Ricardo Sanfelice, marketing and products executive director for GVT Brazil, is speaking on Day One of the Broadband LATAM 2013 conference, taking place on 2-3 July 2013 at the Grand Hyatt, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Ahead of the show we find out why fibre is such an important focus for the Brazilian telco.
FTTH is clearly the optimal solution performance wise, but is clearly cost prohibitive. Does is make sense to invest in FTTH?
Large companies, such as GVT, have to invest in fibre to achieve a greater geographical footprint. Spreading to new areas using FTTH makes sense as the CAPEX may not be that different from laying the last mile with copper. There are also benefits from a lower OPEX due to lower maintenance cost on the network. Helpfully, GVT’s network architecture has a shorter last mile due as its architecture is based on FTTN (Fibre to the Node), where the fibre reaches the street cabinet near the customer premises. Therefore, the investment needed to migrate from copper to fibre is more affordable for companies such as GVT in comparison to the incumbents. While for GVT the last mile is an average of 400 metres, the incumbents have areas where they would need to replace up to 5km of copper.
What can be done to lower the cost of fibre roll-outs to make them more affordable?
A fibre-based solution is future proof and guarantees a virtually unlimited speed increase for converged services. GVT offers 150Mbps speed in FTTH fibre dedicated to the customer’s home, but it is still an expensive service for the majority of the population. However, GVT’s network topology, consisting of FTTH with GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network), including the CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) with integrated optical port, is already the same price as copper solutions. In order to keep control of costs, the company has to choose a suitable 2.5Gbps GPON project with predefined levels of splitters, a careful analysis of potential customers in the area and cost-effective CPE.
How far can copper-based technology be taken performance wise?
Copper and fiber will coexist for many years because it is already possible to reach 100Mbps with copper. But the offer of converged services at very high speeds, such as 300Mbps and IPTV, increases the need for fibre and therefore GVT is prioritising fibre for new investments in network expansion.
What opportunities do cloud services provide for operators?
Cloud gaming is one of the services with the most potential for retail customers, enabling high quality entertainment for the customer at a low price. Another opportunity in Latin America is the lack of locally operating cloud storage services available and telcos have the infrastructure to provide this for their customers. Additionally, customers tend to use the higher speeds available at home to create their personal clouds, making their content accessible everywhere. Telcos could enhance this through their equipment that is already present in homes. In the corporate market, GVT aims to strengthen its reputation as an IT-based cloud managed service provider that can deliver virtual servers, email services, web hosting and more.
What is the most exciting developments you expect to see in broadband over the next 12 months?
The last few years showed a huge growth in connected devices (i.e. smartphones, tablets). We are engaged in providing access to fast wifi hotspots to improve the internet experience outside the home. This is not just a service for the customer, but is also an opportunity for fixed and mobile operators, where the traffic from mobile can be offloaded to fixed line telcos, unburdening mobile network cells. In the connected home, the fixed broadband connection will become increasingly important as the centre of the converged experience.