Development of Fastweb’s FTTS network

The project was part of a programme to install 13,000 new street cabinets in over 20 cities - with 5,000 km of fibre laid to connect them to the central stations and new devices installed in every cabinet - to offer Ultra-Broadband services to 3.5 million families and businesses by 2014.
The project
To complete phase 1 of the project, demanding activation targets were required. This was a very strategic infrastructure for Fastweb, which was looking to create the most extensive last-generation fixed network in Europe by an alternative operator. For this reason, the performance of providers was crucial and closely watched by the top management.  SITE rose to the challenge and met the expectations, achieving its targets in the areas of Bologna, Bergamo and Genoa within the pre-established time frame. The company was able to strengthen its relationship with the customer as a result of this successful completion, setting the stage for phase 2. This goal could not have been achieved without the proactive approach we showed at every stage of the production process. Our proactive behaviour was manifested from the start, during network design, when we guided the customer in their choices, through to the management of the third parties involved, such as the Enel power company for the electrical connection of the cabinets, and Telecom Italia for copper line connection to the Fastweb cabinets. In this complex management, the capabilities of the single individuals played a critical role in optimising the entire process.

Customer: Fastweb S.p.A., an Italian telecommunications company specialising in terrestrial telephony and broadband connections.

Problem: Prior to the FTTS solution (excluding certain exceptions in Milan), the only data connectivity available to Italians was provided by the ADSL technology that transmits digital information over twisted-pair telephone lines.

The project A fixed network connection comprises, by definition, a cable – generally buried – that links the user’s home or office to the local cabinet, which – in turn – is connected to the central office. The nature of the connection is defined by the types of cable used for these two links – from the user to the cabinet and from there to the central office – and the related terminology differs accordingly.
FTTS Fibre to the Street is the terminology that defines the fibre-optic connection from the central office to the local cabinet, thus retaining the twisted-pair line for the final link, over a distance of generally less than 250 metres, from the cabinet to the user’s home.
In recent years, Fastweb has invested significantly in upgrading its network to provide ultra-broadband services. Given that this infrastructure is highly strategic to Fastweb’s objective of creating the most extensive, new generation, fixed network of all alternative operators in Europe, the performance of its suppliers was critical and drew the attention of top management.
SITE was able to match up to these expectations and pressures, reaching the installation targets set in the assigned areas within the estimated time allowed. This achievement was only possible due to the pro-active efforts made at all stages in the production process. Commencing from the network design, where we guided the decisions to be taken by the Customer, through to management of all the third parties involved, such as ENEL for the electrical connections to the cabinets and Telecom Italia for the copper links to the Fastweb cabinets, A complex project, where the ability of individuals, working together, to optimise the entire process was decisive.
Today, more than 90 towns and cities are connected to the Fastweb ultra-broadband system. SITE worked in more than 20 of these, installing about 2,600 local cabinets capable of providing ultra-broadband connectivity.

Advantages: Introduction of the FTTS solution (FTTCab for TIM and Vodafone) has made the carrier “hybrid”, in that fibre-optics are used as far as the local cabinet, with final data delivery using VDSL technology over twisted-pair lines. This technical solution allows for transmission bandwidths of up to 100-200 Mbps, compared with a maximum of 8-15 Mbps obtainable using the most advanced ADSL protocols.

Future developments: This new network installation provides SITE with major new opportunities for growth, as:
1. the FTTS solution is the first step towards the final answer: FTTH (Fibre to the Home). Based on a project to be launched in 2018, this will allow connections of up to 1 Gbps. Having successfully installed the first part of the network, SITE is especially well placed to tackle the second part of the project.
2. The existing network needs maintenance and the excellent performance of SITE during the installation phase has enabled us, working in a consortium with other firms, to obtain a contract to maintain the FTTS network and the entire FO network at national level.