OONO targets place next to Reggefiber in Dutch fibre market

Monday 7 September 2009 | 13:12 CET | Market Commentary
The Rotterdam high-rise apartment complex The Red Apple has become the owner of the first open FTTH network in the Netherlands, based on GPON technology. The owners association had the network deployed at a cost of EUR 400 per flat. OONO, a new company started by former staff of Reggefiber, is the network operator and services will be provided by Intermax (internet), Level Four (telephony) and CAI Albrandswaard (analoge and digital TV). Alcatel-Lucent is the equipment supplier.

While the network is small, it's a remarkable achievment in a Dutch fibre market to date dominated by Reggefiber and its active point-to-point networks. With Reggefiber's hegemony strangthened by KPN buying into the oeprator, the possibility of new competition on the Dutch market can only be positive. The debate over FTTH technologies appeared over with Reggefiber's dominant position in active ethernet over point-to-point (P2P) star networks. However, the Red Apple shows that GPON technology over a point-to-point network can also do the job. Furthermore the network is open for new operators and service providers and can offer symmetric broadband connections, currently at up to 100 Mbps. The maximum speed does have future limitations as, similar to a cable network, a number of subscribers (64 in the case of the Red Apple) share a GPON connection of 2.5Gbps download and 1.25 Gbps upload. While 40 Mbps download and 20 Mbps is enough for the moment, the P2P is here a more future-proof option.

OONO is notable for its policy of acting as operator only on 'customer-owned' networks. As a result, complete structual separation has become a reality: owner, operator and service provider are all separate parties. This strategy eases the way for new financial partners to invest. Rabobank, with its cooperative character and existing infrastructure fund, appears initially to be a choice partner for resident intiatives such as the The Red Apple and also even for whole neighbourhood or business park developments.

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