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Interview: Dave Berstein on the NBN, construction and VDSL

xDSL, fibre, construction and gigabits

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The Register: In the last week or so, America's Fibre-to-the-Home Council has released its survey of its members. Its claim is that out of 350 fibre-owning ISPs in North America, the fibre opex is, on an average, 20 percent lower than for copper, ranging between 9 percent lower and 30 percent lower, depending on who reporting it …

Dave Berstein: It's remarkable how lose those numbers are. When they first started going out with fibre, they said that since it's a permanent installation, you don't have to go out into the field, people like Verizon were saying they'd save 70 percent. So I was amazed to find the fibre guys being proud that they're going to save 20 percent – especially because this is all brand-new network, with today's technology, than something that's 40 years old!

The Register: So what did we get wrong in our predictions ten, fifteen years ago, in how we thought it was going to play out? Where did that other fifty percent go?

Dave Berstein: I don't know. It probably was hyperbole in the first place, and people who wanted to justify fibre, who thought it would be great for everybody … getting too optimistic. Realistically, savings are real, but they're not enough to justify the fibre costs by themselves.

The Register: So it turned out to be a simple matter of reality [being] less than forecast.

Dave Berstein: I can tell you that in the places I know, like Verizon, they didn't come close to the savings they thought they'd have. On the other hand, as the fibre council is saying, there are real savings.

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