Vivo, Telefonica's (NYSE: TEF) Brazil subsidiary, has set a goal to expand its Fiber to the Home (FTTH) services to 230,000 subscribers by the end of this year.
"Last year we didn't expand our coverage much, but in 2013 we are working to double our coverage, entering new cities," said Andre Krieger, head of FTTH services for Vivo, at the TM Forum in São Paulo. "We are seeing a very good response from the market and the customer."
Uptake for Vivo's FTTH service has been swift, rising initially from about 1,000 customers in 2011 to 115,000 at the end of 2012.
Despite the positive take up for FTTH, Krieger said it is struggling to find enough workers to help it keep the expansion program on track.
It hopes resolve the FTTH workforce shortage through its "fiber university," which trains new technicians to deploy and maintain a fiber-based last mile network.
Having a skilled workforce on hand with knowledge about FTTH is important to Vivo since these networks are prone to outages and service disruptions. Vivo said an estimated 49 percent of customer service cancellations are in response to service failure and disruptions, while another 38 percent of problems are related to obstructed fiber ducts.
Regardless of the issues that FTTH poses, Krieger told BN americas that the deployment will give them a leg up on competitors that are implementing a hybrid copper and fiber-based implementation such as Fiber to the Curb (FTTC) or Fiber to the Node (FTTN).
TIM Brasil, Telecom Italia's (NYSE: TI) Brazil telecom subsidiary, is building out a multi-element last-mile network that includes a mix of FTTC/Fiber to the Building (FTTB) network configurations.
With FTTH, Vivo can deliver speeds from 50-200 Mbps and IPTV to the end customer. Last September, Vivo launched its IPTV service over its FTTH network in São Paulo.
An additional benefit is it can leverage the fiber for wholesale Fiber to the Tower (FTTT) opportunities as more of the country's wireless service providers migrate to LTE.
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