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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Credible rumors leaking as to who's made the Bells' FTTP shortlist

Dave Burstein runs the DSL Prime site and is very well-informed on the Bells' broadband deployments. His weekly e-mail reports this week on a recent report by securities firm UBS giving the latest on the Bells' search for FTTP (fiber to the premises) vendors. Here's his summary of the UBS report as well as his own comments:

"FTTP short list bid under $300"
"Bringing together the three big bells got an extraordinary price and built the DSL market, and I've confirmed at least one of the fiber bids is under $300. That's low enough to make fiber the obvious choice in any new build, and plausible in other circumstances. I'll have more perspective next issue, but the information below seemed so timely I rushed this issue out. If you are interested in the FTTP bidding, run, do not walk, to your IR department and get a copy of this morning's report from Nikos Theodosopoulos, James Hillier, and Long Jiang of UBS."
"'We believe, based on our industry contacts, that the FTTP short list includes AFC, Alcatel and Motorola/Quantum Bridge. ... Other bidding consortiums that did not make the short list could possibly get on it ... are Fujitsu/Entrisphere and Siemens/Quantum Bridge. ... If all vendors live up to their commitments, then we expect a selection among the short is likely to be made sometime in the fourth quarter.'"

"'Deployment timetable still 2005 but could be smaller in scope. ... UBS met with SBC management two weeks ago, and they reiterated their view that the economics of FTTP still favor only deployments for greenfield construction and not overbuilds. We also continue to believe BellSouth is more focused on fiber to the curb (FTTC) type deployments and will not be an aggressive builder of FTTP. Thus, Verizon seems to be the only RBOC of the three that is aggressively considering FTTP for both greenfields and overbuilds. Therefore, we now expect the actual rollout of FTTP is likely to be closer to 2 million rather than 5 million homes per year in the first few years of deployment.'"

Dave goes on to note:
"Theodosopoulos and team have been consistently among the best informed in the business, so I'm comfortable passing on their conclusions without an opportunity to verify them. Details are sure to change, but what they report about the Bells is consistent with my research as well."

"Note that VDSL is now under $100 for similar performance, and does not require new fiber runs. I therefore believe part of the FTTP deployment will be fiber to the basement/curb, and VDSL the last thousand feet. I discussed this with Wegleitner and BellSouth a while back, and they both said to ask them again when the saw the final price of the fiber gear."

Many thanks to Dave for permission to quote from his newsletter.

This information is also consistent with an assessment by Lehman Brothers reported by Mary Janders in Light Reading earlier this week.

[Follow up 00:59, August 21: Dave has now posted his newsletter on line]


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