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Sharing infrastructure within the framework of FTTH

Sharing infrastructure within the framework of FTTH

In Morocco, the deployment of very high speed through optical fiber is provided by the three main operators via 4G technology or via FTTH. Very high-speed optical fiber access networks are in the process of partially or totally replacing existing local copper loops. Previously, optical fiber was initially deployed point-to-point. Today, with the advent of FTTH or Fiber to the Home technology, we are able to democratize very high speed through optical fiber to the home thanks to point-to-multipoint topology and with attractive prices. Indeed, the use of optical couplers in the network is the basis of architecture and engineering of FTTH deployment. The couplers, are passive, that is to say they do not consume electrical energy. They are deployed to serve several zones or several subscribers.

The very high speed FTTH network is made up of the following parts.

  • the infrastructure which includes the part related to civil engineering,

  • the part related to passive optics and

  • the part related to active optics.

The first part concerns the ducts, the rooms, the street cabinets and the technical rooms. The second part corresponds to the passive optics, that is to say the passive components of the network and which include in particular the optical fibers, the couplers, splice boxes and distribution cabinets. Finally, the third part corresponds to the active optics, that is to say the components consuming electrical current and which consists mainly on the transmitting and receiving systems.

In the few countries where the appropriate framework for sharing has not been defined, alternative operators are forced to create new local loops to bring optical fiber to buildings and houses, but also to their common areas and to homes.

But economically, it does not seem logical that each optical local loop operator has its own infrastructure to reach subscribers. For example, the fact that each operator brings in each building and, in each housing, a dedicated cabling and optical socket should not be the case. This situation does not facilitate the introduction of competition. For example, pooling at the ground floor of a building facilitates competition because households can easily change optical fiber operator. So in addition to the other infrastructure sharing that can be considered, the terminal part of the fiber networks will therefore have to be shared between several operators.

devra donc être mutualisée entre plusieurs opérateurs.

Photo illustrating the lack of sharing

Photo illustrating successful sharing

Sharing begins with the opening of the incumbent operator’s civil engineering. Almost everywhere, regulators require incumbent operators to allow access to their civil engineering, to alternative operators, particularly with favorable pricing conditions in order to ease access to ducts, too. With regards to FTTH, ARCEP in France has put in place a regulation measure that promotes pooling, including obligations with regards to the pooling of the terminal part. In very dense areas, deployment in parallel up to the building, then pooling. Interior networks of existing buildings are often deployed in ducts ; their reuse to pass new fiber cabling, when possible, reduces the need for new work, and therefore prevent nuisance and additional costs. Junction boxes supporting cable networks are typically large and, in most cases, appear to be reusable to deploy fiber.

In the context of FTTH, the ground floor of a building corresponds to the implementation of pooling at a low point of the optical local loop network, typically at the ground floor, in a pooling box. The box can be installed on the private domain of the building or on the public domain and then serve several buildings or individual houses. The pooling box is presented as an optical fiber distributor node at which optical fiber jumper are made. Fibers leave from the pooling box to connect various housings. There is at least one separate, point-to-point fiber between the pooling box and each home served. The operator accommodates in this box the cable heads and possibly the PON couplers of third-party operators. When a present operator wants to connect a new customer, an optical jumper is made in the box, between the fiber serving the housing and the operator’s cable head. This option requires well-organized building and co-ownership managers in order to effectively manage relationships with operators accessing to the building.

(*): Youssef Diop, telecom consultant

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