09 March 2007

Ofcom report on wireless in the last mile

I'm back in business after getting the "powder flu" (see this for causes of this disease ... it looks like I may get a relapse!).

One of the discussion points in the literature is whether wireless (eg. municipal wireless systems) can serve as an effective "third pipe" to help reduce the concerns about implicit collusion between service providers. This report from the UK regulator Ofcom sheds light on this question. The report's author notes:
One obvious question then arises - can wireless address the needs of Broadband 2.0? It would have to do so at a competitive cost, which means preferring self install indoor systems and minimising base station numbers, perhaps by working at the lower frequencies of the UHF band. But before evaluating specific wireless technology approaches, benchmarking against access technologies in other countries was performed, with the following results

  1. It was quickly apparent that countries leading on bandwidth to the home are all using some form of fibre system. Whilst Japan/Korea are doing this with government sponsorship, Verizon and AT&T in the US have recently begun fibre roll-outs on a purely commercial basis. This is a watershed development for fibre in the local loop.
  2. Interest in fibre is high in the EU too, but some operators have halted their roll-out plans due to the absence of an FCC-style forbearance on fibre unbundling within the EU.
  3. Benchmarking against upcoming wireless standards showed these were biased towards
    small screen mobile content delivery, i.e. they are not attempting to address the challenge of the Broadband 2.0 requirements for delivery of HD services to the home.

1 comment:

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