What is Open Fiber and how it works

Open Fiber's ultra broadband network is coming to Italy too: here's what it is and how the new infrastructure works

With Open Fiber, the ultra broadband network is coming to Italy. Main mission is to build an entire fiber optic infrastructure, from the transmission cabin to the end customer's home, on the entire national territory in order to overcome the digital divide and ensure the entire population to use a fast connection, up to 1 gigabyte per second.

The future of connection is on ultra broadband regardless of the area where you are, from large cities to the smallest villages, ensuring that everyone can take full advantage of the potential of FTTH technology. Founded in December 2015 and changed over the years to become the current reality in the first quarter of 2017, Open Fiber pursues the objectives of the European Digital Agenda, the Italian Strategy for Ultra Broadband and the Gigabit Society. At the base, therefore, there is a common plan for the identification of minimum levels of connectivity of all countries that come together in the European Community, from institutions to companies, up to citizens.

What is Open Fiber

Open Fiber, a technology project created by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Cdp) and Enel Group, is an operator that provides fiber optic "wholesale only". What does this mean? Unlike other commercial operators, it does not provide plans dedicated directly to end users but instead rents its infrastructure to operators in the territory for distribution.

Open Fiber's main task is, therefore, to create the infrastructure of the fiber optic network, from excavation to laying, or to use the infrastructure already available where this is possible. Everything is made faster and more effective thanks to the possibility of exploiting the areas and excavations previously made for the passage of electricity cables, thanks to the presence of Enel within the project.

Currently, Open Fiber has in the pipeline the possibility of covering through fiber optics more than 270 cities and 7 thousand municipalities throughout the Italian territory, all by 2023. Once available, it will be the task of the operators to rent the network and propose to their customers the connection plans and rates to take advantage of the 1000 Mega FTTH network.

Open Fiber, what do the acronyms FTTC and FTTH mean

When we talk about Open Fiber there are two acronyms that we hear mentioned more often: FTTC and FTTH, what do they mean specifically? First of all, it is right to specify how the two acronyms identify as many types of technologies, Fiber To The Cabinet and Fiber To The Home.

Specifically, FTTC indicates a connection that provides for the presence of a fiber optic cable that connects the central transmission to the street cabinet, also called cabinets. The second part of the connection, that is, the stretch that connects the cabinet to the home, is made of copper. Although it can reach speeds of 100/200 Mbps, this technology is affected by some particular conditions, such as the distance from the cabinet, temperature changes or weather conditions; it is therefore a limited network, not able to guarantee the optimal performance of a full fiber connection. In order to identify it, AGCOM has chosen to represent it with a yellow sticker bearing the FR mark, that is fiber/copper.

The FTTH network, that is the fiber optic connection from the transmission center up to the house, is able to guarantee a more stable connection and more performing performances; a step back is instead the one called FTTB, that is Fiber To The Building and that identifies a single fiber optic connection from the central station to the condominium switchboard and a last copper stretch up to the single apartment. The use of fiber optics on the entire route ensures a maximum speed of 1 Gbps, with minimal dispersion, and a lower environmental impact due to the resistance of the entire bundle of filaments that make up the cables. In this case, AGCOM has chosen a green sticker, with the abbreviation F for fiber.