Broadband Access

The world broadband market continues to grow, despite the fact that the economic slowdown reduced the growth rate of ADSL in the mature markets. This was compensated by growth in the emerging markets and the gradual process of replacing ADSL with new-generation networks. The IPTV market confirms its growth trend and was only slightly affected by the unfavorable economic situation.

In 2008, activity development continued, both in terms of the product range and the acquisition of new markets and customers, in the main CPE lines. These include Residential Access Gateways, Small Business Access Gateways, Set-top Boxes for IPTV and auxiliary equipment such as Extenders (devices for distributing IPTV in the home), PMPs (Pirelli Management Platforms, that is, software systems for remote management of CPEs) and Terminals (dual-mode phones).

In the line of Residential Access Gateways, the new IAD ADSL2+ (Integrated Access Devices with integrated VoIP termination) was introduced and successfully launched with Italian operators such as Telecom Italia and Fastweb, and foreign operators like Alice France.

A variation of the product, based on VDSL2 technology, was qualified for Telecom Italia and, together with the GPON - ONT (Gigabit Passive Optical Network – Optical Network Terminal) termination – also pre-qualified for Telecom Italia – will direct the latest NGN (Next Generation Networks) access projects which will be able to increase connection speeds to 100 Mbps, thanks to fiber optics transmission coming closer to the user. The ADSL2+ access gateway lines of medium-low range (Wi-Fi and Combo Routers) have successfully directed entry opportunities towards emerging operators, who initially favored low-cost solutions (Teo Telecom, Telecom Argentina, Wind and Tele2). In 2008, solutions for fixed-mobile convergence and mobile connectivity were established that are scheduled to be structurally expanded in 2009.

As far as the new Small Business Gateways line is concerned, development was completed of the IAD ADSL2+ product for users with up to 4 voice channels, for which the IP-PBX (Internet Protocol - Private Branch Exchange) software functionality was also introduced. The product can be used to replace conventional office switchboards at a very low cost.

For the Set-top Box (STB) line, cooperation with Alcatel-Lucent was consolidated through the certification of Pirelli Set-top Boxes in the Alcatel-Lucent end-to-end solution. This has resulted in the Pirelli products being selected for customers such as Arcor in Germany and CYTA in Cyprus, and means that the company can offer its services for pre-qualification to potential customers such as the Telefónica Group.

The increase in the number of customers using Telecom Italia’s Alice Home TV service also boosted the volume of demand for the relative hybrid IPTV model with digital terrestrial TV, creating the basis for an important reference in the market.

The Extenders line brought the DEX-W50N product to maturity. It is based on Wi-Fi technology that has been optimized to transport IPTV video content. The product was positively assessed by pre-qualification tests in the laboratory conducted by various European operators and was selected by Telecom Italia for its IPTV service.

PMP, that is, the software for the remote management of CPEs, reached a level of stability and maturity with its current customers (Slovak Telekom and On Telecom). Thanks to this fact, it has acquired increasing consideration from a series of potential "Tier2" customers, in conjunction with the sale of Pirelli CPEs, and numerous evaluation campaigns have been launched. In addition to the product being further exploited as a software platform for value-added and B2C services, it has been given the additional function of a Web portal, to enable direct interaction between Pirelli and its customers.

The Terminals line maintained its positioning on the new-generation dual-mode (GPRS and Wi-Fi) telephone based on Windows Mobile 6.1 technology, seen as a product that will lead to many new applications and services.