Alfredo Ramos, director of sales, marketing, customer care, billing & service provisioning for the residential market at Spanish cable operator R, on building out fibre networks across the lush north-west corner of Spain, testing RF over Glass services, and his plans to launch over-the-top (OTT) video services.
Where does R currently stand with its fibre deployment in Galicia?
R has built a fibre backbone regional network joining the main cities and villages of Galicia. In each of these cities we have deployed a HFC access network, with fibre very close to the customers, using a fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) architecture.
But due to our intention to bring fibre closer to the homes, we have deployed a new HFC architecture: fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) with the fibre cable and fibre node inside the buildings and no active equipment (coax amplifiers) from the fibre node up to the customer.
So fibre is located at a distance between 20-50 meters up to the customer. And with the mix of FTTC and FTTB we get 283 homes passed per optical termination point.
On the other side, thinking of evolution to a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, after previous tests in our labs, we are launching RF over Glass field trials with real customers.
RFoG requires maintaining HFC equipment in the headend, and so thinking of “all-IP” services, the future will probably involve deploying and migrating to an x-PON network (10G-PON, WDM-PON, etc). Our fibre infrastructure is ready to face to this challenge.
What take-up are you seeing for your IP-enabled services?
All IP-based services are the most demanded services in our network and are growing quickly, like internet access through cable modems, IP/MPLS VPNs and metro ethernet access for enterprises, centrex IP for businesses, SIP services for VoIP, fixed and mobile converging voice services, hosting + housing + virtualization + cloud services from our datacenter, etc.
What work have you done on enabling Wi-Fi offload?
One of our most innovative services is the activation of a second Wi-Fi interface (SSID) in the DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems of our business and residential customers (project named wificlientes-R).
It is a way for increasing the loyalty of our customers, allowing them to access WiFi services via the networks of our other clients. This service has the advantage that part of our data mobile traffic is off-loaded to our WiFi service, and so it saves costs by not using the cellular network of our mobile host.
On the other side we have opened a complementary project for deploying our own WiFi access points (hotspots) in commercially interesting zones, with the objective of extending the coverage and capacity of our wificlientes-R service. This network would let us offer this capacity not only to our customers, but also to other carriers, non-customers, off-load our customers mobile traffic, etc.
The next step could be deploy a LTE access network with the frequencies we obtained last year in the 2.6 GHz band in a spectrum auction for deploying broadband wireless services.
A WiFi off-load network would give the LTE network an additional capacity with the ambitious and final objective of getting a seamless integration between our WiFi and mobile networks.
What plans do you have to integrate over-the-top services?
The most advanced example of OTT services in our network is a SIP client on the mobile phone, allowing mobile VoIP over the 3G or WiFi networks and fixed-mobile converged services.
In relation to our TV service, for the moment, we only offer trial IPTV services. We have a digital TV and VOD platforms based on DVB-C standards and the evolution we see is towards over-the-top video.
At the moment we are preparing a Request for Proposals for an OTT video platform (or cloud service) for offering our current TV services (linear and VOD channels) to our current customers, wherever they are and on multiscreen devices (pc, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and also for offering certain TV services to our indirect customers (in zones not covered for our own network) where we are using the ADSL service of the incumbent operator.