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Algerie Telecom pioneers African FTTH strategy

This year will witness a national Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) network throughout Algeria in what is believed to be Africa's first business strategy to incorporate FTTH. The impetus comes from the opportunities for Algeria of adopting triple-play technology.

Algérie Télécom, which is aiming for 3 million ADSL customers by the end of next year (six times its present number), has now become the first operator anywhere in Africa to incorporate Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) as a key section of its business strategy.

In fact, FTTH is not the sole reason for Algerie Telecom's interest in this technology. The triple-play opportunities of voice, broadband Internet and television lie behind the company's ambitious plans, thereby evening out the price penalty from installing fibre-optic, which tends to be expensive if not sufficiently exploited.

Sagem will be supplying the expertise and materials to enable the FTTH system for Algerie Telecom. Initially, the triple play will apply to four cities, namely Alger, Constantine, Orange and Setif before nationwide roll-out in the course of the next twelve months.

Malik Hachelef, who is overseeing Algerie Telecom's FTTH roll-out, has stated: "The service will consist of a modem that can connect to the fibre network that will give very high capacities allowing either triple or quadruple play." Further clarification has come from Algerie Telecom CEO Slimane Kheiredine, who has authorised WiMAX to plug gaps  where ADSL is not available, thereby creating connections to IPTV.

In the case of IPTV, Algerie Telecom has been receiving advice from Korea Telecom and British Telecom to create new TV services. There is currently an urgency to provide IPTV because a merger between the existing suppliers, Canal Satellite and TPS, has meant that Algerian smartcards are no longer valid.

Clearly, different tactics are called for if Algerian viewers are to enjoy enhanced TV services, and FTTH, despite it being expensive at local level, offers opportunities not only for customers but also for Algerie Telecoms to consolidate its own market position.

more info: www.algerietelecom.dz

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