Think fibre to the home is the future? Think again.
Finnish company Teleste, a European supplier of network kit for cable operators, has signed a co-operation agreement with the second biggest Dutch cable operator Essent Kabelcom to develop and deploy a fast IP-based data access technology called Ethernet to the Home (ETTH).
ETTH offers speeds up to 10 Mb/s data speed to residential customers without the need of active consumer premise equipment, and up to 50Mb/s symmetrical data connectivity to business customers.
More importantly, it works with plain old coax cables. That means cable operators can extend the life of their present networks with only limited changes to their infrastructure. Since the technology is fully Ethernet based, subscribers won't need a modem or an adapter either. They can plug their computers straight into the wall.
At the moment, DSL and Cable Internet providers are competing head to head. Both offer almost the same data speeds with 8 megabits per second as a maximum. VDSL, the fastest DSL variant, offers speeds up to 56 Mbps, but only at a short distance. Ethernet To The Home doesn't have that limitation; the cable infrastructure uses network amplifiers.
Fibre has long been viewed as the next step in broadband because it provides access speeds beyond what is available through cable or DSL connections, or even T1 or T3 lines. Speeds would range from 10 megabits per second to 100 Mbps.
Both Dutch and Swedish governments subsidise fibre network services to the home. Earlier in the year, Dutch telco KPN Telecom started talks with the city council of Amsterdam to connect 40 thousand households in the Zeeburg and IJburg suburbs to a fibre broadband network.
Unfortunately, fibre is still very expensive. That's why Essent Kabelcom believes Ethernet To The Home is a better solution. A trial is to take place in the Netherlands in the near future. ®