Monday, 13 November 2017 14:34

VIDEO: Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn explains why FttP goal meant lots of FttN in Germany

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At the NBN Global Broadband Futures conference in Sydney, Deutsche Telekom's chief technology officer Bruno Jacobfeuerborn stated that DT's vision in 2012 was fibre for all by 2018, but the reality since that time had meant a lot of FttN.

I managed to take a few notes as Jacobfeuerborn was speaking, with his presentation on "Delivering Best Broadband", but didn't get a chance to do this with every speaker, so here are the notes for Jacobfeuerborn. 

UPDATE: All the other presentations on the day have been recorded on video and can be seen here. 

The opening presentation by NBN Co public affairs manager Tony Brown, followed by NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow, can be seen on video here. The introductory article to the Global Broadband Futures conference is here.  

Jacobfeuerborn explained that in Germany, if you go into cities, you need to go underground, as fibre is not allowed to be aerial.

Because of this, it would cost billions and take decades to wire up each and every house in Germany to fibre.

Thus, we have arrived at a reality check in 2017 – part of future use cases, like Netflix, became today's use cases. Future demands became today's demands, and people want faster broadband.

Jacobfeuerborn asked, "But, what is the broadband we need as a customer – 1GBps? 50Mbps? 20Mbps?"

He said the challenge was in terms of costs and in terms of time.

Jacobfeuerborn pointed out that Netflix measures the average speed in a network. Do you know what the average speed is for Netflix? 4 to 5Mbps.

Having said this, he asked what Deutsch Telekom could do to deliver broadband to customers? If you deliver 50Mbps, can people use this?

When you look at customers on fibre — 50Mbps, 100Mbps, 200Mbps, 1Gbps — how many use 50Mbps on fibre? More than 50%.

Here is the video of Jacobfeuerborn's presentation – the rest of my notes are below.

Here are the rest of my notes from Bruno Jacobfeuerborn's presentation.

We invented an integrated network strategy. We say OK – wherever we can, we will roll out fibre. New areas to be built – done. Business customisers – done.

But what about the 41 million customers we have at home?

We have 380,000 street cabinets — very nice grey boxes — from there to homes, the average length is 300 to 350 metres.

We go from our central offices to street cabinets with fibre. VDSL delivers 50Mbps. Chip tuning – increase it to 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload.

Super vectoring – 100Mbps to 250Mbps.

G.fast can deliver up to 1Gbps.

We promise to the government that we deliver 80% of the households with minimum 50Mbps by 2018.

That is one piece. The second piece is a rollout on LTE and 5G. We do fibre and mobile. On top of that, we invented a hybrid router – we are using the normal router at home, but a bonding between mobile and fixed. If you have 16Mbps at home, but you need 25Mbps, we use the fixed line at first.

If 16Mbps is not enough, the rest will be delivered by the mobile network.

We are re-utilising copper.

Because only saying we have this dogma that we have to deliver FttH will not work for cost and the wise.

People are not buying five pounds of fibre or six pounds of copper. What people are buying is a broadband connection.

From the political point of view, we have recently had an election. The new coalition — Germaica — because it looks like the Jamaican flag due to the colours of the parties in the coalition.

There are huge debates in Germany – the politicians only speak about fibre, not about broadband.

VDSL, Docsis cable — above 30Mbps in Europe — is called NGA: next-generation architecture.

If you look to the fibre rollout in Germany, it is at the bottom of the chart based on June 2016.

Average connection speed is in the middle of the rankings. In terms of NGA rankings, it is higher up there.

The customer only cares about broadband speeds, DT says it is committed to a network with 80% of the network with more than 50Mbps on average.

The countries using FttC (fibre to the cabinet, known as Fibre the the Node in Australia) are on top, the countries using FttH (fibre to the home) are on the bottom as it takes too long to deploy fibre.

FttC is on the way to fibre. You have fibre in the streets, so you have a pathway to 5G.

Germany is building a significant amount of fibre every year. Building fibre must be dug underground from the civil work capacity and DT is using 75% with the rollout with FttC.

To go to FttH, there is no way make that physically happen in the timeframe.

What is FTTH, FTTB etc? We will do copper, FTTC, G.Fast, vectoring and more – with Nokia we achieved 11Gbps.

I think the mix will make it as shown here — I've shown that to you — we have bonding on the hybrid router. We are doing a lot of development on LTE.

Also we are using millimetre wave — fully automated — this is something we have to do and we do this even in urban cities, it is possible to do the last metres with mobile instead of fibre.

In Australia it might be that one side of the street you have fibre, the other side not. So to bridge this, you need multiple technologies in the network.

DT uses wireless, fibre, copper — hybrid access — the right balance between all technologies we have is the right thing to do.

As a customer, I don't care whether it is fibre, copper or mobile. Customers just want fast speeds.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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