India is already on its way to becoming a digital economy. Ubiquitous and continuous connectivity has reached much of humanity, thanks to the forward thinking of the government back in the 90s. It is time to look ahead 30 years to the acceleration of technological progress in the digital realm.
Even after accounting for the impact of Covid-19, the World Bank expects the economy to grow at a rate of 8.7 percent in the fiscal year 2022-23, which is among the highest in the world. Only adequate expenditures in the digital infrastructure can fuel this expansion.
In this decade of network creation, where we are going to create the next leg of the digital economy for India, fiber connectivity is crucial. As the world ushers into the 5G era, one of the key success factors will be taking tower fiber densification from the present 34 percent to over 80 percent.
The digital infrastructure that we create today will pave the way for a new digital India in the next 30 years. Now is the time to design and build fiber networks that are robust, technologically advanced, and will stand the test of time.
Here are some considerations to win the fiberization game:
- Choose technologically superior, bend-insensitive fiber. With the explosion in data consumption worldwide, network operators are under increasing pressure to innovate and scale data transmission. Do we deploy 3G networks in the 5G era, and if not, why are we using 3G fiber? For FTTH and 5G, cutting-edge optical fibers have become critical enablers. Despite the fact that networks are heading toward last-mile connectivity, many players are still using legacy bend-sensitive fibers. We all know that bending an optical fiber causes stress, which further causes data loss and micro-fissures in the fiber. This leads to permanent damage and a shorter network lifetime. While D2 fibers are cheaper, investing in A2 fibers, which are bend-insensitive, will reap benefits over a period of time. This fiber seamlessly integrates with legacy fibers, delivers superior bend-resilient performance, and simplifies field installations.
- Easing out the supply chain challenges –moving from products sourcing to solution enablement. As we move toward connecting millions of premises to reach the last mile, Telcos and other network creators should think of enabling end-to-end solutions, including optical interconnect products like enclosures, fiber-management system, FAT boxes, etc., to optimize the demand on the field, and ease out the supply chain management. It will not only optimize the cost but will also take away the delays in projects due to the non-availability of partial materials.
- Focus on TCO by choosing network deployment by experts. Finally, choosing the right quality and specs of fiber and interconnect products as a solution is only half the battle won. The fiber network will not endure as long as it was intended, if it is not deployed efficiently. Therefore, it will become increasingly important to think of fiber deployment in terms of quality at scale to achieve desired results. In this scenario, leveraging deployment and network-integration professionals with technology-led fiber deployment capabilities can be a game-changer in achieving rapid network rollouts and lowering the total cost of ownership.
To win in the 5G era, the priority on quality and performance with a comprehensive end-to-end approach of network deployment, encompassing every part of the process from optical fiber products and sub-system kits to network design, maintenance, and upgrade will deliver long-lasting results. The core philosophy of network lifecycle and long-term gains should define the cost structures and deployment approaches. Network creators should see the big picture and look at fiberization, not as a price game, but as a quality game.