I’m at my second day of the FTTH council conference here in Luxembourg and looking forward to some of the sessions this afternoon. I’m especially interested in hearing the debate around against DOCSIS standards (if it makes sense or whether it’s better to take the final step to FTTH). I think I can safely predict the way this discussion will play out but will be interesting to hear the FTTH council’s argument.
Yesterday we heard from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, both also joining us at Broadband World Forum in October, on how FTTH projects can secure investment to push forwards. The key messages from the session were that there IS money available for these projects, as long as there is a good business plan behind them. But what does a good business plan look like?
Harald Gruber, Head of Digital Economy and Innovation at the European Investment Bank summarised it nicely – they need to be “economically viable, technically feasible and financially self-sustainable.” He also emphasised that investors need to see the ROI and arguably more importantly they need to understand the “why?” behind the plans. Questions like “what is it for?” “How will it be used?” “How will it make money” need to be answered. Gigaclear and enet were used as shining examples of successfully funded projects.
He was joined by Anna Krzyzanowska, Head of Broadband Unit at the European Commission, and together they highlighted some of the investment hurdles for FTTH projects. These included key issues like: high fragmentation of the broadband infrastructure, long payback periods, lack of focused equity investors and a lack of ROI visibility. She ended with clarifying that it is vital that the EC remain technology neutral but invited the audience to all consider applying for funding with “good” FTTH projects.
Portfolio Manager, Broadband World Series