's what the BBC use for their channels albeit statistically multiplexed. Given the bandwidth costs IPTV providers will use the best encoders so I'd imagine that 7Mb/s or even lower is all you need for 'IPHD'.

So a typical 30Mb/s FTTC connection ought to be enough for an average sized family and still have plenty spare for other activities.
Posted by AspieMum over 5 years ago
On my broadband even streaming a program through iPlayer or 2 devices or 2 programs on the same computer at the same time is beyond the abilities of ADSL2+
Posted by AspieMum over 5 years ago
GMAN99, unless something seriously significant is done about broadband speeds across the whole country (and I don't mean getting everyone to 2MBs) IPTV can never replace ordinary TV unless some people stop watching TV because of where they live.
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