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Fixed ultra-fast broadband networks: technologies, stakeholders and usage

The Gigabit race is now a reality, especially in the United States where private sector players and local authorities are all getting involved in furthering the deployment of new generation infrastructure. Elsewhere in the world, Gigabit access is already in place, notably in Asia, or, in places such as Europe, poised to become a new target product for the marketplace.

This report explores regional approaches to Gigabit-speed access, and describes how the different types of players are positioned. Private and public sector stakeholders may not have adopted the same strategies, but all have a vital role to play in this search for increased network performance.

The report begins by providing some background on so-called Gigabit technologies. Although FTTH is the only one currently able to deliver a 1 Gbps connection, copper and coaxial cable systems could well undergo technological upgrades in the very near future that will allow them to rival optical fibre.

Lastly, the report takes a look at the services and usage side of things, and confirms that ultra-fast broadband is a natural progression from superfast broadband: with no specific application that today requires a 1 Gbps connection, the need for increased bandwidth is being spurred chiefly by a rise in the number of users with a simultaneous connection... although future innovations could change all that.

Table Of Contents

The Gigabit Race - Fixed ultra-fast broadband networks: technologies, stakeholders and usage
1. Executive Summary

2. Methodology and definitions
2.1. General methodology of IDATE reports
2.2. Glossary and definitions

3. Gigabit network technologies
3.1. Wireline solutions capable of delivering 1 Gbps connections
3.1.1. Optical fibre: providing 1 Gbps access is more a marketing choice than a technical one
3.1.2. FTTx/Docsis 3.1: Docsis 3.1 opening up new prospects for cable companies
3.1.3. G.fast: last chance for legacy copper networks?
3.2. Comparison of ultra-fast access technologies

4. Snapshot of 1 Gbps plans
4.1. How access plans are evolving around the globe
4.1.1. Gigabit access in the United States: stepping up the pace
4.1.2. Gigabit access not (yet) an objective in Europe
4.2. Status of 1 Gbps plans around the world
4.2.1. Geographical breakdown of 1 Gbps plans
4.2.2. Public sector players
4.2.3. Private sector players

5. Marketing and pricing policies
5.1. Gigabit-speed access: what for?
5.1.1. Reasons for entering the Gigabit market
5.1.2. Increasing connection speeds vs. new applications and behaviours
5.2. Marketing and pricing strategies

Table 1: Comparison of fixed UFB solutions' key features
Table 2: Legal restrictions imposed on BB/UFB networks in 19 states in the USA
Table 3: The four main types of municipality involved in Gigabit network projects in the United States
Table 4: Examples of Gigabit network projects backed by municipalities in the US
Table 5: Main FTTH PIN in France at the end of 2014
Table 6: Comparison of prices charged for Gigabit plans around the world

Figure 1: FTTH P2P architecture
Figure 2: FTTH PON architecture
Figure 3: FTTx/Docsis 3.1 architecture
Figure 4: FTTdp/G.fast architecture
Figure 5: Connection speeds available for the three main types of fixed UFB network, depending on customer's distance from the concentration point
Figure 6: Superfast and ultrafast broadband technology timeline
Figure 7: Disparate national targets
Figure 8: Map of municipalities in the US with a Gigabit network, at the start of 2015
Figure 9: How telcos and cable companies are positioned with respect to "Gigabit" municipalities
Figure 10: Spending on FTTH networks in France
Figure 11: Singapore's nationwide Gigabit network model
Figure 12: The combined roles of Gigabit access stakeholders in the United States
Figure 13: The Asian approach to UFB/Gigabit access
Figure 14: The European approach to UFB/Gigabit access
Figure 15: How much bandwidth do applications need?
Figure 16: Six areas of national priority for the US Ignite initiative
Figure 17: Illustrations of a selection of innovation solutions (augmented reality, telemedicine, MOOC) that do not yet require a 1 Gbps connection... provided only a single application is being used at once!
Figure 18: Two different pricing strategies for Gigabit plans

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