November 12, 2011

Most optical fibre connections are not being used

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:25 pm

Webwereld reported last Wednesday that 72 % of all optical fibre connections in the Netherlands are currently not being used.

In September 844,000 households in the Netherlands were connected to fibre by Reggefiber, 38 % up from last year. Only 240,000 households were actually customers using the network.

Telecom analyst David Yoshikawa told Webwereld that Reggefiber probably needed to step it up a notch if it wanted to remain able to pay its bills. He also offered a number of explanations for the low ‘activation’ rate:

  • Cable internet companies put in a lot of work to woo customers.
  • Reggefiber lowered its self-imposed limitation on the number of interested households that are required for a neighbourhood to be hooked up to the network from 40 % to 30 %.
  • On a number of locations, especially in big cities, Reggefiber started digging without measuring interest first.

A comparison: I can get 60 megabit downstream internet over fibre at XS4all for 65 euro per month, including telephony and television. UPC offers the same speed over cable for just 52 euro. For fibre to be worthwhile, it needs to offer both higher speeds and applications that people could use that higher speed for. Already having the fastest internet connections of Europe is not going help acceptance of a marginally faster connection type.

As an aside: at least digging up the roads is well regulated here. Anybody who wants to lay cables and pipes can, but they need to coordinate with other stakeholders using a government run web app called KLIC, so that roads remain as unmolested as possible.

From the KLIC website:

Excavators must notify Kadaster-KLIC before starting excavation work. Instructions for submitting a notification are presented below in the section ‘Submitting a Notification of Excavation Work’.

Your notification will be passed on to the network operators who have underground cables or pipelines in the area where you intend to excavate. These operators will send the relevant information about their cables or pipelines to Kadaster electronically, which then compiles the information and emails you a link to download the relevant information for your excavation site.

You must consult this information when undertaking excavation work to avoid damaging cables and pipelines. The maps must be available at the excavation site.

See also: Gigabit internet connection to the houseboat.

(Photo by Mephisto, some rights reserved, based on a photo by Daniel Mayara)

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