Verizon selects vendors for FTTP project

17 November 2003 New York Lightwave - Verizon announced today it has selected four vendors to provide the fiber-optic and electronic equipment for the company's planned deployment of high speed, high capacity fiber-to-the-premises FTTP systems, which is slated to begin next year and will lead to an array of new telecom products for consumers and businesses.

17 November 2003 New York Lightwave - Verizon announced today it has selected four vendors to provide the fiber-optic and electronic equipment for the company's planned deployment of high speed, high capacity fiber-to-the-premises FTTP systems, which is slated to begin next year and will lead to an array of new telecom products for consumers and businesses.

In a speech at a UBS global communications conference here today, Verizon Vice Chairman and Domestic Telecom President Lawrence T. Babbio Jr. said the vendor selection completes the second major phase of the project, begun earlier this year when Verizon, BellSouth and SBC adopted technical standards and issued a joint request for proposals to equipment suppliers.

"We are one step closer to beginning deployment of a new technology that will revolutionize this industry, enabling a new broadband economy through the delivery of a vast array of high-speed, high capacity data services, along with voice and video products, to consumers and business customers," Babbio said. "Our investment in this new technology will create new revenue streams through the development and sale of new products that can only be provided over this type of technology.

"Our customers are telling us they want faster speeds and more data-transfer capacity; this technology is capable of transferring data at speeds up to 622 Mbits/sec to the user and 155 Mbits/sec to the network -far faster than cable modems or today's DSL," Babbio said. "We believe our deployment of this technology will have widespread benefits throughout the economy of our nation by stimulating products that can only be delivered over this platform."

Verizon has selected Advanced Fibre Communications (AFC) to provide the central office and premises optical electronics for the project, also known as the "active" elements of FTTP technology. In addition, Verizon has selected Sumitomo Electric Lightwave, Pirelli Communications Cables and Systems North America, and Fiber Optic Network Solutions (FONS) to provide the fiber-optic cabling and other outside plant equipment for the project. This equipment is also known as the "passive" element of the project. Verizon is continuing contract negotiations with several other passive element vendors.

Babbio said Verizon will invest in FTTP next year without an increase in its historical capital spending levels. Verizon's capital investment plans will begin to shift from deploying copper to building a network based on FTTP technology to better serve customers and improve the company's already strong competitive position. Verizon's initial deployment plans involve passing about 1 million homes with the new technology in 2004, with the deployment pace potentially doubling in 2005.

FTTP is an advanced fiber-optic technology that can be used instead of copper wires to connect a home or business directly to Verizon's network, allowing the company to provide new high-speed, high-capacity data products, in addition to voice communications and video applications. Fiber-optic systems use hair-thin strands of glass fiber and laser-generated pulses of light to transmit voice, data and video signals at speeds and capacities far exceeding today's copper cable systems.

With over 9 million miles of fiber-optic systems already in place in Verizon's network - including all of the links between Verizon's central-office switching systems -- the installation of FTTP will represent a natural extension of this fiber technology over the so-called "last mile" to residences and businesses.

In addition, Verizon expects to realize some ongoing expense savings through reduced maintenance costs once the technology is deployed.

Verizon will install the new technology in two ways: directly connecting existing homes and businesses to the company's network as they order services that use the new technology, and installing fiber-optic lines to many new residential developments and business premises as they are being built.

"As we continue to move ahead, it is important to stress that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must further clarify the rules it recently released," Babbio said. "It is imperative, for example, that we receive assurances that we will not be forced to share our investment in this new technology with our competitors, as is the case with copper facilities today. This sort of regulation will only serve to deter our investment in these new technologies."

Verizon will continue performing lab and technology interoperability tests on the FTTP systems during the fourth quarter of this year, ensuring the new technology works properly with existing and new Verizon operations support systems. In the first half of 2004, Verizon expects to begin initial test deployments in at least two communities. By the end of the year, the company expects to deploy the new technology in over 100 central offices across nine states.

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