FTTP deployment and adoption outside of South-East Asia is much slower than anticipated and often the result of small-scale initiatives. The core reason is that incumbent operators are often the only ones with the financials to consider such investment, and they’re structurally reluctant to endanger their existing copper-based cash flows. Policy makers, by and large, still see the world with the incumbents at the center and as a consequence policy incentives to deploy are targeted at those who have no incentive to deploy.
What is starting to emerge at the fringes is a fragmentation of the network as local initiatives take place. These are usually small scale and with some public financing (but not always), but could gather momentum especially as existing local utilities start looking into that market. The consequences of the fragmentation are potentially important on the whole ecosystem with a bigger than ever need for a unifying layer ‘over the top’ (although, as Doc recently blogged, there’s fragmentation happening there too…)
The missing piece of the FTTP puzzle still is funding. Well designed infrastructure projects have all the characteristics that long-term stable funds like pension funds look for, but there’s an inherent defiance towards telecoms, a sector that is known for its instability (and generally known for its poor management performance).