eir steers its FTTH strategy with Comsof Fiber

Automating FTTH analysis

In brief

  • eir is the incumbent fixed line operator in Ireland passing 1.6 million out of the 2.34 million premises nationally with NGA CVDSL/EVDSL broadband and more than 200K FTTH premises in both urban and rural networks
  • The company provides retail and wholesale fixed broadband to almost 930K fixed broadband customers nationally
  • eir uses Comsof Fiber Simulator to steer its FTTH strategy for future urban and rural rollouts, yielding flexibility and time savings

The challenge

In 2012 the Irish government announced that Ireland should meet the EU’s 2020 digital agenda of providing a minimum of 30Mbps to every premise in Ireland. Even though eir was rolling out fiber-to-the-curb nationally in 2012 it became clear that fiber was the only long term scalable solution to deliver this minimum requirement and meet future bandwidth requirements.

eir carried out small rural and urban fiber-to-the-home trials. “They were very insightful, but it wasn’t possible to scale up and evaluate these findings. As we had a small planning team and no automated FTTH planning tools”, explains David Renehan, Principal Access Network Strategist at eir.

Manual network planning requires close collaboration between different teams. But that’s not easy as all teams have busy schedules. Manual planning is also a very slow labour-intensive process and is quite inflexible as it prevents you from quickly rerunning different design scenario across your trial areas.”

Outsourcing would have been an option. But we chose not to do this for strategic reasons as eir would miss out on valuable insights. It’s important to make the right decisions where to deploy FTTH in the years ahead. It needs to be based on a full understanding of the cost per home passed and on a set of design rules that consider building densities and infrastructure types.”

“It’s also vital to be able to analyse potential FTTH rollout areas on the fly. So we can respond to our competitor’s moves.”

The solution

“Our contacts at the Belgian operator Proximus told us how they automate a lot of their planning process with Comsof Fiber. So, we asked Comsof consultants to carry out a test simulation based on a rural trial area.”

“The results of the initial test were promising and convinced us to use the software on a trial basis. We started by running a few simulations in parallel with an FTTH manual design process. That’s how the benefits of the system became clear. So we decided to purchase the Comsof Fiber Simulator software.”

“It’s important to carefully listen to the client“, adds Gustav Janssens, Lead Consultant at Comsof. “What solution are they looking for, and why? eir has a small and highly experienced team. Which means they knew very well what they required and expected. Because of this good understanding, we were able to obtain a good cost estimate and deliver the project on time.”

“Calculating FTTH deployment costs with traditional methods could have taken months. With Comsof Fiber Simulator, it took us a week.”

David Renehan

Principal Access Network Strategist at eir

The results

Quick simulations, accurate estimations

“The major advantage of Comsof Fiber Simulator is the short time it takes to complete simulations. We use the tool to steer our FTTH rollout strategy and provide greater insights into homes passed costing when building our FTTH business case. It gives a very accurate cost estimate, along with a high-level bill of materials. And we can analyze all this inhouse, with just two engineers.”

Change designs as often as you wish

“It’s easy to change design rules and rerun the simulation again and again, which is impossible to do manually. So work that could have taken months to carry out manually, we can now do in a week. In other words, it’s an invaluable cost-effective tool that helps us get the best from our resources.”

Get additional insights

“The software provides lots of additional insights. For example, what’s the impact on homes passed costs as the linear density increases or decreases across the simulator planned area?”