Making FTTH Cheaper

[qi:051] The biggest knock on Fiber To The Home (FTTH) technology is that it is too expensive, especially the gear. Some hardware vendors are working hard to bring down those costs. You can expect many such announcements at the FTTP Conference that will kick off tomorrow in Florida. These might not be the big breakthroughs, they are the vital baby steps that are needed if the FTTH hype has to become a reality.

Corning (GLW) will introduce its new ClearCurve, an ultra-bendable fiber-based suite of products, at the conference. These fibers overcome the big problem with fiber — if bent, curved or twisted too much, the signals degrade by a significant degree.

Peter F. Volanakis, president and chief operating officer at Corning, points out that this new cable design will led to reduced size and improved performance of bulky hardware cabinetry. Corning says it will make fiber competitive with traditional copper wire.

At the same event, Neophotonics, a San Jose, Calif.-based startup, is going to introduce a new line of pluggable GPON transceivers. These are optical devices that are used in the equipment that goes in the FTTP central office, and also in the Optical Networking Units (ONU) that go into a customer’s home. In other words, these new transceivers will bring down the costs of the FTTH equivalent of cable or DSL modems a few notches.