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Cost of Rural Fiber + TV: $1500, dropping
Written by Dave Burstein   
Thursday, 11 June 2009 16:21

Hiawatha_Broadband(draft) Hiawatha Broadband in Winona, Minnesota pays approximately $800 to pass a home, and another $750 to connect it, including one set-top box, according to an FTTH Council. The rural carrier costs are only slightly higher than Verizon, at $700 and 650 for similar. The home television hookup is several hundred dollars of each figure, so $1,000 - $1,300 is the right estimate for an efficient fiber installation in the U.S. today.

This corresponds to Tim Poulus' estimate that European GPON costs 800-900 euro per customer.  The FTTH council estimates a $1,500 average cost with the lowest cost being closer to $1,200.

The council attributes that to:

Better Construction Techniques - Construction of a FTTH network can account for 50 percent of the total cost of deployment. Both vendors and construction entities have been concentrating on mechanisms to make deployments more efficient. From the vendors' standpoint, they have developed more "plug-and-play" cables which do not require fusion splicing. Construction entities have improved their ability to trench and attach cables in aerial builds.

Smart Network Design - FTTH network designers have learned to tailor each project to the provider's unique supply and demand characteristics saving hundreds of dollars per home connected. For instance, if the provider expects a high take-rate, it can use fusion spliced splitters in terminals to avoid having to install cabinets, connectors, and other equipment. This could save $50-100 per home passed. In rural areas, placing splitters in the central office to serve homes nearby can save about $25 per home passed.

Optical Path Improvements - The optical path is composed of fiber, splitters, and connectors between the premises and the central office. For each of these items, costs have decreased because of technological breakthroughs and larger scale manufacturing. Equally as important is the fact that equipment can provide greatly increased capabilities
and can be readily upgraded as demand and technology warrants. For instance, the optical path can support 10 Gbps transmissions with use of zero water peak and bend optimized fibers, low loss full spectrum splitters, and low loss connectors.

Cable Improvements - As with optical path improvements, there have been many technological advances with optical cables. These range from packing fibers in ribbons to reduce fusion splicing time to producing fully dry cables and reduced-bend diameter fiber cables for multi-dwelling unit installation - all of which produce substantial cost savings.