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.