Today’s TV cable and internet connections won’t be able to accommodate the rising demand for bandwidth, says FTTH Council Europe director general Hartwig Tauber.
Despite the arrival of technologies such as 4K, video on demand and 3D, TV still mainly reaches our homes through old-fashioned coaxial cables.
Ageing traditional broadband and cable networks are holding back developments in broadcasting: IP-based content delivery offers a new broadcasting experience but it repeatedly jitters and pauses to buffer and services are limited, which means customer dissatisfaction.
Fibre to the home (FTTH) networks offer a solution, by providing the highest speeds, both downstream and upstream.
High and steady bandwidth on fibre networks offers better audio and video quality, high channel counts, less static and interference, interactive options, better hacker protection and online transaction security.
Multiple users per household can view and record data-rich content streams across platforms and devices in real-time.
Fibre’s enhanced flexibility and reliability supports new broadcasting services and business models, including targeted content suggestions and advertising.
Integration of broadband and broadcasting can also provide niche programming, on-demand content and enhanced viewing with additional information per region.
In the USA, fibre may be overtaking traditional broadcast channels.
Verizon’s FiOS fibre package currently offers the fastest cable TV in the US - even though it is not actually a cable TV provider.
According to Netflix vice president of content delivery Ken Florance Verizon’s FiOS outperforms AT&T U-verse hybrid fibre-DSL service.
However, the average UK fibre speed is less than half that of the US.
In fact, the UK didn’t even appear on the FTTH Council’s 2012 list of 35 economies with the highest penetration of fibre to the home or building.
And the average advertised speed in the UK was 15Mbps in May 2011, some 8.2Mbps higher than the actual average speed of just 6.8Mbps, according to Ofcom.
Such differences between advertised and actual speeds prompted the Advertising Standards Agency to introduce new broadband advertising rules.
Today, buying, storing and watching media content is easy, thanks to developments in cloud computing, payment technologies and licensing legislation.
The UltraViolet industry consortium, for example, allows users to purchase and watch content anywhere.
As a 4K film wouldn’t even fit onto a Blu-ray disk, online distribution is clearly the future.
Operators and content providers need to act upon this. Tomorrow’s television will only realise its full potential if it’s powered by fibre - the most high-tech, reliable, enduring and cost-effective solution.
The FTTH Conference, which for the first time includes dedicated film and TV sessions, takes place on 19-21 February at London Excel. Broadcast readers can get a 20% discount using LOFTTH61 code by registering online at www.ftthconference.eu