The rapid development of ultra broadband (UBB) connectivity (defined as provision of downstream data rates of 100 Mbits per second over any type of fixed network connection) is shaping up to promise some significant changes within fixed broadband networks over the next five years, according to the latest Telecoms Annual Industry Survey 2017.
The annual survey collates feedback from more than 1,500 respondents worldwide, comprising service providers, software systems vendors, analysts and government/regulatory bodies.
In this blog post, we highlight the key takeaways around the subject of super-fast broadband solutions, including an exploration of the potential benefits of UBB, a summary of the perceived barriers to its deployment and the ongoing challenge of balancing customer expectations with the achievement of ROI.
Industry predictions for ultra-fast broadband
As the report reveals, while most network operators believe that UBB is shaping up to be a significant factor for future success, there is also a degree of reticence when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is and boosting their capex budgets to deploy it.
Promisingly though, nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents said they expect to achieve full deployment of UBB by the end of 2020, with just under a quarter of those surveyed (22%) expressing confidence that their company will achieve full deployment by the close of 2018.
The operators surveyed identified many potential benefits in deploying UBB. At the top of the list was the potential to improve network performance and reliability (a factor identified by 53% of the respondents), and the opportunities to deliver a range of new and advanced applications such as 4k video, 5G and smart home (highlighted by 50% of respondents).
Additional potential benefits also include the creation of greater network and service agility (41%), preparing the ground for the era of 5G (39%), improving the broadband average revenue per user (ARPU), and enabling operators to match or exceed their competitors' broadband offerings (27.8%).
When questioned about the potential barriers to achieving their UBB deployment goals, top of the list, by a significant margin, was concern about the high cost associated with the deployment process, which was identified as an obstacle by 48% of survey respondents.
As the report also highlights, another ongoing challenge for service operators is anticipated to be the ability to deliver the high-speed services demanded by their customers while at the same time avoiding “wreaking havoc on their spending budgets.”
Thirty percent of the survey’s participants voiced their reservations about return on investment (ROI). The challenges associated with planning and implementing the business models for new services were another key issue, highlighted by 30% of the respondents.
The next five years
When operators were asked what they expect the industry’s perception of UBB will be in five years from now, the response was largely optimistic, with 44% of respondents confirming they expect UBB to be an essential contributor to the future success of telecom service providers.
However a significant proportion of respondents also expressed an air of caution, with just under one third predicting that UBB may fall short of what’s promised and nearly a quarter voicing misgivings about the cost and effort that will be required to successfully deploy it.
When it comes to the last mile, there is much operators can do to accelerate their broadband solutions (whether through the medium of optical, fiber, copper or wireless) while still achieving the optimal total cost of ownership (TCO). PPC Broadband understands this and offers xTTx™ solutions for coax, fiber and category cable around the world.
When considering the backhaul portion of the network, operators can look to fixed-mobile synergy, infrastructure sharing, collaborations and the development of industry alliances in order to optimize benefits.
Balancing customer expectation with ROI
Feedback from the report clearly demonstrates the broadband industry as a whole is thriving. However as the industry strives to improve the broadband experience for the end user, there is also the challenge of balancing this customer expectation with the precise investment and optimized network deployment that will be required to ensure the greatest efficiency.
There’s no doubt that high-speed broadband is viewed by operators as a critical service. As the report concludes, an increased focus on the efficiency of broadband investment, combined with targeted efforts to shorten the payback period can do much to ensure sustainable development and an enhanced broadband experience for customers.