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SDAN: Get a strategic advantage in the hyper-competitive FTTH market

Image of a sphere shaped network connecting lines with geometric forms

The roll-out of fiber is in full swing, rewiring the connectivity landscape with gigabit and multi-gigabit broadband FTTH networks. However, FTTH operators face a formidable challenge: a hyper-competitive battlefield marked by overlapping networks and falling margins. This is where software-defined access networks (SDAN) emerge as a strategic weapon, empowering operators to streamline operations, unlock new revenue streams, and differentiate themselves in a highly competitive business environment.

A new paper from Analysys Mason explores the possibilities of SDAN in detail. It explains how the initial FTTH rollouts were driven by the twin focus of speed and coverage. However, the need for a decent ROI meant that this approach has resulted in a fragmented network landscape, where multiple operators cross geographical areas with overlapping infrastructure. In the UK, for example, there are over 100 active altnets, most of which only have ambitions to pass two percent or less of total national premises.

Graph_The number of FTTH and HFC infrastructure plays, by coverage ambition, selected countries, 2023_Nokia SDAN

This leaves operators competing for a finite pool of FTTH customers through aggressive pricing strategies, ultimately squeezing profitability. In this environment, maintaining and enhancing competitivity requires a major shift – a move towards operational excellence and revenue diversification.

Enter SDAN, with the power of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to transform the traditional access network into a dynamic, automated platform.

Why is automation important for improving operational costs and efficiency?

Automation is key. According to Analysys Mason research, reducing operational cost was still the #1 driving factor for FTTH operator’s automation initiatives in 2023.

SDAN eliminates the manual aspects of network configuration and provisioning through automation of routine tasks, reducing human error and freeing up valuable resources.

Automation leads to zero-touch provisioning: no more truck rolls and technician visits for every new service activation. SDAN's closed-loop automation streamlines the process, enabling rapid service provisioning with minimal human intervention. This translates to faster time-to-market, reduced operational costs, and a significant improvement in customer experience.

Another area Analysys Mason look at is how SDAN makes the most of data in a FTTH network. Through SDAN, operators gain real-time insight on network health, resource utilization, and customer experience, enabling proactive issue identification and resolution. This translates into improved service quality, reduced downtime, and a significant boost in customer satisfaction. Imagine identifying and resolving network congestion before it impacts customer experience, ensuring a seamless and reliable broadband connection.

How does SDAN lead to new FTTH revenues?

The power of SDAN can also lead to differentiated services. SDAN enables operators to slice their FTTH network into virtual slices, each offering unique levels of bandwidth, latency, and service guarantees. This caters to the growing demand for high-bandwidth applications in B2B and premium residential markets, enabling operators to tap into lucrative new revenue streams.

Slices can also be offered up in a wholesale or NaaS (network as a service) business model. This allows operators to monetize their network infrastructure through partnerships with content providers, managed service providers, and other players in the digital ecosystem. Analysys Mason estimates a potential revenue uplift of 17 percent for operators with SDAN in B2C, B2B and wholesale markets.

Ready to learn more about SDAN?

The potential when SDAN is applied to a FTTH network extends far beyond cost savings and operational efficiency. It empowers operators to adapt with agility to the ever-evolving demands of the digital landscape, innovate their service offerings, and ultimately, enhance their reputation in the FTTH market. To delve deeper into the details and explore more examples, download the full Analysys Mason report here.

And to learn more about Nokia’s SDAN solutions, visit our webpage.

Filip de Greve

About Filip de Greve

Filip De Greve is Product Marketing Director for the Fixed Networks division at Nokia. In that role, he is focused on the go-to-market for innovative fixed access broadband solutions. Filip has over 20 years experience in the telecommunications industry and held various roles on provider and supplier side providing leadership in executing projects, technical consultancy and customer delivery. He holds a Ph.D. in the Telecommunications and Information Technology from the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Connect with Filip on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter

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