Friday, April 18, 2008

Qwest going "fiber to the node"

A Salt Lake Tribune article from April 9th, (see here) had some interesting news about Qwest investing in more fiber in Utah. I have included a portion of the article below.
Utah consumers interested in getting ultra high-speed Internet service may no longer have to wait for the financially struggling Utopia network to keep its promises.
Qwest Communications International Inc., as part of a $300 million company-wide initiative, this year plans to invest millions of dollars to beef up its Wasatch Front network by running fiber-optic lines to many of the neighborhoods it serves.
The technology, known as "fiber-to-the-node," initially will provide Internet users with speeds of up to 20 megabytes per second, and eventually 40 Mb/s, said Jerry Fenn, who oversees Qwest's operation in Utah as its president.
Qwest later this month will reveal how much it intends to spend in Utah and where the new service will be available, he said.
Service providers on the fledgling Utopia network now typically offer speeds of 15 Mb/s to 50 Mb/s, although much faster connections are possible.
"We're planning to have this [fiber-to-the-node technology] available to over 200,000 homes and businesses in Utah by the end of the year," Fenn said, indicating the footprint will be expanded as customer demand grows.
What I find most interesting about this is that on October 16, 2007 at the Woods Cross City Council meeting, I remember the Qwest representative stating that they don't believe in the business plan of running fiber to homes. I know that this new strategy is not running fiber to the homes but it is bringing fiber a lot closer to the homes than before. Has Qwest's thoughts on this strategy changed, or do they still only believe in "fiber to the node" and not to the home? It would seem to me that they would be able to do things a lot cheaper if they decided to run their services over the fiber that UTOPIA has already installed and quit fighting against UTOPIA.


Jesse Harris said...

Qwest's entire business model would collapse if not for the vertically-integrated monopoly they now control. I evaluated their statements on FTTN and concluded that they plan to spend more than UTOPIA on a per-megabit and per-household basis to deploy an inferior network. Does it make business sense? Heck no, but they just can't bring themselves to compete on even footing after over a century of being propped up by federal and state legislation.

This is probably why Qwest's stock price has been in the sewer for many years and why Comcast is content to barely be better than them. I hope that Woods Cross will see the light that Qwest's and Comcast's cake is a lie and find a way to pony up for a real communications network.

George said...

But, who (what home owner), will pony up for the $1,000.00 installation fee for Utopia? Not too many I think. Some new internet technology from silicon valley, something called 'rip torrent' is going to allow us to download movies in a few minutes on existing lines. We won't need fiber optic lines.

Jesse Harris said...

George: Consider this. Comcast wants $150/mo for their 50Mbps/5Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 service if/when it gets rolled out to Utah. Over a year, that comes out to a total of $1800 presuming that they don't charge for installation or the modem.

Getting 50Mbps/50Mbps service from XMission over UTOPIA is $55/mo plus a $1000 installation cost. In that same year, you just paid $1660 for better speed from a better ISP. After two years, that $140 savings jumps to $1280 over Comcast.

Still thinking that the install cost is a bum deal? Yeah, me neither.

As for BitTorrent, Comcast made a lot of news when they started blocking BitTorrent connections and randomly disconnecting users who used too much of their unlimited Internet. (Comcast failed to say how much they used or how much is too much either.) XMission, on the other hand, has a clear transfer limit and no protocol blocking.

George said...

Thanks for the info Jesse!

Maybe there is life ahead for Utopia...