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 Monday, November 13, 2006

ITU-T's Study Group 15 has fast tracked a standard that significantly reduces costs for operators rolling out fibre to the home (FTTH). The new Recommendation G.657 "Characteristics of a Bending Loss Insensitive Single Mode Optical Fibres and Cables for the Access Network" gives fiber optic cable similarly flexible characteristics to copper meaning that it can be much more easily deployed in the street, in the building and in the home.

This increased flexibility in a fibre optic cable means that operators can follow tighter corners in buildings, can employ less-skilled labor in deploying the cable and can worry less if cables / fibres are laid with a sharp bend. This all makes installation work more engineer friendly leading also to less re-work. Moreover the closures for fibres can be half the size, important where space is at a premium for example in an apartment building.

The new standard, which allows optical fibres to flex and bend more than the previous standardized types has achieved consent nearly a year earlier than was expected. This has been due to a push by operators planning the introduction of FTTH. Operators are keen that manufacturers around the world immediately start producing fibres according to the specification with clear advantages in terms of flexibility of deployment and cost reduction.

Many telcos have plans to roll out FTTH. The number of FTTH users in Japan exceeded 6 million as of mid 2006. According to experts the impetus for the work came from Japan, followed by the USA, but there is now much interest from European operators.