Fibre and 5G convergence

Previously fixed and mobile networks have been deployed separately but convergence now shows FTTH and 5G networks are two sides of the same coin. We encourage a converged approach that can bring significant cost reductions.. The FTTH Council Europe has done significant cost modelling work  which demonstrates that planning ahead a 5G ready FTTH network allows for considerable synergies and hence a more efficient use of investments as well as less civil works and disturbance. 

As stated above, the civil works to deploy fibre underground or overhead can be a substantial portion of the costs of deploying new mobile and fixed networks, and our study shows that in a greenfield scenario, if a FTT-5G network (Fibre to a 5G Antenna/base station) is anticipated while planning for a FTTH network, the range of cost savings for the FTT-5G network due to convergence can reach between 65% and 96%. Consequently, the extra investment on top of a FTTH network to make it 5G ready is in a range of 0.4% to 7.2%.

A follow-up study  analysed how Fibre/5G demand uncertainty affects phased rollout at the time of initial build. It demonstrated the relation between the percentage of spare capacity in the original FTTH deployment and the future cost of 5G fibre rollout. The conclusion of this cost-modelling exercise was that the cost of a FTT5G network when built on top of an FTTH network with limited or no spare capacity is 2 to 3.5 times more expensive than with sufficient spare capacity.

Therefore, planning ahead and looking for synergies when deploying FTTH/5G networks can also be a major source of cost savings.

[1] The Cost of Meeting Europe’s Future available, 2017, available here

[2] 5G and FTTH: The Value of Convergence, 2019, available here

[3] Fibre for 5G: the story of convergence, 2020, available here

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