A topology that drives optical cables deep into neighborhoods, sometimes to groups of 25 or so homes (“fiber to the curb”), and sometimes all the way to homes (“fiber to the home” or “fiber-to-the-premise”).
While FTTx isn’t new, it is definitely in vogue again, driven by the renewed appetite for video by telephone companies. Three big telephone companies made big “fiber to the” announcements in 2004: SBC Communications and BellSouth said they’ll stop at the curb; Verizon said it’ll go all the way to the side of the house.
Verizon’s plan emerged in July of 2004, when the telco earmarked portions of California, Florida and Texas for a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployment. Since then, the telco announced plans to take its FTTP work everywhere it can.
A few months later, SBC expressed plans to become “the number-two video provider” to 18 million homes in its footprint, within three years. By “curb,” SBC means within 3,000 to 5,000 feet of connected homes, with 20-25 Mbps of downstream/forward bandwidth. They figure it’ll cost between $500-$600 per connected home in the early years, until scale kicks in with a price tag in the $300-$450 range. That includes set-tops, in-home wiring, and truck rolls. Total, SBC is estimating to spend $4 bil. for implementation, and another billion on “success-based” capital (money that is spent only when a revenue stream is created).
Verizon’s work is probably the closest to cable’s HFC, because it reserves a full wavelength (color of light) to carry 860 MHz worth of cable services. That means Verizon’s bill of materials for its big project looks a lot like the lists cable operators made during their last big upgrade push.
Cable, of course, also uses a “fiber-to-the” methodology. They just don’t call it that. They call it “HFC,” for hybrid fiber-coax. By comparison, cable’s HFC networks are roughly equivalent to “fiber to 500 Verizon-premises,” or “fiber-to-20-SBC-curbs.”