Thursday, October 01, 2009

Lattelecom announces jump to 500 Mbps fiber to the home

Lattelecom will start offering upgrades to 500 Mbps of its fiber-to-the-home (office)or FTTH service in the second half of November, Raivis Mackevics, the head of Lattelecom's optical technologies unit told this blogger. The current top speed to its around 2 600 FTTH subscribers is 100 Mbps. Another 700 connections are on order.
Lattelecom says just under 25 % of Riga's households (more that 77 500 housing units) will have access to FTTH by year end, with an FTTH build-out to start in the cities of Jelgava and Daugavpils by year end as well.
The slow uptake of FTTH, which in some package deals is priced under Lattelecom's existing DSL services, may reflect the operator's slow and cautious approach with the new technology. Rival cable TV, telecoms and internet service provider IZZI suffered from a Twitter-driven public uproar earlier this year when its 100 Mbps DOCSIS-based high speed internet suffered glitches.
Also, Lattelecom may see FTTH as the last great hope for its IPTV service, which recently chalked up 30 000 subscribers, compared to well over 100 000 subscribers each at Baltcom TV and IZZI, who offer conventional and digital cable TV. FTTH at 500 Mbps is more than adequate to feed several TV sets watching high-definition programming and Lattelecom says multiple watching of different channels will be enabled with its optical internet.
However, viewing habits may be hard to change -- cable has been around since the 1990s, and Latvian viewers will be reluctant to switch, rip out old cables and set-top boxes and adjust to a new assortment of channels. Also, in times of economic crisis, the number of HD flatscreens owned by households is unlikely to rise rapidly, never mind multi-screen households.
As I put it in my Latvian-language blog, Lattelecom's FTTH "beast" isn't loved by very many people yet. Given the chance, of course, I will get the service as soon as it is offered in my downtown (Center) Rīga building. Lattelecom, however, is prioritizing the so-called bedroom areas of Riga with their large, Soviet-era multi-unit high-rises (9 stories is "high"), which makes sense.

1 comment:

staevart said...

Good for Lattelecom and Latvia! We here in the US feel we're doing well if we are able to get 5Mbps service. If one lives in a rural area like Vermont where I live, dial-up is the norm. And why is this the current state of affairs here? (Watch out I'm about to get political)Because it is not in the vested interests of the US telecom industry to expend FTTH beyond the major metropolitan areas (New York, Chicago, LA, etc.). Our "government" is a wholly owned subsidiary of the 1% and their commercial interests and therefore is not allowed to get public/private programs launched to get the country even into the late-20th Century (broadband-wise). We are witnessing the demise of the US as a world leader...which in some opinions may not be a bad thing.
So bravo for Latvia - you rock!