Broadband Key Messages - World Broadband Association: Broadband Industry | Global Telecom
Basic connectivity is not enough. Unlike other utilities such as electricity, broadband has a quality element to it that dictates what and how that connection can be used.
Advanced cloud technology together with superior end-to-end connectivity can enable a wider and more sophisticated range of applications that can in turn drive greater innovation, efficiency, and wealth.
The demand from business for greater broadband service capability therefore continues unabated.
Both enterprises and broader industry ecosystems are actively looking at broadband’s role in enabling their digital transformation. Most respondents to the WBBA’s Thought Leadership Enterprise Survey stated that they need faster and more reliable internet to run their business applications.
All of the main types of broadband access technology have developed significantly over the years and are all now capable of delivering multiple 100s of megabits per second.
Certainly, in the short to medium term, xDSL, cable modem, fixed-wireless access (FWA), and satellite are all expected to have a role in the delivery of broadband services. However, full-fiber access will always deliver the optimum experience and remains the most sustainable and cost-efficient option.
Deploying new, full-fiber networks is an expensive business and the cost per premise connected can grow exponentially as projects move into more rural, harder-to-reach communities.
There is a danger therefore for governments to base their cost-benefit analysis on a national economic view. However, such analysis will miss all the social benefits, as well as the more local economic benefits, that advanced broadband networks can bring. Governments must take all benefits into account, including more localized ones, when creating national broadband policies.
Fiber optic technology is well known for its bandwidth capabilities, in both the downstream and upstream direction.
However, future applications will not only need ultra-high-speed services but also ultra-low latency and jitter, with high levels of reliability and consistency if they are to function properly. Countries with networks that are not capable of meeting such criteria will be left behind as the world moves to the next phase of internet applications such as the “metaverse.”
As well as delivering greater service experience, full-fiber networks can help countries move toward a more environmentally friendly world.
Fiber networks are significantly more environmentally friendly than equivalent copper-based networks, and can help support other green initiatives such as greater working from home, the use of advanced videoconferencing, etc. Fiber-based networks also require less maintenance due to there being less active equipment in the field, and can therefore reduce operators’ operational costs.
To fully exploit the potential of advanced broadband networks, the huge amount of address made available by IPv6 is needed.
With rollout of new access technologies like 5G and Fiber, IPv6 reached more than 30% penetration worldwide (APNIC) and is rapidly growing. IPv6 Enhanced technologies, including segment routing over IPv6, per flow monitoring and AI, enable a multitude of objects and people to be flexibly connected to the proper services, granting end-to-end quality of experience.
Today, the average fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) coverage across the 81 countries covered in Omdia’s Fiber Development Index is 43%.
Based on the responses from the WBBA Thought Leadership Survey, respondents believed, on average, this coverage could be expanded to approximately 70% through private investment. It is clear that government support will be needed to get to 100%.
The cost of rollout is still seen as the number one barrier to fiber deployment.
However, a lack of data on the available infrastructure, access to key infrastructure such as ducts and in-building networks, and a lack of understanding both internally and externally are also key barriers to further investment.
Governments and other organizations can help service providers in numerous ways to encourage greater fiber investment beyond just financial incentives.
Respondents to the WBBA survey stated that a reduction in regulatory barriers, greater flexibility in partnership arrangements, copper switch-off regulations, and setting out minimum service standards for network installations, would all take priority over financial support.