Next generation access networks are ideal for getting more for less. Utilising legacy copper circuits with more advance protocols provides an improvement in throughput, enabling an increase in shared bandwidth, which will drive capacity within ISP networks. Whether we’re moving the active equipment closer to the end customer, as in the case of Fibre to the Cabinet, or taking advantage of advances in protocol efficiencies, as in the case of Ethernet in the First Mile, these networks enable us to maximise existing infrastructures. With all new access networks, the challenge is to make them fit with current availability. Take Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) for example, this will be limited to certain geographic areas due to the costs of digging in fibre.
For me, the really interesting technology is EFM as this replaces the need for Leased Lines over Fibre or SDH technology, bridging the current cost vs performance gap that we see between Broadband and Ethernet Leased Lines over Fibre Optic. At Redstone we’ve seen the most advances in EFM out of all of the next gen access networks. We recently took over a number of Fibre Optic Leased Lines provided through one of our wholesale interconnects, which supports the wider industry trend that sees EFM making large inroads into the more traditional 2Mb and Fibre Ethernet Leased Line market.
We are at a tipping point for super fast IP networks. We’re seeing a move from the wholesale national network to ISP network interconnects, but ISPs need to adapt their pricing model in the future as bandwidth to the internet still costs relatively more to provide than end-users are being charged on a per Mb basis. As consumers utilise larger bandwidths, ISPs will need to adapt to this. It will be interesting to see it prices continue to fall as bandwidth increases.
At Redstone, we’ve seen a large increase in our reseller base as well as an increase from direct customers specifically for the fabled ISDN2 replace product. We believe that advances in broadband, such as QoS coupled with EFM technology, means that now is the time to start using copper based services for VoIP, and dedicated products purely for telephony traffic that are available over the broadband network. We’ve already witnesses an increase of voice traffic across our broadband networks and think that this is an area that’s going to get extremely interesting.