Optimal Model for Digital Agenda Broadband Targets Fulfilment in Small Country Rural Areas -SLOVENIA

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Optimal Model for Digital Agenda Broadband Targets Fulfilment in Small Country Rural Areas -SLOVENIA
Digital Agenda Category:
High Speed Broadband
Operational in Current Region
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Laboratory for Telecommunications Faculty of Electrical Engineering University of Ljubljana
Telekom Slovenije is the national operator of a public fixed network. Its primary network is based on copper technology. Over the last years it has rolled-out a branched FTTH fibre network in areas with higher population densities, primarily in urban areas. Itis also improving the reach and quality of services with FTTN – shortening ofthe copper local loop in its copper-based network so that the fibre part of the backhaul network is brought closer to the end user.

The rural area of Slovenia accounts for 81% of the territory, and 23% of all households belong to this area. The suburban area accounts for 16% of the territory and 29% of the households. In the rural and suburban area (97% of theterritory) there are together 420,000 households which account for 52% of the 810,000 households in Slovenia. In these areas, the copper-based network of Telekom Slovenije remains predominant. Today the network provides Internet access at 30Mbit/s to 140,000 households. This means that, at present, 260,000 (62%) households in these areas cannot be provideded with transmission rates envisaged in the Digital Agenda.

Given the fact that in areas where networks were built with public funds Telekom Slovenije owns a copper-based network which could be reused, a feasibility study has been conducted. This study should show what the technical and commercial possibilities of upgrading the network of Telekom Slovenije were to provide all citizens in the area with broadband transmission rates of at least 30 Mbit/s.

It has been establishedthat the most appropriate technology for broadband access isFTTH/point-to-point. The main problem of FTTH is price, due to highconstruction costs, which depends on the distance from the end-users locationto the functional location (CO). In order to reduce the costs of the deploymentof a particular broadband connection, the technical solution FTTN combined withVDSL2 technology can be applied. In this case the copper loop of the existingcopper-based network will be shortened. The backhaul of the network will beupgraded by using fibre to move closer to the subscriber. Given the fact thatthe aims of the Digital Agenda have to be taken into consideration, and thus atransmission rate of at least 30 Mbit/s has to be ensured, it is necessary toemphasise that the application of this technical solution is limited, as thecopper local loop must not exceed the distance of 1 km. In case of commercialinterests on part of the operators or the end-users this technical solution can be upgraded to the solution FTTH/point-to-point.

In scarcely populated areas with a low density of end-users and their distancefrom functional locations neither FTTN nor FTTH technical solutions arefeasible, i.e. economically justified. There a wireless broadband network can be applied by deploying open base stations where a LTE network can be rolledout. LTE technology belongs to the group of technologies where bandwidth is distributed among end-users (who use the wireless broadband access simultaneously). But given the fact that the technology would be used inscarcely populated areas as a fixed access, and it would be suitable forsimultaneous installations of equipment of different operators, this would notpose a restriction factor in regard to ensuring transmission rates of 30Mbit/s.

On the basis of a detailed analysis of the existing network of TelekomSlovenije and the layout of households in rural and suburban areas, it wasestablished that the optimal technical solution, which would at the same timebe the financially most affordable, would be a combination of FTTN, FFTH andLTE solutions.

This technical solution would for the most part use the existinginfrastructure of Telekom Slovenije. This would reduce the investment costs substantially in comparison to a greenfield deployment of a broadband NGN. The estimated investment adds up to EUR 470 million, and it could be realized within six years.

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