July 17, 2017 by Gregory Bathrick

Pondering the Questions: Is Gigabit Important? Will Copper Ever Die?


The question “How important is gigabit?” kicked off a panel discussion at the Ultra-Fast Broadband Seminar in The Hague last month.

Most super users argue they can’t live without gigabit. But for many of us, gigabit isn't about what you can do with it today, but what WILL be possible with it tomorrow. Today’s gigabit providers are market leaders and subscribers are switching so that they are not left behind. If you question this, look at what happens every time Google announces gigabit. Incumbents spring to action to protect their subscriber base. So yes, gigabit is very important!

With fiber fueling gigabit, the next question was “When will we say goodbye to copper?”. The answer was unanimously NEVER! And there are two reasons. First, the new copper alternative Gfast is capable of gigabit speeds and is the preferred technology in existing MDUs in densely populated areas where copper infrastructures exist. Second, there will always be residential areas that are too dispersed for fiber to ever be economical.

So, service providers are faced with the question of where best to apply capital for gigabit. Most marketers leverage billing data when trying to assess a subscriber’s willingness to spend. Unfortunately, this data is insufficient in identifying their potential needs. Marketers must learn how subscribers use their existing service. Are they a big gamer? Are they heavy OTT users? Calix Marketing Cloud enables the service provider to see which subscribers simply are good targets for gigabit services and that can lead to knowledge on where service providers should focus their Gfast and PON solutions.