News, Product Review

FTTH beats Coaxial and Asymmetric DSL speeds by orders of magnitude

Broadband operators have long known that Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is superior to coaxial cable or Asymmetric DSL (ADSL), but it is only recently that a systematic analysis of data from France, carried out by Benoit Felton, CEO and Chief Research Officer of Diffraction Analysis, and reprinted in the May/June 2016 issue of Broadband Communities magazine, has shown just how much more speed customers can get from FTTH compared to alternatives.

Of course, as a post on the Streaming Content blog reminds us, DSL is the past, cable is (in many places) the present, and fiber is the future – and, increasingly, the present in many communities across the world. This is because, on average, DSL speeds are slower than cable, and cable speeds are, all else equal, slower than fiber. But by how much does fiber beat these other technologies?

To find out, Felton compared FTTH to the baseline “best available cable offer,” or 200 Mbps download, in the French data. By doing this, Felton made sure not to stack the deck against cable, but rather to stack the deck in the opposite direction: Felton compared FTTH speeds at all service levels to cable services advertised at 200 Mbps. “What this means,” Felton says, “is that the comparison is unfair to FTTH because the baseline for the incumbents’ FTTH is 100 Mbps.”

In the end, Felton found that FTTH “is more than twice as good on download as [coaxial cable] (and 45 times as good as ADSL), 13 times as good as [coaxial] on upload (and 130 times as good as ADSL) and twice as good on latency.” The Upshot? “No matter how you slice it, [coaxial] is not as good as FTTH, and pretending otherwise is just plain lying… FTTH and [coaxial] are different, and customers should be aware that what they are being sold is not the same thing.”


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