The spread of Metropolitan Area Networks (Mans) in the UK could be slowed down unless utility companies or local councils get involved in rolling them out.
According to a study by Cisco on the key economic drivers of Mans, a Metropolitan Ethernet network will only be viable in major European cities - such as London and Milan - that have a high density of residential and business customers in multiple-dwelling units.
Smaller cities can only hope to have Mans deployed if a utility company or local council become involved.
The financial success of a project depends on the expectation of the organisation driving it. A typical service provider looks for a high rate of return on investment, whereas a provider working in tandem with a utility company or a council would take a longer-term view of projects.
The report found that labour, operational and marketing costs were a far more significant financial factor than capital expenditure.
It looked at a wide range of factors from demographic and regulatory barriers to revenue and service aspects. The results were calibrated using two existing businesses where Ethernet over fibre has been widely deployed: Fastweb in Milan and Bredbandsbolaget in Sweden.
Analysts consider the major barrier to Mans in the UK to be lack of awareness. Landlords, for example, could improve the value of their property holdings by connecting their buildings to Mans.
Keith Humphreys, senior consultant at analysts EuroLan, said: "I don't think anybody has been out there doing a really good job to educate the market, which is peculiar because if you look at who owns buildings there must be a handful of landlords to get business from."
Mark de Simone, vice president of technology solutions and marketing at Cisco, said Mans could help stimulate the flow of money into development areas.
"The attractiveness of a region for business investment and skills is greatly enhanced when next-generation broadband is available in the local area," he said.
De Simone added that advanced services such as video on demand and IP video surveillance meant Ethernet over fibre was "a prerequisite".
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