Bandwidth-hungry applications are being increasingly consumed across Europe leading to rapid broadband penetration. This is creating a need for service providers to focus on their access network strategies.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that fibre-to-the-home deployments in Europe reached more than 2,5-million homes in 2006 and estimates this to reach over 14-
million in 2012.
“Video content, high bandwidth applications and convergence are driving broadband bandwidth requirements in Europe,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Fernando Elizalde. “Several technologies are available to meet the delivery of bandwidth demand, of which fibre in the local loop, and in particular fibre-to-the-home, is future-proof.”
Several service providers across Europe have made commitments to deploy fibre-to-the-node or fibre-to-the-home networks in the next three to five years. In addition, the availability of the Gigabit passive optical networks technology has made such deployments more economically viable.
However, digital subscriber technology (DSL), which uses existing copper access networks to deliver broadband, is well entrenched in Europe and lengthens the useful life of existing copper infrastructures.
Furthermore, with DSL technologies, the bandwidth requirements in the near future can be met to a certain extent. Besides, high capital investment and local network characteristics pose restraints to a full fibre-to-the-home deployment across all countries.
“DSL is the preferred technology to deliver broadband and other related services in Europe,” remarks Elizalde. “Local network conditions have been favourable to the deployment of this technology to deliver sufficient bandwidth to cope with user and application demands.”
However, with the advent of high-definition video and other entertainment applications over broadband, this will not be the case for too much longer. Multiple high-definition video streaming to the home and other converged applications can easily outgrow the bandwidth capacity of DSL-based networks.
As a result, service providers will need to start looking at deploying fibre deeper into the network, even to the home or building, in order to be ready to meet future bandwidth requirements.