Thursday, July 17, 2008

Slow speeds sting UTOPIA FTTH - Une vitesse réduite gêne des abonnements de UTOPIA

Utopia-BoxI'm in the US for a wedding in Portland and I helped the groom move his things out of his current house in Utah this week. I found out he had a UTOPIA FTTH connection so I asked him if I could take a look. I snapped this picture of his installation in the basement and I was excited to try out the connection.

Luckily he had given me some warning so I wasn't too disappointed. It was very slow and I was unable to get more than 3 Mbit/s download from to an ISP in Utah. Sure there are a lot of factors at play with these speed tests but it did get me thinking. UTOPIA (and iProvo) face some serious challenges and it will be very difficult to convince consumers to switch to fiber if the offers and services aren't better than the one I tried with UTOPIA. In fact, it took us over 10 minutes to upload the pictures I took of the installation to a mail account. The ISPs need to do much better than that if they want these rollouts to obtain high penetration rates and cover their costs.

Now contrast this US FTTH deployment with an apartment LAN fiber test I did in Korea the month before using Powercom. I was able to achieve 12 Mbit/s down and 20 Mbit/s upstream all the way to the server in Japan on a Sunday afternoon (screenshot below).
I believe the only way to make FTTH projects viable is to offer fast enough speeds to differentiate the offers from DSL and Cable. Sadly, UTOPIA didn't have to stretch too far to outshine cable and DSL but the service I saw wasn't even able to do that.