Glass-fibre is a long proven transmission medium for high data rates and will become important also in the access networks in the next few years as they have to evolve, because the old copper cables will no longer be adequate to meet the growing demand for high bandwidths for internet applications, especially high-definition television (HDTV).
"Fibre to the Home (FTTH)" refers to a telecommunications network that is fed into all business premises, and single and multiple occupancy dwellings using fibre optic cables. In most cases up to now, fibre optic cables have not been fed into the houses of private individuals and small companies, but have primarily been used for connections in the backbone networks, for connections between the central office and the street cabinet and for the provision of services to larger companies and business premises. The access network (the "last mile") into residential properties has mainly relied on twisted pair copper wires or coaxial cables. FTTH is the final expansion stage of the fibre optic network, i.e. fibre optic cables are laid to private dwellings.
Several companies are already investing in fibre optic access networks in Switzerland. In order to discuss solutions for co-operation in terms of network construction and the standardization of network access, the Swiss Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has organized a first round-table in summer 2008. Since then, the heads of the main companies involved in construction of fibre optic access networks met in total four times for a round-table discussion.
Four working groups
On the initiative of the round table, four working groups were formed. Lead by the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), they draft solutions for a better coordination of connection of households using fibre optics in Switzerland.
The first working group ("L1") is dealing with the specification of internal domestic cabling and the second ("L2") with standardisation of network access at the transport network level. A third working group ("L1B") dealt with defining the transfer points - those points where the operators' and alternative providers' networks are connected up - and the fourth group ("AG3") dealt with recommendations on drafting the contracts between house owners and fibre-optic network operators.
Further information about the four working groups are available on OFCOM's website: