Fibre to the home: third round table

Bern, 01.05.2009 - For the third time, the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) debated questions related to opening up households to fibre-optic networks with 10 heads of Swiss companies at a round-table discussion. Participants learned with satisfaction that certain general principles are beginning to become established in the expansion of glass fibre in Switzerland. Also, the three working groups set up in December 2008 have drawn up their initial concrete results. There are now solid foundations for consolidating models of cooperation between the players in the market.

The discussions in the working groups have so far been constructive and have produced initial results with regard to standardisation. At today's third round table the market participants discussed these results as well as the regional forms of co-operation for network construction which have been compiled in the meantime. Of fundamental importance for the participants it is that the investors maintain their interest in developing the fibre-optic infrastructure. At the same time the telecommunications service providers must receive fair access to the fibre-optic infrastructure right to the home. This should be based on a uniform technical standard. This work represents achievement of an important step towards a leading FTTH development in Europe - these investments in the FTTH construction have a stimulating effect on the economy. A further round table will take place in the autumn.

The working group on specifying home cabling (Layer 1) has established a reference model for the home connection with common concepts and reference points for network interconnection. The telecommunications service providers have agreed on a common socket type. The working group is pursuing work on specifying other points which require standardisation.

The working groups on standardising network access (Layer 2) has also established a reference model with common concepts and defined interfaces for interconnection. It is now working on further detailed specifications for these interfaces, the processes for providing layer 2 services and a standard offering for layer 2 services.

The working group on contractual issues is working on recommendations for the contractual arrangements of agreements between house owners and fibre-optic network operators relating to the provision and use of the home fibre-optic installation. The work will shortly be complete. There is agreement on the following prerequisites: competition and investment protection must be facilitated and inordinate commitments by house owners should be avoided. Discussion continues on whether installations within a building should take the form of at least four fibres per leasehold unit or per floor.

At the second round-table discussion on 1 December 2008, the participants welcomed the formation of three working groups by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) to look into various issues related to opening up homes to fibre-optic networks. The working groups consist of representatives of the telecommunications service providers, electricity companies, manufacturers, the association of house owners and OFCOM.

Fibre to the Home (FTTH)

Fibre to the Home (FTTH) describes a telecommunications network which extends via fibre-optic cable into every business, multiple dwelling or family home.  Glass-fibre is a well-proven transmission medium for high data rates and will be necessary in the next few years as access networks 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.

In autumn 2008, ComCom decided to conduct discussions with market players about this form of development; in this way it wishes to prevent the creation of monopolies which make access more difficult for other telecommunications providers and obstruct competition At the same time, network construction must take place as efficiently as possible, to allow economically appropriate investment.

Address for enquiries

Marc Furrer, ComCom President and Philipp Metzger, OFCOM Vice Director.
Tel. 032 327 55 50 (OFCOM Media Office)


Federal Communications Commission ComCom