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KT CEO calls for fiber in access networks

Posted: 02 Mar 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:broadband? optical fiber? dsl? korea telecom?

South Korea's experience with broadband access since 1998 indicates how fiber can play a critical role in access systems, said Yong-Kyung Lee, president and chief executive of Korea Telecom Corp., in a keynote speech opening the Optical Fiber Communication conference.

While the original Korean leap in universal broadband relied on Digital Subscriber Line services, Lee said that next-generation services cannot be supported without further fiber deployment moving toward the end user. "The current Internet is only suitable for best-effort, store-and-forward applications," Lee said.

Much better support for Quality of Service and security parameters must be integrated into backbone control planes, Lee said. Each household should receive 100Mbps service in order to carry HDTV as well as broadband data traffic.

South Korea leads the world in broadband penetration, with 73 percent of the population connected to the Internet via broadband access, with some 60 percent DSL-based. KT will begin the conversion to fiber by using a fiber-to-the-curb architecture with very high bit-rate DSL, Lee said, moving to an Ethernet-based fiber-to-the-home network late in this decade. The FTTC topology uses a flexible cell structure similar to cellular network topologies, with the size of each cell dependent on demand density in a particular neighborhood.

KT also is conducting trials with Passive Optical Networks as a low-cost alternative to pushing out fiber in the network, while deploying service to homes without a traditional broadband modem. The PON trials involve both wave-division multiplexed PONs and time-division multiple-access PONs. Any rational FTTH technology bringing fiber directly to a home network unit must cost no more than 150 percent the cost of DSL, Lee said.

In a second keynote, venture capitalist William Cadogan, former chairman of ADC Inc., said that long-haul and local carriers alike must rely on new fiber-based services to avoid becoming bottom-feeders focused solely on driving voice and data transport pricing to unprofitable levels.

While overall public-carrier markets may seem dismal, Cadogan said that improved carrier capital expenditures and new incumbent-carrier service offerings show the prospects for sustained growth in the second half of the decade.

Recovery will be very uneven, however, Cadogan said, related to both geographical regions and specific services offered by carriers.

Analysts and industry participants must greet this recovery with a healthy dose of skepticism, and not allow the market to get ahead of its own slow and steady rebirth, Cadogan said.

Cadogan, general partner at St. Paul Venture Capital, said that incumbent local exchange carriers continue to be dogged by the fact that no uptick in their stock price is accompanying the slow return of their cash flow.

Getting rid of TDM backbones and moving to optical transport cheaply will be key to restoring profitability for the carriers, he said. Ethernet over fiber, whether implemented in wavelength frames, Sonet, or Resilient Packet Ring, will play a critical role in cost-effective networks at Layer 2, Cadogan said.

-Loring Wirbel

EE Times

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