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The Warsaw Voice » Business » October 1, 2010
TECHNOLOGY NEWS
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Poland Needs Broadband Networks
October 1, 2010   
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What needs to be done to ensure that broadband networks really do have a broad band and a broad range, as their name implies? The answer is simple—it is necessary to modernize existing networks and to build new ones. We all understand what this should involve in the case of road building. We feel that we need freeways, trunk roads, municipal roads, local roads and so on. A road has to reach every house and it would be best if its final section were as comfortable as the rest of the road.

Optical fiber in every home
The same is the case with a broadband network. We need backbone networks, metro networks and access networks. There is a shortage of each, especially access networks, in Poland. Access to a fiber optic cable for every house, building, apartment and office has to be a priority in the construction of broadband networks. They should be supplemented with radio access based on the latest HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) and LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technologies. But if the optical fiber ends too far from the end user, the result will be a backbone or metro network rather than an access network. And vice-versa—a super access network without a connection to the backbone network is like a housing estate without an exit road. You need the whole to have the network, to build an information society and achieve technological progress.

We cannot afford half measures
In Poland, we cannot afford temporary solutions. Being contented with half measures—which in the case of broadband networks means using narrowband radio systems as the main solution without band and quality guarantee or hybrid systems based on copper cables, optical fibers and hotspots—is an undertaking that will lead us nowhere. In a few years, most such networks will become useless because of the lack of appropriate functionalities. We will spend money to build “narrow unpaved paths.”

New-generation technology
It is not quite true, as many would have it, that fiber optic cables are very expensive, because this is like comparing apples and oranges. It is necessary to compare the costs of building networks equal in terms of functionality. If we want to provide high-quality services through a sufficiently fast connection then the price of fiber optic cables and optical systems is unrivaled. The only competitor could be a mobile internet network based on new-generation wireless HSPA and LTE technology, mainly because of the system’s mobility and capacity. In fact, the two systems complement each other.
A broadband network is an FTTh (fiber-to-the-home) network. We can also build FTTb (fiber-to-the-building) and FTTt (fiber-to-the-tower) networks provided that last-mile systems offer sufficient functionality instead of imposing their own constraints.

If we aspire to become an information society we cannot afford temporary arrangements. And EU assistance helps us avoid shoddy solutions.

Artur Ciemiecki, head of the broadband and IP solutions department at Ericsson
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