A panel of executives from top global operators shared challenges and opportunities ranging from connectivity to 5G during Broadband World Forum, finding common ground despite geographic differences.
Greece's WIND Hellas discussed the triple-play provider's plans to address connectivity in line with the European Union assignation of territories to operators.
"Operators were assigned a territory to provide wholesale services to all retainers in that area. In Greece we have... a very short sub-loop length of 100-200 meters. The average speed we have now is almost 260Mbps which gives us a great optimism for deployment," said Antonis Tzortzakakis, chief fixed line officer at WIND Hellas. "We believe we will cover more than 70% of Greece in three years."
For its part, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) already covers most of the Asian nation, providing what's considered one of the most advanced ultra-broadband offerings worldwide since it began providing gigabit services in 2005. That creates a new challenge. (See Hong Kong Blazes an Ultra-Broadband Trail)
"When you look at what Hong Kong has today it is essentially a gigabit market, an ideal market from the telecom infrastructure point of view but that drives competition," said Gary McLaren, CTO of HKBN. "This has resulted in innovation to deal with the competition. TV has moved 100% to an OTT model."
Despite higher speeds, definitive gigabit use cases have yet to evolve, he said.
"We have a gigabit service and people do not want to have to worry about bandwidth so go for this service, though the use cases are similar, mainly driven around video," said McLaren. "The typical Hong Kong household doesn’t sit around one screen. A family of four will all be using separate tablets and they want a Wi-Fi network that keeps up with that."
In Poland, Orange Polska is amid a program to roll out fiber to 1 million households per year, Jean-François Fallacher, CEO of the service provider told UBB2020. This improved connectivity will generate new business opportunities and subscriber uses, he said.
"I think these are very exciting times because we are really investing and this leads to infinite possibilities," said Fallacher. "I’m sure our users will find ways to use the new speeds we can provide."
Of course, 5G also looms as a 2020 market changer. But not all panel participants were enamored of the next-generation technology's impact on broadband.
"Mobile operators are fixated on 5G mobile networks and not really concentrating on 5G fixed wireless access," said Leo Lundy, group CTO of Imagine Communications. "We’re seeing major delays in making 5G spectrum bands available and this is crucial for making 5G a reality in Ireland."
— Gabriella Jeakins is a Digital Content Marketer at KNect365, based in London. In addition to contributing to UBB2020, she is the editor of the 5G + Virtualisation community which supports the 5G World event series and works on the team behind London Tech Week.