The FTTH Council Europe acts as a body independent of telecoms regulators and the various incumbent telco's around Europe and exists with the simple aim to promote the building and use of full fibre to the home and premises networks. The 10th annual conference is coming to the ExCel London on 19-21st February and we have a 20% discount code that can be used for those wanting to attend the conference and associated exhibition.
We met up with Hartwig Tauber, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe to find out some more about the conference and find out why the UK has been picked as the location for the conference.
One of the key points to come out of the interview was that the UK and other European countries need to be wary of falling into a FTTPr trap - which is we need to be careful to avoid Fibre to the Press Release. A common complaint from consumers from the UK and across Europe is that consumers and politicians are mislead by the wealth of press releases promoting fibre products, when in reality they are only slightly more fibre rich than the previous product e.g. cable broadband (FTTN) has mysteriously morphed into fibre broadband when in reality it is still a metal cable to the premises and while FTTC services are rolling out quickly they still do not offer the symmetry and future proof nature that a full fibre to the home roll-out will. To many of our visitors this will not be news, but hopefully the presence of the conference may help to raise awareness in the wider press and public.
"We need to make the decisions now to have everything in place for 2015. I don't think national and local banks or investment vehicles get the picture. One example in Germany had a local investment bank that has took on the roll of aggregator so they brought together five or six fibre broadband projects and then merged them into one big one. This makes the projects big enough for investors and got money from the European Investment bank and other investors."Hartwig Tauber, FTTH Council Europe on beyond 2015
The above snippet from our meeting sums up very neatly the UK position, in that to date attracting investors in FTTH has been difficult, but projects are starting to find the situation changing with FTTH projects now being approached as long term investment and the conference will cover this area in some detail, exploring the various models used across Europe and help to explain to potential investors that FTTH investment is not just about faster internet access for the digitally addicted but about ensuring a village, town, city, region or nation has the infrastructure to compete on the world stage.
From previous fibre and broadband events the focus has often been on the technical or regulatory environment, this conference seeks to expand this exciting clique to include those people and groups such as large pension investment groups who can finance large projects or help the many existing small community projects in the UK expand to grow and provide true world leading 21st century levels of connectivity.