Little Slovenia, part of the Big Fiber Dream

Slovenia is one of those tiny nations you may have heard off but may have difficulty finding on the map. Independent for about 16 years, the country with a population of over 2 million was carved out of the old Yugoslavia. Despite its diminutive size, it is one of the important players in the fiber-to-the-home revolution that is slowly sweeping the world.

The local incumbent, Telekom Slovenije, has launched a project, F2, a massive fiber to the home project that will get 50,000 Slovenian homes fiber-based broadband access by end of 2007. (PDF) That may not sound like much, but it still is an important piece that adds to the growing number of will add to the overall FTTH deployments worldwide, which are slowly and steadily increasing.

According to UBS Research, there will be between 1 and 1.3 million fiber homes by end of 2007, and by 2012 this number could hit 10 million. In comparison, US will have 18 million and Japan will have 30 million fiber-connected homes. (Andrew Schmitt has compiled a nice state of the FTTH report.)

As the deployments of fiber-to-the-home increase, the economies of scale are going to kick in, and lower the cost of fiber deployment, which in turn can drive more network build outs. According to some estimates, the cost of FTTP deployments are decreasing between 5%-to-8%, though folks at Verizon claim a 22% decline over past two years from $1021 to $796.

The slow and steady build-up is going to lift many boats it seems. Today PMC Sierra, a chipmaker announced that it had shipped products that were deployed in four million PON units. Tellabs is another company that is counting on the fiber to really power future growth, and is working with not only big players like Verizon but also with smaller communications companies like Ntelos.

It is going to be interesting few years as fiber snakes it way into our homes, bringing more bandwidth, and possibly opening up opportunities for new applications. And while all the attention be focused on the big nations, lets not forget Slovenia’s fiber dream.

PS: If you would like to share tips, thoughts and information about the fiber rollouts, please send them our way. A big hat tip to D.H., who has been keeping us informed for years now.