CenturyLink widely deploys Calix GPON equipment for mobile backhaul

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009 -- The new Calix 766GX, 766GX-R, and 765G-R ONTs are designed to address demands of next-generation mobile services.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009 -- Calix, a communications equipment supplier focused on access technologies for broadband service delivery, has reported that telecom provider CenturyLink (CenturyTel Inc.) has selected the new Calix 766GX, 766GX-R, and 765G-R GPON optical network terminals (ONTs) for fiber-fed mobile backhaul services. CenturyLink has begun implementing this application throughout its service areas in 33 states, which range from small rural communities to large metropolitan areas like Orlando, FL, and Las Vegas, NV. The ONTs can be used in conjunction with the infrastructure of Calix C7 platforms deployed throughout the CenturyLink footprint.

CenturyLink is leveraging Calix GPON-fed mobile backhaul equipment that supports multiple T1 and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports to provide its mobile operator customers a cost-effective way to address the increasing demand for bandwidth-intensive multimedia and data services by mobile subscribers. The transition to Long Term Evolution (LTE) is on the horizon for many mobile operators, which necessitates backhaul rates of at least 100 Mbps. GPON gives wireline service providers a tool to meet demand for reliability and service quality while delivering a transition path to meet mobile operators' increasing bandwidth requirements. The result is new revenue opportunities, along with lower implementation and maintenance costs, which Calix says are made possible through its GPON ONTs and their support for service speeds from T1 up to 1-Gbps throughput.

"We have been aggressively deploying fiber to cell towers and selling backhaul transport to assist mobile operators. Our goal, leveraging our extensive Calix footprint and Calix's powerful ONT portfolio, is to continue to meet the transport needs of our mobile operator customers," says Dennis Huber, executive vice president, network and IT, CenturyLink.

"Calix is the leader in the fast-growing North American market for GPON fiber-fed mobile backhaul," says David Emberley, research manager, telecommunications equipment service, IDC. "As the future services of mobile operators expand to include rich, interactive applications like streaming video, telepresence, gaming, and other video-centric applications, service providers like CenturyLink will increasingly look to GPON, with its high-bandwidth capacity, as being best aligned to meet this demand. With hundreds of thousands of cell towers spread across North America, and tens of thousands added every year, this is a significant market."

The growth potential for GPON-fed mobile backhaul can be seen in the relative lack of fiber connectivity to cell towers today. A recently published New Paradigm Resources Group (NPRG) report found that there were more than 250,000 cell towers in North America, yet fewer than 16% of them were fiber fed. Major wireless players now routinely offer exclusive long-term contracts to service providers who invest in pulling fiber to the cell tower. Cell towers are growing at a fast pace, with an average of more than 18,000 towers added each year over the last four years.

"Wireline and wireless networks are often seen as competitive, but in fact they are extremely complementary," says Kevin Pope, senior vice president of product development at Calix. "Every cell tower employs mobile backhaul, and we believe this backhaul is ripe to be converted from microwave or copper to fiber access. For our service provider customers, this represents a significant opportunity to use the flexibility of their Calix-driven networks to mine new revenue streams and cement their role in a growing area of consumer interest complementary to their own wireline infrastructures -– mobile broadband access."

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