Dark fibre grows across Europe

New European study reaffirms the continued expansion of dark fibre in Europe, with steady growth averaging at 8% per annum

New research by consulting firm BroadGroup reveals that dark fibre growth continues to be sustained in European metro markets, but will be faster and more substantial in Central and Eastern Europe .

An update of a report from 2005, the new European study reaffirms the continued expansion of dark fibre in Europe , with steady growth averaging at 8% per annum, continuing through to 2012. BroadGroup says that the boom and bust approach to new network deployment has vanished, and has been replaced by an air of caution with speculative fibre build out being kept to a minimum and mainly focused on the access part of the network to the customer site in metro markets.

What the analysis firm says is the most strikingly feature of its report is evidence that dark fibre is becoming a service of choice for an increasingly large number of companies, and is emerging as a marketplace of opportunity, rather than its former image as an arcane and inaccessible part of the network. BroadGroup says that new players see it as a service to sell to enterprises and other operators, rather than a strategic asset to retain.

“The contrast between western markets, and those in the east reveals something of the divide,” commented Steve Wallage, managing director at BroadGroup Consulting. “Equipment suppliers and operators should be leveraging the current opportunities which will provide strategic assets for the future. However regulators need to move more quickly to open markets to altnets without whom broadband connectivity will leave the significant customer base under served.”

Research for the report suggests that, in some instances, dark fibre is more prevalently perceived as a tactical deployment, as investment focuses on network upgrades to engage in future triple or quad plays. WiMAX, rather than dark fibre, is also recognised as a cheaper way to bypass the local loop, according to the report. NRENs are driving demand for dark fibre across the entire region compared to enterprises.

However, BroadGroup predicts that much is forecast to change, and future opportunity for dark fibre will emerge as more strategic. In the first instance, BroadGroup says that it has identified a clear need to elevate dark fibre from its perception as a raw unmanaged capacity to a quality longer term investment, that delivers a range of standard and premium managed services.

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