Copper and fibre to co-exist for foreseeable future

Guo Ping, acting CEO, Huawei

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18 July 2014 | 0

Networks based on fibre and copper lines, combined with new networking and carrier technologies, implemented through a public private partnership framework is the best development model for Ireland’s broadband.

This was according to Guo Ping, current CEO of Huawei, the Chinese networking and communications company, host of the Ireland Broadband 2014 forum.

“We believe that the synergy between optical fibres and copper cables is the most feasible and economical model that exists today,” said Gio.

“The deployment of optical fibres is a huge project that cannot be completed within a short period of time. Copper cables already deployed over the past decades are a valuable resource and must be fully leveraged. We must bring new life into the existing copper cable infrastructure.

Guo said that there will be a considerable period when optical fibres and copper cables will certainly coexist, but the key to success will be to further improve bandwidth capacity over copper cables.

Coexisting
“Huawei attaches equal importance to the development of both technologies, and has continued to invest in innovations in both areas,” he said. “With regard to copper cables, we adhere to continuous technological innovation and have tapped into technologies such as Super Vectoring and G.fast to enable bandwidths of 50 Mbit/s for copper cables, comparable to that of optical fibres.”

Guo recognised that in a country such as Ireland, a public private partnership is required to implement broadband availability for the population, but that especially in rural areas, it is necessary to ensure equitable availability.

“The first challenge is choosing a suitable investment model. Experience has shown that the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is the most effective when it comes to implementing national broadband network (NBN) strategies. Under this model, governments attract and encourage strong carriers to lead NBN construction by offering subsidies.”

“This model is especially helpful in providing ubiquitous services in remote areas. The second challenge is reducing the cost of network construction through cross-sector collaboration. Today, more than 70% of the total budget for broadband network construction is used to acquire site resources, pipelines, and cables.”

However, based on Huawei’s experience working with governments, carriers and in direct implementation, Guo was optimistic about Ireland’s prospects.

“It is likely that Ireland will become a role model in this regard,” said Guo.

Rich experience
“Huawei has accumulated rich experience on national broadband projects around the world,” added Guo, “and we will bring this experience to bear by being open and cooperative with local government and working together with Irish operators & service providers to create the infrastructure needed to power the Irish Information Society of the future.”

Guo also took the opportunity to talk about Huawei’s presence in Ireland, as the forum also marked the company’s 10 year anniversary here.

“Huawei began its operations in Dublin in 2004, and today, we are serving two million Irish citizens,” said Guo. “In addition, we’ve continuously promoted localised operations. Our procurement in Ireland has reached €5.5 million last year. We’ve established R&D centres in Cork, Dublin, and Athlone. In addition, we are cooperating with leading academic institutions in Ireland, and participated in undergraduate employment programmes. We’ll continue to promote cooperation with customers, universities, research institutes, and local communities. Huawei is committed to becoming a responsible corporate citizen of Ireland.”

Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, acknowledged the fact that Ireland has much to do in terms of broadband speeds and availability if it is to facilitate a new age of digital business.

“Digital change has thrown up huge opportunities and challenges, but the economic impact is without doubt. Ireland’s digital dividend is set to double in the next five years, it is growing at 10 times the rate of other sectors of the economy,” said the minister.

“We are currently in the bottom tier in Europe for the application of next generation broadband technology, but we are committing to change that, but without leaving people behind.”

Mixed picture
The minister’s comments were later supported by William Batt of Indecan Economic Consultants, who said that in Ireland there is currently a “mixed picture” in relation to broadband in the EU context. Ireland is close to the EU average on fixed broadband availability, while being ahead on mobile. However, when it comes to next generation technology, Ireland lags somewhat, with 35% coverage compared to 70% for EU leaders.

The minister was adamant, however, that there would be no “rural urban divide” when it comes to broadband.

“We are getting the message of building the highway, but we also have to get the message of getting on the highway — encouraging small businesses to get online and do business there.”

“We are well placed if we get the infrastructure right and the development,” argued the minister.

The skills base is now better, he said, and targets have been set for more than doubling graduates from those sectors that will drive those sections of the economy.

 

TechCentral Reporters

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