FTTH in Thailand, Malaysia

By John Nixon 28/11/2010 2


Back again in sunny Auckland.

I must say that my trip on Malaysian Airlines to KL, then Phuket and back was impeccable. They have very attractive business-class fares, the 777 aircraft was impeccably clean, food and service perfect!

And no, I don’t get any freebies, discounts or other advantages for my recommendations, they are just my honest thoughts on what I experience.

So the mid-year FTTH Asia-Pacific Council meeting is over, and we look forward to the AGM, Conference and trade show in Delhi in May 2011 (see FTTH CAP website).

We had around 100 members, speakers and guests in Phuket from our now 70 member companies. Most of the Asia-Pacific member countries were represented.

Group

After the close of formal business we were taken by TOT (Telecom of Thailand) to a local exchange to see their first FTTH installations. This was a small trial installation of GPON which was mainly servicing a brand-new upmarket housing estate at the Royal Phuket Marina. We then took off for the marina estate stopping along the way to observe the aerial fibre  runs. Then we arrived at this new housing estate. Of course inside the estate the fibre travels underground! (Thank heavens..). We were ushered into the most opulent of water-front residences: a personal marina dock out the front big enough for a 80 ft yacht, 5 huge bedrooms on 3 floors (no lift), several spas, etc etc, all for a cool Thai Baht equivalent of US$4.2 million!

Royal Phuket Marina

A large group of us toured the home and watched the large TV display its FTTH-delivered IPTV programming. Not impressive! Sure the picture resolution was fine, but the programming options were lousy. The Free to Air channels were there of course, and you could apparently order a Macdonald or Pizza Hut meal from the remote and screen. The very popular satellite channels were not there (nor would they probably ever be delivered as IPTV).  Technical and copyright issues make it very difficult to “IP” SAT DTH programming.

IPTV

So we left this very up-market estate, and I wish the developers well. I think it’s over-priced to blazes, particularly for Thailand.

At the FTTH meeting a new member introduced himself to me. He is a well established electrical and electronic equipment distributor in Malaysia and had just won a major contract to install GPON into a large section of Kuala Lumpur. He had heard about FTTH RF Overlay and wanted to know more. I had a stopover in KL so spent a morning with him at his company HQ. The situation in Malaysia is similar to many other countries. They have a number of Free-to-Air TV channels, currently broadcast in analogue on the VHF band, as well as an extremely popular DTH (Direct to Home) Satellite broadcaster “Astro”.

Analogue switch-off is coming up (like most countries) and hundreds of thousands of families will have to swap their VHF antenna for a UHF version to get the new digital terrestrial Free to Air channels.

If these programs are delivered over fibre, then there is a huge saving in not having to replace these antennas. As well, the Astro DTH service can be also delivered at the same time on the 1550 nm wavelength.

Consequently the one fibre brings into each household your fast internet, your VoIP phone and your broadcast TV, both Free-to-Air and SAT programming without costly conversion to IPTV and using the same equipment (TVs and Set top boxes) as before the arrival of fibre.

Needless to say, this new prospective client is keen to explore the RF SAT overlay option for their new FTTH rollouts.

Anybody interested in this technology can find an easy to read description on my web site: www.onefibre.com.


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