Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Driving demand for NGA services

Some really interesting presentations from the workshop on financing and facilitating broadband projects held during the first Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels on 16-17 June 2011.

The experience of Italian communications provider Fastweb in rolling out 100Mbps services provides particular food for thought in the light of current UK developments. From the report of the workshop:
“The lack of demand for switching to high speed services was identified as one of the most substantial challenges to the deployment of NGA networks by different stakeholders. The level of demand is a crucial factor shaping operators' business case. In particular, Fastweb's experience in FTTH Point-to Point deployment in the co-investment model illustrated the slow take up of the 100 Mbps retail product despite the price being comparable to the traditional offer.”
...which corroborates what I've heard elsewhere; that where next generation services are available in the UK, takeup is as yet very slow. It also underlines the need to communicate the benefits of next generation broadband in terms of the services and applications it makes possible, rather than to simply focus on headline speeds which will only excite a minority of people?


  1. Why not concentrate on the have nots instead of those who already have access? It seems common sense to me. Let the rural people have nga, they will gladly sign up for it. What the telcos aren't offering the urban people in the uk is NGA. They are only offering them cabinets, which in many cases don't deliver much more than they are already getting.
    Another problem with homes past versus homes connected is that people don't trust the telcos any more to deliver what they promise, so if they have what they perceive to be an adequate connection they will stick with it.
    You can communicate the benefits of NGA until you are blue in the face, but people won't sign up until they see it for themselves, and with cabinets they won't see anything spectacular, just slightly faster loading times, and probably a lot more throttling and capping as folk start to use more? plus higher data transfer charges?

  2. The Fastweb presentation highlighted that many customers didn't move to the 100M service because "10M is enough, no need for 100M" (91% of respondents) even when there was no price premium. This was upgrading their existing FTTH customer network which currently passes 1.7m homes that don't connect to it.

    That's right, 1.7m homes with FTTH available don't take the service.

    Their P2P 100M fibre trial also struggled to get takeup despite same terms as 20M ADSL.

    The average download speed recorded from FTTC services is over 30M Chris, what's wrong with that ? Prejudice showing through I think, I would have thought you would be in favour of increasing bandwidth rather than taking a "fibre or bust" stance, especially in the face of evidence that Joe Public isn't that bothered. The politics of envy, perhaps.


  3. 'in terms of the services and applications it makes possible'

    Which are please?

  4. No reply to my question, no surprise...

  5. Some we know or can guess about, others we don't know about yet. Social networking is an example of an application which few foresaw, made possible not only by increased bandwidth but also the "always on" nature of broadband connections. Applications like Google Earth signpost what increased bandwidths will deliver, in terms of making possible ever richer layers of data and interactivity. I think concurrency is a key driver too, as I discussed in this previous post: http://blog.broadbandpolicy.co.uk/2011/06/at-home-with-broadband-importance-of.html ...but your comment on this post too suggests you will remain unconvinced ;-)