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Extinction awaits those who cannot rapidly get on top of their energy consumption
During the COVID-19 pandemic, societies across the globe bore witness to tremendous reductions in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions when the daily trudge in and out of our cities and industrial parks was replaced by working from home. For the first time, mountain ranges emerged through the veils of smog that had cloaked them from surrounding cities for decades.
This precious glimpse of what our world could be like if we could reduce and control our emissions was afforded by modern broadband networks. In fact, these networks served as the fabric that held societies together over the last 24 months. As a result, governments around the globe have recognised the importance of broadband in their broader fight to reverse the damage of the last 100 years and provide a path toward a viable future for all.
While broadband networks themselves will be a foundational enabler for many government environmental strategies, the broadband industry has a major role to play in reducing its environmental impact. This comes against a backdrop where bandwidth demands continue to increase from market competition, as do the consumption patterns of consumers as their communications and entertainment mediums steadily transition to over-the-top (OTT) delivery with ever-increasing fidelity. The half a Terabyte per month average download threshold has now been breached, and over 20% of subscribers exceed a Terabyte of downloads every month.
With increasing flexibility, reach, control, and choice, along with lower content distribution costs, we must not anticipate any deviation toward complete OTT delivery of every communications medium in the future. Recent announcements by European satellite and cable content providers like Sky and
As an industry, we are navigating uncharted territory. For the first time in the history of data connectivity, societies in the developed world are operating in a period of bandwidth abundance. From the inception of the internet to recent times, the connectivity from the home or business to the internet peering points or transit backbones has always been constrained by the capacity of the Wide Area Network (WAN). Originally dial-up, then various flavours of DOCSIS, DSL, and Microwave Wireless, the shift has finally occurred where fibre is being properly recognised as the only suitable foundation for the gigabit societies that governments around the world are scrambling to build.
Why is (or rather was) Point to Point Fibre preferred?
Those in the know have always considered fibre the limitless medium. With terabits per second achievable over a single fibre strand, it is difficult to argue with this; nonetheless, an architectural debate has consumed the fibre industry over the past 20 years. Point-to-Point (P2P) fibre connectivity delivers on that true vision of “limitless.” In contrast, Passive Optical Network (PON) fibre, a point-to-multipoint architecture, has always straddled the balance between resource efficiency and the ability to stay ahead of consumer demand.
The P2P proponents have long argued that the unlimited potential, particularly the symmetric capabilities of P2P networks, means they are the only credible way to build a “real” Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network. For a long time, it was difficult to counter these arguments. Moreover, with uncontended 1 Gbps symmetric services on offer, it was difficult for those aligned to PON architectures to counter anything more than the more efficient use of resources.
During the last two years, this situation has largely been turned on its head.