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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
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FTTH Forum 2008

 - 05/11/2008

Logotype of Next Generation networks (RNG), Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) The FTTH Forum 2008, dedicated to New Generation Networks and to fibre optics telecommunications access for houses in particular (FTTH – Fiber To The Home), will be held on 5th and 6th November at the Centro Cultural de Belém. This technology enables much higher bandwidths than those possible with ADSL and is able to carry high quality voice, Internet, television communications and interactive applications through the bandwidth that is effectively supplied and the availability of symmetrical bandwidths for downloads and uploads, which are considered indispensible for the Internet of the Future.

The conference will take place a mere three months after the Government set promoting investment in New Generation Networks as a strategic priority for Portugal and laid out guidelines for doing so, with particular focus on connecting 1 million users to New Generation Networks by 2010.

Key questions regarding the installation of networks, optimising commercial models, mitigating investment risk and optimising services will be debated based on 25 presentations from international specialists.

The President of Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), intervening as a guest speaker at the beginning of the conference, drew people’s attention to New Generation Networks not only requiring the installation of fibre-optic infrastructures, but also the development and provision of advanced services over broadband and joining up with mobile broadband.

New Generation Networks promoted by public bodies are making decisive progress

At a time when operators are taking their first decisive steps towards New Generation Networks and issues related to investment and management and business models for this type of network are the subject of discussion, the President of UMIC presented two examples of New Generation Networks promoted by public bodies with the support of UMIC – one in e-Science, for the Science Technology and Society Network (RCTS), and one in e-Inclusion, for the New Generation Community Networks.

e-Science: in the scientific and higher education system

RCTS currently provides FCCN-owned fibre-optic cable connections to more than 70% of the higher education system (by number of students) and has had an international 10 Gbps connection since July 2008, roughly ten times the July 2005 figure.  Of further note are several recently developed services made available by the RCTS, which are crucial for its value as a New Generation Network, including:

e-Inclusion: in four less affluent areas: Vale do Minho, Vale do Lima, Terra Quente Transmontana and the District of Évora.

The New Generation Community Networks have been under construction since May 2008. Technical conduit for over 50% of the more than 1000 km planned for the 4 projects underway has already been laid (See the Weekly Progress of the Broadband Community Networks Projects): Vale do Minho, Vale do Lima, Terra Quente Transmontana, District of Évora. These are public broadband networks in less affluent regions or where there are gaps in the telecommunications market, to be operated under a multi-operation system and providing identical access to all operators tendering to operate them. The 4 Community Networks should be concluded before the end of the year.

The signals market is gearing up for the New Generation Networks, and in particular for FTTH, as broadband penetration of households doubled, and tripled among the population from 2005 to 2008, reaching 39% and 33% respectively. Of further note, in accordance with the data published today by the INE (Portuguese National Statistic Institute), Internet use by students and people with secondary education or above is very high, 97%, 87% and 91% respectively. These figures are comparable to those in Scandinavian countries and far in excess of the European Union averages. Even the figure for people who have not finished secondary education, which is of course much lower (26%), grew 57% from 2005 to 2008.

Last updated ( 16/07/2010 )