September 12, 2013
Swisscom Activating 1 Gbps Network
By Gary Kim
Swisscom (News - Alert) will in 2013 activate the first 700,000 customer connections at speeds of up to 1 Gbps. That initiative is part of a few ways Swisscom is boosting broadband access capabilities.
Swisscom also will in 2014 begin migrating its digital subscriber line connections to use of VDSL vectoring, which will double current bandwidths for those customers.
Swisscom also is installing fiber-to-the-street for locations outside the major urban centers, and testing fiber to the building. FTTS and FTTB initially will allow surfing speeds up to 100 Mbps.
One goal is to provide 80 percent of households and businesses to receive up to 100 Mbps and more by 2020, as well as faster broadband to more than 2.3 million households and businesses by 2015.
Swisscom serves about 1.8 million broadband customers.
By 2015, around 2.3 million households and businesses will benefit from faster broadband. About 800,000 locations will use vectoring. About half a million will use, FTTS and FTTB. About a million will use FTTH.
By 2020, broadband speeds of 100 Mbps will be possible in over 80 percent of households and businesses. Swisscom is investing a total of CHF 1.75 billion in infrastructure in 2013.
Swisscom is the first Switzerland-wide provider to offer 1 Gbps.
Separately, the state-run utility Israel Electric Corp is building a gigabit network in Israel, expected to be fully built out within five to seven years.
Gigabit service also is available in Hong Kong, South Korea (network partically completed), Portugal (Zon Multimedia) and Cologne, Germany (Netcologne), Amsterdam (Reggefiber), Japan (NTT (News - Alert) fiber to building), Sweden and Singapore.
As always, there is a difference between “availability” and “purchase.” Often, where ultra-fast services are available, not many customers actually buy the fastest-rated service, choosing instead to buy a super-fast service.
In other words, depending on retail prices, though a gigabit connection is available, many consumers, perhaps a clear majority, will opt for service at hundreds of megabits, if it costs less.
Some will be tempted to argue this is a typical effort by a quasi-monopolist to dismiss a competitor's better and disruptive offering, and rather incorrect, since people in Kansas City do seem to be buying Google (News - Alert) Fiber.
A few might say the statement is an effort to stave off, as long as possible, or perhaps indefinitely, the need to invest major new sums in access technology.
Others will note that since Time Warner Cable faces Google directly in Kansas City, the question is rather an obvious question for investors to ask. There is some truth to all such interpretations.
On the other hand, to understand the comment that "we just don't see the need of delivering that to consumers." one has to unpack the statement and put it into context.
Esteves is not necessarily dismissive of Google Fiber. "We're in the business of delivering what consumers want, and to stay a little ahead of what we think they will want," she said, and seems always to say when asked about the state of demand for 1-Gbps access.
A fair way to rephrase might be "At the moment, at the prices we would have to charge, we believe few customers would want to buy 1-Gbps access." The statement is highly conditional, and key to adoption rates.
People will not necessarily buy gigabit service if it is not priced right, or if more affordable hundreds of megabits service is available for less money.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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