MDU Developments: FTTH (Fiber To The Home) adds about $5,000 to the price of a home.
The ability to carry information is called bandwidth.
Lots of bandwidth allows lots of information
to be carried. Fiber has a lot of advantages
over copper wire or coaxial cable, as it is
easier to maintain and delivers far more bandwidth.
Below discusses one of the biggest advantages.
Once installed, fiber is upgraded
by changing the electronics
that creates the light pulses, and
not by replacing the cable itself. The
fiber is amazingly reliable. Nothing
hurts it except a physical cut, or the
destruction of the building it is in.
Passive optical networks, or PONs, are
the most common type of network.
They use a minimum of electronics.
In fact, there are no electronics
at all between the provider’s central
office and users. This improves network
reliability and cuts deployment
costs. But optical networks that do
require electronics in the field have
some advantages as well, especially
when a network is built to carry content
from multiple providers on the
same fiber. Either way, the amount of
power needed to run a fiber network
is far less than that needed to run a
coax or other copper network. This
aids reliability and contributes to sustainability
As we noted, bandwidth providers are
increasingly bringing fiber optics all
the way to customer premises. That
technology, FTTH or fiber to the
home (also called FTTP, for fiber to
the premises) is the “gold standard.”
Almost as good – at least for the
short term – is bringing fiber to the
basement of a building (FTTB) and
distributing it over copper wires to
the apartments or business premises
within the building.
Where the population density is low,
or where high-quality coaxial cable or
copper networks exist, it may make
sense under some circumstances to
bring fiber only partway to the customer.
The fiber is then connected to
the existing copper for the last jump
to users’ premises.
As time goes on, fiber is moved closer
and closer to the customers, to provide
more bandwidth. That approach
is called FTTN for fiber to the “neighborhood”
or “node” or (for greater
bandwidth) fiber to the curb (FTTC).
Today, the looming bandwidth needs
are so large, and FTTH construction
prices so reasonable, that going
straight to FTTH makes more
economic sense in
Even in rural
more to build,
but the builders
can expect much
In the US until recently, single-family
homes have been the easiest to equip
with FTTH. Apartment buildings and
other multiple-dwelling-unit (MDU)
structures in the US started to be
served with FTTH in really large numbers
only in 2006.
MDU fiber service is already common
in Europe and Asia, however. Thus,
there is no “technology risk” in specifying
FTTH now, in any circumstance.
Virtually every large developer of
single-family homes, condominiums
and rental properties has an active
program to add FTTH to new properties.
Most are working on retrofitting
older properties as well. That
work has expanded as new home
sales have fallen.
What do the major players know that
not all smaller developers realize?
Before the boom ended, Michael
Render of RVA LLC estimated, on
the basis of surveying home buyers
and developers, that FTTH adds
about $5,000 to the price of a home. The size of the increase
is less certain now, but it is clear that
FTTH homes sell faster.
Nevertheless, some smaller developers
were on the sidelines until recently.
That’s now changing. By mid-2006
it was clear that FTTH was economically
viable in new developments with
as few as 80 MDU living units or 100
single-family homes. That number
has continued to fall due to improvements
in deployment technology.
As fiber and fiber deployment costs
have continued to come down and
copper costs have increased, fiber
has achieved cost parity with copper
in nearly all new construction – even
without taking the added home value
--Broadband Properties Mag