You can argue with AT&T’s Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN) strategy, but you can’t argue with the new CEO’s perspective on what really matters in broadband services: making them available quickly. In an interview with Om Malik, Randall Stephenson points out that the issue is not about choosing one technology (FTTN or FTTH), but about getting high-speed broadband (and IPTV in AT&T’s case) to customers fast.
I bring this up because as much as I’m drooling over Verizon’s fiber network, it’s really not necessary, or practical, for everyone to move to FTTH immediately. It takes time to lay fiber, and there are other ways to deliver fast broadband services and to expand broadband services quickly. AT&T is mostly taking the FTTN route to offer TV. Cable operators are using technology like switched digital video and channel bonding to increase capacity for new services (like Time Warner’s Start Over or Motorola’s Program Restart) and more HD content.
The point for consumers is not what kind of network technology is getting broadband to their doors, but whether it’s delivering what they need. If consumers are getting the bandwidth and services they want today, they’re not going to care if it’s arriving on a fiber network or via a Cable PON solution that will one day offer full optical network capabilities. The technology just has to keep up as their broadband needs evolve. Speed is important in more ways than one.
P.S. If anyone reading this blog is from Maine, imagine the title of the blog read aloud with the appropriate accent: “You can get thaiyah from haiyah.”