Friday, January 27, 2006

FTTH in Vienna to all households 

This week the FTTH Council Europe held its annual meeting in Vienna. James Enck attended and is reporting on his blog. From my point of view most interesting was the announcement of the City of Vienna together with the city-owned electricity company (Wienstrom) and the sewage company (Wienkanal) to provide all households in the city with FTTH.

James Enck: Currently sitting through some interesting case studies from around the world, the first being from Vienna itself, which is looking to start phase one (50k premises) of a 950k home/70k SME deployment in the city this spring. Some seriously fascinating photos of robotically-deployed fiber in narrow sewer passages, as well as fiber in the sewer access pipes into individual homes and businesses.

Daniel Sokolow has a more detailed report on (in German), which translates roughly into English like this:

Vienna plans FTTH to 960,000 households

Vienna (pop. 1,6 million) would like to offer a glass fiber connection to each household and each enterprise, without falling back to subsidies from the tax collector's office. The construction work for a pilot project with 50.000 households could already start in February, with the first households connected in May or June. Next to that to be decided upon areas in Transdanubien (21. and 22. district) will be connected. Negotiations with substantial real estate property owners already are running. First with IPv4 one works, the infrastructure should be prepared for IPv6 however.

A second stage of development, which already is in planning, plans a further 250,000 connections. In the final development all 960,000 households and about 70,000 smaller and middle enterprises (KMU) could be connnected with 1 Gbit/ of symmetrical speed. Thus Vienna would become again the broadband capital of the world - a position the Austrian Federal Capital used to have back in the 90-ties through the offers of the cable TV operator UPC.

The ambitious project is a co-operation of the city Wien with its (100%) subsidiary companies Wienstrom and Wienkanal. They stress no new monopoly will be established: they want to make the net available as "open ACCESS Platform" to all service Providern on the same conditions.

Next to classic InterNet service Providers (ISP), the net would allow also different services for instance within the health range. It will not be a revival of the 2002 started pilot project Blizznet(...). The 100% city owned Wien Energy can only supply internet access as long as there is no contract with an ISP; after thatthey will return back to their core business of energy supply.

The ISPA (InterNet service Provider Association Austria) after initially grave concern supports the development of the infrastructure, it is however still sceptically on costs and financing. In addition they have doubts on the details of the open platform. Both ISPA and the city of Vienna see the turning point in bandwidth hungry contents and services - without these only few users would need a fiber connection. Says ISPA Secretary-General Kurt Einzinger: "The large content owners fearful, they are world-wide blocking developments. Lost turnover in Austria is no big deal to them".

The city of Vienna has got itself nobody less than the last ORF (Austrian BBC) General-Intendant (CEO) Gerhard Weis as its advisor. "We will emphasize on content production", Weis told "It is not sufficient to just double the number of TV channels."
As a fibernet offers high symmetrical bandwidth and supports point-to-point connections, it makes other services possible than over copper networks.

Vienna Energy is already negotiating with service and content partners. The energy utility servicer invites all owners of fiber and duct networks to bring their infrastructure into the project. At present there's discussions with Telekom Austria and UPC. Other networks would add to allready available assets like 1,600 kilometers of active optical fiber and 2,200 kilometers of empty ducts. The Cablerunner sewer technology is saving much money in the later stages of development, as smaller sewers are used as well for wiring.
(Daniel AJ Sokolov)

Interesting that I received this translation via an US Mailing list, which received it via Canada.

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