Swisscom has outlined plans to provide 80% of all the households in Switzerland with ultra-high-speed Internet access by no later than 2020. Its plan includes a mix of technologies. While fiber-optic cables are being rolled out directly to homes and businesses in many towns and larger municipalities, Swisscom is focusing on fiber-to-the-street (FTTS) in areas away from major urban centers. Swisscom says it has now selected Huawei as its strategic partner and supplier for the FTTS expansion.
From the end of 2013, Swisscom will start offering ultra-fast Internet and multimedia services, even in areas which will not be connected to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in the coming years. To this end, Swisscom is laying fiber-optic cables to within about 200 m from buildings and using the existing copper cables to cover the remaining distance. FTTS enables bandwidths of up to 100 Mbps with current technologies. In three to four years, bandwidths of 400 Mbps or more will become possible, the operator says.
In early 2012, Swisscom put out a public call for tender for the supply of the FTTS network elements. Several network supply companies responded to the call. Having thoroughly examining the different offers, Swisscom picked Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. The two parties have now signed a collaboration agreement, which will run for eight years.
“We are pleased to be expanding our existing collaboration with Huawei on fiber-optic expansion. In Huawei, we have found an excellent, trustworthy partner with many years of experience and a high degree of security awareness,” said Heinz Herren, head of network and IT division at Swisscom. “Their solution offers us the best technological possibilities for expanding our FTTS broadband network in Switzerland.”
The contract primarily covers delivery of the active network components for installation in Swisscom cable ducts and construction projects. The contractual volume will be about CHF 300 million ($325 million) in total and is a part of the planned investment budget. In 2013 alone, Swisscom expects to invest approximately CHF 1.75 billion ($1.9 billion) in infrastructure expansion in Switzerland.
Swisscom launched FTTS pilot networks in the municipalities of Charrat (Valais), Grandfontaine (Jura) and Flerden (Grisons) in the autumn of 2012. Huawei’s technology will be implemented in these three municipalities. The first customers in these communities can already use services based on these new technologies. Swisscom will start to roll out FTTS at other locations by the end of 2013. The operator will also provide reseller offers for other telecommunications and Internet service providers on the new access technology to support competition.