Two approaches can be taken towards the development of Fiber to the Home (FttH). One is all about its commercial potential — the sale of the most awesome commercial applications in relation to video entertainment, gaming and TV. The other is a perhaps more sophisticated approach — from the perspective of social and economic development.
Of course the two are not mutually exclusive. Those who successfully follow the commercial route create an infrastructure over which those other social and economic applications will eventually be carried as well. This is quite a legitimate route, but the reality is that most people in this situation will say 'the FttH entertainment applications are absolutely awesome, but totally useless'. In other words, nice to have but it is highly unlikely that people will pay for them.
We basically see this with such commercial FttH deployments around the world. Commercial FttH subscriptions cost consumers well over $100 per month, and at such a price penetration in developed countries will reach no more than approximately 20%. That will not be sufficient mass to launch other social and economic applications over such a network.
If we are serious about those national benefits we will have to treat FttH differently — not just as another telecoms network, but as national infrastructure. However the all-powerful telcos will fight such an approach tooth and nail, since that would make their network a utility. They are used to extracting premium prices based on their vertically-integrated monopolies and they are in no mood to relinquish this. Simply looking at the amount of money telcos spend on lobbying reveals that they do not want to see government making any changes to their lucrative money-making schemes.
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