Round table on fibre networks: goals achieved

Bern, 16.01.2012 - Many areas of Switzerland are being made more accessible with modern telecommunications networks. Thanks to the discussions at the Round Table on fibre networks and the standards which have been developed, it is possible to avoid the uncoordinated construction of multiple networks and consumers are free to choose their telecommunications service providers. The players in the market and the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) are therefore of the opinion that further discussions at the Round Table are no longer necessary.

At their ninth Round Table, the participants declared that the expansion of fixed and mobile radio networks providing very high bandwidths such as VDSL, cable networks, fibre and soon LTE is continuing to progress positively. Within the framework of the Round Table and the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) industry working groups, it has been possible to achieve practical results, thanks to the cooperation of telecom providers and electricity companies.

The development of broadband is critical for the economy and the information society in Switzerland. Here, Switzerland is seeking to assume a leading position internationally. ComCom therefore coordinates and supports corresponding investments. Its aim is to create the necessary framework for the rollout of fibre to the home (FTTH) and in the process avoid duplication, but also to promote the non-discriminatory use of fibre networks which is as widespread as possible.

The results
Some key goals of the Round Table have been achieved: The network architecture is now being created in a coordinated manner and without duplication. Network access for all telecommunications service providers and a model with multiple fibres inside buildings (the multi-fibre model) is intended to promote competition and offer customers a wide range of providers.
Uniform technical standards for the domestic installation of fibre in individual apartments (interfaces for the connection, socket type, etc.) have been drawn up in various working groups. In addition, property owners and network operators have at their disposal a model contract, which governs the legal and financial aspects of FTTH installations in residential properties. A common platform for orders and customer migration in the fibre sector has been developed and is set to go into final operation this year. This will allow consumers to switch providers in the future without any problems.

Modern telecommunications networks throughout Switzerland
The rollout of broadband is also to be promoted in areas with a low population density. For this purpose, OFCOM established a working group on 31 August 2011 which will provide an overview of the various technologies available to provide Switzerland with modern telecommunications networks. Representatives of telecommunications network operators, electricity companies, associations, cantons and the federal administration will compile and publish data on the availability of high-speed broadband networks, the demand for them and decision-making aids for municipalities and regions.

The Round Table on fibre networks
The round table on fibre networks was launched in June 2008 by ComCom to discuss issues relating to the provision of households with fibre networks. ComCom wanted to prevent the creation of monopolies in this sector which would impede access for other telecommunications providers and obstruct competition. At the same time, construction of the network should be as efficient as possible, in order to allow economically feasible investment. A dozen heads of Swiss companies which are investing in fibre networks have taken part in nine Round Tables.

Fibre to the Home (FTTH)
Fibre to the Home (FTTH) refers to a telecommunications network which extends into any business premises, multi-occupancy dwellings or family homes using fibre-optic (glass fibre) cable.  Glass fibre is a well-proven transmission medium for high data rates and will become essential over the next few years as access networks evolve, because the old copper connections will no longer be able to meet the growing demand for greater bandwidth for internet applications, in particular for high-definition television.

Address for enquiries

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