BellSouth, SBC, and Verizon to adopt common technical requirements for Fiber-to-the premises technology, formal RFPs on the horizon

29 May 2003 Atlanta, GA, San Antonio, TX, and New York Lightwave -- Three of the nation's largest telecommunications service providers--BellSouth, SBC Communications Inc., and Verizon--today issued a letter to telecom equipment manufacturers, alerting them that the providers will soon be seeking proposals for equipment based on a set of common technical requirements.

29 May 2003 Atlanta, GA, San Antonio, TX, and New York Lightwave -- Three of the nation's largest telecommunications service providers--BellSouth, SBC Communications Inc., and Verizon--have adopted a set of common technical requirements based on established industry standards and specifications for Fiber-to-the Premises (FTTP) technology used to connect homes and businesses to telecom networks.

The three service providers today issued a letter to telecom equipment manufacturers, alerting them that the providers will soon be seeking proposals for equipment based on the common requirements. BellSouth, SBC, and Verizon will independently finalize their FTTP deployment plans for 2004 and beyond, based on the evaluation of these proposals, ongoing internal studies, and on the resolution of related regulatory issues. E

Upcoming rulings from the FCC could settle some of the uncertainty regarding new technologies such as FTTP and clear the path for companies to deploy new and E powerful networks. For example, the FCC is expected to soon issue its final order under its Triennial Review of network interconnection regulations. That ruling, the first of several anticipated, is expected to include provisions that more clearly set forth the FCC's policy regarding new network technologies like FTTP, including the extent to which unbundling and pricing regulations such as those imposed on traditional copper technologies will apply on a nationwide basis. The FCC also has additional proceedings under way to address other potential regulatory hurdles to deployment of these new technologies.

FTTP will enable service providers to deliver nearly unlimited bandwidth and a full range of applications directly to residential and business customers. FTTP can accommodate next-generation applications such as ultra high-speed Internet access and networking, multiple voice lines, and even high-definition video applications. U

The use of common technical requirements, based on existing technical standards, will enable equipment manufacturers to cost-effectively develop and build FTTP equipment for BellSouth, SBC Communications, Verizon and other service providers. Today's announcement positions the industry for economic deployment of fiber optics much closer to homes and businesses, enabling these communications customers to see faster rollout of powerful broadband services. In addition, the new technology will offer enhanced overall network reliability and service quality.

"Fiber to the premises could be the most fundamental and important enhancement in telecom communications services sinceIwireless networks were built," contends Matt Davis, director of Broadband Access Technologies at the Yankee Group. "With these common technology requirements, and the expected resulting manufacturing economies, widespread FTTP deployment has the potential to spur new telecom investment, stimulate competition across the spectrum of communications and entertainment services, and enable innovative, bandwidth-hungry applications for consumers."

"This development could set the foundation for the network of the next century, coupled with the core high-speed voice and data networks in place today," adds Mark A. Wegleitner, chief technology officer at Verizon. "Given a supportive regulatory environment, we can begin to build a network that will profoundly change the way Americans communicate."

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