Enthusiasm for an exciting industry event
Last week, from the 23rd to the 25th of May 2022, three of the Indigo fibre team headed to a breath-taking venue in Vienna to join the Fibre warriors at the FTTH Conference of Europe.
Our veterans of Fibre, Ray O’Connor, Niall Looney and Will Tobin joined this extensive conference programme with 20 expert workshops, 19 conference panel sessions, and multiple keynote speeches offering insights from leading policymakers, business leaders, and technology experts and investors.
There was a huge buzz at the event. It could be put down to the fact that people are still excited to be back at face-to-face events, or because the Fibre ecosystem is a vibrant market excited about maturing and evolving.
4site, now part of Indigo, [read about 4site’s integration into the Indigo brand here] has been a member of the FTTH Council of Europe for many years and has joined the FTTH Conference since the fibre conversations emerged as the next big access technology.
This year’s event had a different vibe. Not only was it full of new entrants talking about hot new market opportunities; the mature players added wisdom and experience to this once in a generation technology.
There were many highlights, but here are some of the key takeaways from Ray, Niall and Will.
Global Labour Shortage
We are all experiencing the challenges associated with a global labour shortage. In the fibre industry, the players are prioritising the need to find innovative technology solutions for old problems. It is coming up with solutions for the age-old questions of how we can do more with less.
New Tech Solution for Old Problems
On the first day of the event, the team attended the workshop on ‘Trends, Practices and Lessons Learned regarding different FTTX Deployments’ where Will interacted with the panel on the benefits of software automation & mobile mapping (high-resolution imagery) in planning & design.
At Indigo, our hard-earned engineering expertise and innovative solutions have been forged over many years across diverse data centre, fixed and mobile network technologies.
Back in the Indigo offices, there are a host of software tools that use and generate more data: UAV drone software, mapping systems, BIM (Building Information Management), LIDAR surveys, 3D laser scanners. Our work is all about converting the information they generate into actionable data and optimised workflows.
And we continue to innovate and evolve these services. Our NOC support team recently started using Oculus VR headsets to develop service to include data analytics, AI, and VR. [Read our blog on How We Help the Telecoms Digital Transformation Journey – Indigo (indigotg.com)]
In one of the workshops ‘Upgrading the FTTH network,’ a fantastic panel encouraged us to think about how to outpace change; Ronan Kelly – Adtran, Alex French- Siro spoke about key considerations and challenges.
Our entire team celebrate our flexibility as our strength and adopts a dynamic perspective. We were impressed by the AFL demo of the SpiderWeb Ribbon tech in their fibre cables. (Thanks Tom Bambury) This game-changing solution maximizes the fibre counts with a smaller cable diameter and allows for splicing of 12No. fibres at one time!
Watch this space on how we can improve Fibre deployments and support with innovative solutions. Luckily we got some great ideas at the FTTH Conference 2022. As diverse thinkers we embrace new tasks and challenges, enthusiastically engaging emerging technologies and complex systems to drive transformation. [Read about Digitisation – Indigo (indigotg.com)]
Significant Growth Markets like Germany and the UK
The total number of homes passed with Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB) in the EU391 reached nearly 198.4 million homes in September 2021, compared to 176.3 million in September 2020. The main movers in terms of homes passed in absolute numbers are France (+4.3 M), the United Kingdom (+3.4 M), Germany (+2.4 M) and Italy (+1.5 M).
The bulk of the continuing fibre build effort will concentrate in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy – all countries with a strong copper network which has held off higher bandwidth demand longer than most.
- Germany stood out for us as it is a market we have been working with for a couple of years. Based on our extensive survey and design experience in the UK and Ireland, we are now moving our capabilities into this major European market.
- German fibre deployment needs stronger demand, focus on regulations, open access and faster permit granting, concluded the high-level speakers on stage. Alternative network operators are crucial to continuing the strong deployment momentum that Germany is experiencing.
- We met BREKO the German Broadband Association to discuss the advantages of becoming a member.
- The UK is moving fast to achieve ambitious FTTH rollout goals. Panellists of the session brought their experience on stage, presenting a synthesis of the state of FTTH in the UK and discussing market drivers and roadblocks for future fibre deployments in the country.
- One of the big questions discussed at the event is the question will all UK AltNets survive, or will the imminent market consolidation leave everyone a winner?
The reports confirm the continuous progress of fibre roll-out, with full-fibre connectivity being a clear priority for EU authorities, national governments, and market players across Europe.
Mature Players have Rolled out their Networks
The difference we felt this year is that the market has matured.
Customers like Siro, NBI, CityFibre, Community Fibre and many more are well into their build journey. And now it is time to make sure it works as efficiently as possible.
In fact, one of our oldest and biggest customers, CityFibre, was awarded the Operator Award.
Suzanne Tracy, CTO of Siro, spoke at the Chief Technology Officers panel discussing the trends impacting FTTH rollout. At a separate workshop, Alex French, Head of Product and Customer Analytics at Siro, spoke about the key considerations when upgrading the FTTX network.
What is Indigo doing next?
Sustainability. Our engineers will continue to design for the most sustainable access network technology. [See Indigo’s ESG policies here Environmental, Social, Governance – Indigo (indigotg.com)]
Innovative technology. We are always evolving the processes and systems we use for Fibre survey and design to help with the resource constraint in the labour market.
Growth in Germany. The combination of our design expertise and Fibre Centre of Excellence in Limerick, our refined processes and first-rate systems mean we can deliver optimum network design to Operators in Germany.
Network Support. Our purpose-built Network Operations Centre (NOC) is the single point of contact for all reactive and proactive support and maintenance requirements for Fibre Network Providers who have their infrastructure in the ground (or overhead!). Fully staffed 24x7x365, our NOC support staff manage the dispatch of the field service engineers and can jointly control the escalation to second/third line support in conjunction with owning the spare parts management process.
To learn more about our comprehensive Fibre design, build and support engineering services, visit this page Fibre – Indigo (indigotg.com)