Element: Customers love fiber

Customers around the world are still choosing fiber despite cable upgrades. Improved cable is essentially equal to fiber for 99% of practical uses. All of Comcast will get cable uploads of 100 or 1,000 megabits. (DOCSIS 3.1, not 4.0)

Most other cablecos have similar plans to quickly upgrade. It’s cheap: less than $200/home. Comcast doesn’t even have to increase capex.

Top analyst Craig Moffett suggests why some are overbuilding cable with fiber,

There’s a marketing advantage of being able to say you’re an all-fiber plant

Phil McKinney of CableLabs counters with

There’s this perception that fiber has picked up some kind of a brand premium, but at the same time it’s also a lack of understanding. Is it really an advantage, or is it simply marketing, How does that apply to the cable industry?
There’s a Fiber Plus branding effort that really got started in Europe first. ONO in Spain, which is now Vodafone Spain, came out with the Fiber Plus branding.

Phil also notes, correctly

There just isn’t enough labor. Look at all the construction happening in the U.S. And
other governments around the world doing something similar to what’s happening in the U.S. on a slightly smaller scale. It’s putting a lot of strain on the workforce.

The labor shortage is likely to end in a year or two. Massive training is on the way, at companies, state programs. and community colleges.

BT avoided this problem by initially going slowly in its buildout. They hired and trained thousands of engineers. After two years, BT ramped to several million homes passed per year.

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