Yesterday Total Telecom released a white paper written by Keymile and entitled Ethernet Point-to-Point vs.PON: A comparison of two optical access network technologies. As you probably know if you read me, I have written quite a bit on this topic in the past trying to go beyond the religious war that seems to be the basis of most of the discourse on that topic and look at facts, as much as they are available.
It is therefore interesting to me to read what other analysts have written on the topic. I should point out that I don't know Keymile and this paper is the first I have heard of them. The paper is short enough that it's a quick read and clearly structured, if a bit dry. From a methodology standpoint, it lacks sources, which in this instance and considering how contentious the issue is in the right circles (or the wrong circles, depending on your appetite for tech talk) is probably a failing.
Still, what's interesting to me in these is a couple of things:
- The "commonly accepted view" by most of the industry is that point to point doesn't stand a chance. This study concludes the opposite, and so strongly that even I (who tend to agree with that view) thought they were not being very neutral.
- The core argument that threads throughout the technology and business analysis presented is longevity or, in economic terms, option value. Faced with the question "do you go for cheaper and shorter lived or more expensive and longer lived", the study decidedly falls on the side of the latter.
What is missing in this paper is a dimension which I hope to address in a report that I'm working on with my colleague Phil Marshall on this topic and that's the adequacy of the two technologies to the cultural mindset and organisational constraints of existing players. Ultimately, I feel (and perhaps fear) that this will weigh more in the ultimate success of either technology than the technological and even financial arguments themselves…
Addendum: It has been pointed out to me since I published this that Keymile is a manufacturer of P2P solutions, so keep that in mind when reading their white paper!