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WBBA unveils guidebook for global broadband investment at BDC Barcelona
Tue, 19th Mar 2024

The World Broadband Association (WBBA) has issued new guidance to encourage consistent investment in the development of global broadband networks. The Broadband Investment Guidebook, unveiled at BDC Barcelona 2024, outlines critical considerations for stakeholders seeking to make prosperous investments in broadband infrastructure.

The guidebook offers stakeholders crucial knowledge amidst the continuing rise in investments in Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) rollouts and Passive Optical Network (PON) technologies.

Kevin Halsey, VP of Strategic Initiatives at Ookla and a Co-author of the Guidance, said, "Investors are recognising the vast potential of broadband infrastructure. For new and veteran investors wanting to build a strong business case, the guide we have released will provide them the tools they need to make informed decisions."

Broadband infrastructure investments have traditionally been focused on FTTP rollouts. However, there is growing interest in other broadband technologies like Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and deployments of next-generation PON fibre technologies offering accelerated speeds of 10Gbps and above. There are also increasing investments in networks beyond last-mile access networks.

With the rising usage of Artificial Intelligence, demand for data centres has grown. Data centre networks with speeds of up to 400Gbps are soon expected to become commonplace.

As these network investments evolve, potential investors need further support to carefully navigate this progression and make smart investments. These needs are addressed in the WBBA's guidebook, which helps stakeholders assess how broadband architecture investments can be enhanced. The manual covers strategies for boosting demand for broadband, reducing network rollout costs, and best practices and strategies for further innovation.

Longjie Xu, Co-author and WBBA Working Group Co-Chair, Senior Engineer at China Telecom, stated that "operators make critical choices" during investments. He commented, "They need to choose the right funding model and evaluate whether they can finance rollouts alone. Our guidebook explores different methods that can facilitate decision-making on the right model for business needs, enabling stakeholders to play a key role in financing significant broadband infrastructure."

This knowledge also extends to the different business models available to potential investors and their appropriateness in varying investment scenarios. Whether stakeholders are operators, governments, regulators or financial institutions, the guidebook can deepen their understanding of broadband infrastructure investments.

Stephen Wilson, Senior Principal Analyst of Broadband Technology at Omdia, highlighted their role in guiding the development of optimal broadband investment strategies. Through innovative analysis and real-world use cases, they aim to inspire greater participation and foster innovation within the broadband market, ultimately driving profitability.

Wilson stated, "We provide the insight needed to develop their optimal broadband investment strategies through our groundbreaking analysis and use cases. We hope it inspires more people to participate and stimulate innovation in a profitable market."