FTTH – RF or no RF? A big question.

By John Nixon 30/05/2012

I have been vaunting the merits of RF Overlay over FTTH (Fibre to the Home) for a long time.

Yes I confirm that one of my clients is a leading researcher, manufacturer and vendor of 1550 nm RF solutions.

In working with them, I have become convinced that delivering broadcast TV over fibre is an excellent, reliable and inexpensive option.


Today I saw this article “Australia’s NBN ’will not fix’ TV reception“.

NBN has a very spectacular “demo truck” visiting areas where the fibre network will be deployed in the near future.

It’s no surprise that many visitors ask “will NBN fix my TV reception?”.

No it won’t!

These people are talking of course about Free-to-air broadcast TV, not IP-delivered content.

Since Digital Terrestrial TV started here in Australia, we have been quite spoiled by the number of free old and new channels (some 20 different channels and growing).

These include the excellent advertisement-free programming from the ABC on three different channels.

A company called Broadcast Australia owns all the Australian TV transmitters and repeaters. The TV stations of course pay Broadcast Australia to access these with their programs.

Broadcast Australia saw fibre as a potential competitor and subsequently lobbied the Australian Government not to include RF in the NBN specifications.

I was asked by the Australian Senate to argue for the inclusion of RF and my submission can be read here: Senate submission 9mar10. Guess who won?

I must apologise for the change of typestyle (bold), the blog software will not allow me to correct it..


In New Zealand, Crown Fibre Holdings, Chorus and the Local Fibre Companies are closely looking at including RF Overlay into the UFB network there.

It has not been decided yet, but at least they are seriously weighing up the costs and advantages.

Once you have RF over fibre, it is so simple to inject new channels, local programming, ethnic and special interest TV.

Compared to terrestrial transmission, it is so easy and cheap.

I have talked in the past about the new Super High Definition standards for future TV.

I have just received confirmation that ITU has blessed these new 4k and 8k formats, which will emerge now that standards have been officially defined.

Trying to pump the bandwidths required for these standards as IP (IPTV) will seriously strain, if not break the data link of FTTH.

Why not offload all of this huge broadcast TV bandwidth on to a separate wavelength and free up the pure data channel?

IPTV and RF Overlay are totally mutually compatible, one does not rule out the other. The link to the ITU announcement is here: UHDTV ITU report


I am delighted to be attending CommunicAsia again this year in Singapore. If you are coming, please make sure to say hello (19-22 June at the new Marina Bay Sands complex). You can track me down me by asking at the BKtel GmbH booth.

China and ALU

Just as I was about to close and post this blog, I saw news of the huge sale (Euros 100M.) by Alcatel-Lucent for GPON/EPON gear to China Telecom. When we are so used to seeing everything “Made in China” these days, I do applaud ALU for pulling this off.

Huawei must be fuming!

A bientôt!