What can we do to reduce the cost of FTTx deployment?

Raf Meersman

FiberPlanIT specialises in FTTx network planning and design. CEO Raf Meersman caught up with us ahead of next week’s Broadband World Forum and shared his thoughts on the future of FTTx.

What new products will you be showcasing at BBWF?

We will present the latest version of FiberPlanIT, our planning and design optimization and automation tool. Using FiberPlanIT our customers can reduce the risk and cut the costs of their FTTx projects.

Reducing risks and costs is an ongoing topic. What was the biggest driver of growth for your business?

There is a huge drive for FTTH deployment. Either operators are evaluating the options to upgrade their network or doing actual FTTx deployments. More and more we see that they cannot keep up with their own roll-out targets. They need to rely on engineering firms or turnkey solution providers to take ownership of the project and use automated planning tools so they can manage the network design with their own people.

A lot of operators are also investigating alternative ways to increase the connection speeds for their customers. They can turn to our solutions to evaluate the cost of different FTTx technologies. With traditional methods (e.g. manual network drawing or spreadsheet calculations) it is not possible to reach the same level of quality in a short time, that is where we come in.

Based on this do you see any new trends and demands over the next five years?

I think next to FTTH that small cells will get a lot of attention. People want to stay connected at all times and rely on wireless technology. These cells need fibre backhaul to fulfil bandwidth requirements and hybrid deployments connecting homes, businesses, antennas and small cells in one uniform network will become the standard.

Technologies that maximize the reuse of existing infrastructure will also continue to evolve as FTTH networks are very expensive. Equipment manufacturers will research new methods to get higher bandwidth over copper.

Small cells? That’s interesting as it’s not something that’s come up much. What else do you think will get the most attention this year?

The latest developments in 5G will get a lot of attention. It is seen as the best way to get fast internet access to the rural areas. People and businesses in these areas are asking for faster connection speeds. But it is not feasible to reach all of these rural homes with fibre as this is too expensive.

When it comes to fixed access networks people will be most interested to learn about faster and cheaper deployment methods like e.g. micro-trenching. Deploying fibre with traditional methods is time consuming and slows down the complete project. Every method to speed up the deployment process will get a lot of attention.

Why are you exhibiting at Broadband World Forum?

FTTx projects require large and risky investments. With our solution they can lower the risk of these investments, keep up with aggressive deployment targets and deliver high quality networks. With FiberPlanIT they can even reduce the costs of these deployments to make it a success. Last year we got a lot of attention with our solution. This year we want to convince even more companies that they need to adapt planning automation if they want to keep up with market.

FiberPlanIT will be exhibiting at next week’s Broadband World Forum, 18-20th October, at London’s ExCel Convention Centre. Limited free passes are still available. To attend for free click here.


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