Fiber deployments: June and July 2014

While analyzing the fiberoptics industry with KMI more than a decade ago, I became accustomed to following announcements of fiber network expansions.  I can’t seem to break that habit.  Here’s a small sampling of announcements from around the world over the last couple of months:

In Paraguay, TeleGeography reports about wireless carrier Tigo’s planned US$120 million expansion of its fiberoptic backhaul network.  The article notes that Tigo’s network currently spans 5,693 km.

TeleGeography also reports about Algerie Telecom’s plans to add an additional 20,000 km to its existing 57,000 km fiber network by the end of 2015.

Lightwave reports that Allied Fiber has opened up the first segment of the southeast portion of its planned national dark fiber network; the newly available segment is a 360 mile span from Miami to Jacksonville.  I’ll let you read Lightwave’s article for more info, including the fiber count and type of fiber installed.

In undersea cable news, I spotted a couple of recent announcements, as well.

As noted in this Light Reading article, Hibernia has recently begun construction on a 4,600 km Hibernia Express undersea cable connecting North America with the UK.

Meanwhile, per this InterAksyon.com report, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company is the lead investor in the 20,000 km Asia-America Gateway (AAG) undersea cable, connecting Southeast Asia and the Philippines with Hawaii and the U.S. west coast.

Learning the Basics: Fiberoptics Webcast and Small Cell Definitions

How many of us have the time to keep current (or refresh our knowledge) on telecom topics that don’t affect our daily work?  I’ve recently had a couple of opportunities to improve my knowledge – one a webcast about a telecom technology, the other a blog post that helps define a newly hot market segment – that I’d like to share with you.

First, I can’t believe that it has been more than a decade since I last worked directly in the fiberoptics industry.  (My years working in the fiberoptics for KMI are also the reason I’ll always write “fiberoptics” as one word rather than two.)  Last week, I refreshed my knowledge of fiber basics by watching a “Fundamentals of Fiber Optics” webcast.  Available on-demand here on the Lightwave website, the presentation by The Light Brigade’s founder Larry Johnson serves as a solid one-hour primer covering the basics of how fiberoptics works.  Very worth viewing as a sort of refresher if you haven’t worked with the basics of fiberoptics for a while (as was my case) or if you’ve not been directly working with the theory of how fiberoptics work for a while.  Also a great introduction – something that might be worth sharing with newbies in your company.

The other interesting discovery this past week – this one definitional in nature – comes courtesy of CommScope’s blog.  Recently, I had been seeing a flurry of news articles about small cells.  This doesn’t affect my daily work, so I was comfortable with my general understanding of what small cells seemed to be, but in the back of my head I had thought I should someday devote a little time to Googling small cells just to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding what I was reading.  Then, earlier this week, CommScope’s June 2nd blog post of “What Exactly Is a Small Cell?” found its way to my inbox.  Adapted from Pankaj Gandhi’s May 22nd post on ETTelecom’s TeleTalk blog (Small Cells: The solution to telcos’ network capacity challenges), this post serves as a nice starting point in accelerating my understanding.  Indeed, in it, Gandhi says “Small cells or small cellular base stations encompass a number of different technologies but one could describe them as anything that’s not a typical macro site.”  I’d suggest reading the entire blog post for more detail.

It’s always nice to find some shortcuts that help maintain or upgrade our understanding of the industry in which we work (and adjoining industries). I hope those two resources above are of assistance to you.  Please do feel free to share other educational resources, either by e-mail to me directly or in the comment section below.

Finally, before I close, I’ll add one more “learning tool.”  I don’t plan to make a note about this again; just, since so most of my readers right now are people I already know (industry friends, former colleagues, and contacts, many of whom don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs), I thought I’d share “how to sign up for blog e-mails.”   Look for the “Follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser window.  If you click that button, you can sign up to have my blog sent to your inbox whenever I update it.  As you can see, I don’t blog that often.  I can’t imagine it will ever be more than once a day, almost certainly not even that often, so I won’t fill your inbox.  Anyway, if you sign up for the e-mails, you won’t have to periodically click on your bookmark to my blog to see what I have to say.  (I also tweet on Twitter and pin a link to Pinterest whenever I add a new blog post, but you know how quickly those messages get lost in the feed, so e-mail is often the best way to make sure you receive each post.)

Quick Hits (Fiber Edition): Metro Fiber Deployment, Fiber Leasing, FTTH Speeds, FTTH Penetration

Because of my years as an analyst with fiberoptics research firm KMI, I’ve always noticed fiber deployment articles and press releases.  Here are a few recent fiber network articles:

From a CLEC perspective, tw telecom is expanding its metro network in Nashville from  the city center out to the west side of the city.  This is in line with tw telecom’s November 2013 announcement that it had planned to expand its metro networks to 5 new markets and within at least 27 existing markets within a year.

Elsewhere, Shentel (Shenandoah Telecom) is seeing growth in its fiber leasing revenue.

Another carrier announced its intention to provide 1 Gpbs FTTH service, with Cox joining AT&T and Google Fiber in the FTTH speed arms race.

Turning to Europe, telecompaper reports on the growth of FTTH connection in Spain – 85% year-over-year in January to 650,000.  An interesting point in the article is a statistic about total fixed broadband connections (not just FTTH): A vast majority of new broadband connections were added by alternative network operators, with Telefonica and cable operators adding a much smaller number.

And while we’re on the topic of FTTH, though I don’t really have much to say, this is an interesting read I ran across recently that’s probably worth sharing.  It’s a bit of a chat about FTTH in Africa with some of the writer’s personal experience with an eye to history.  At one point, to put FTTH in Africa in context, it references a Google Africa Blog article that notes “only 16% of Africa’s 1 billion people are online.”  Again, this is a rather disconnected paragraph, but it’s interesting, nonetheless, and worth sharing.

That’s what’s drawn my attention the last few days, at least from a fiber perspective.  As always, the purpose of this blog is to share what I read and some thoughts about it with old friends and contacts in the telecom industry, as well as anyone I haven’t met who will find this interesting.  Obviously, today’s post was more news and less opinion.  Hope you’ve found it helpful.

U.S. Fiber Penetration Reaches 39.3 Percent of Buildings (per Fierce Telecom article, citing VSG report)

U.S. Fiber Penetration Reaches 39.3 Percent of Buildings

Looking for some interesting content to kick the blog off — something to help me get my feet wet in the blogosphere.  For my old friends and colleagues in the fiberoptics and telecom carrier industries, this is an interesting data point.  (Click the title to see a link to the Fierce Telecom article about the VSG report.)

Indeed, fiber penetration is improving in the U.S., but building connectivity is still below half, according to this report.

Interesting quote in the article is about the movement of carriers to connect small and medium-sized buildings in greater numbers:

“The majority of new fiber deployments were focused on connecting medium and smaller buildings in the metro areas surrounding major cities across the U.S.,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group.

Beyond that, just a short quick-hit article.  As I get more comfortable with this blogging software, I’ll be sure to post any time I see something interesting (rather than looking for something to post, as I did tonight).

Thanks for reading.