16 December 2003 San Antonio, Texas Lightwave--SBC Communications today announced a four-year primary supplier agreement with Alcatel for its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) initiative. The agreement will enable SBC Communications to move forward with further lab testing and field trials, which are the next steps in developing and finalizing potential use for this next-generation network technology.
Ultimately, FTTP deployment will depend on results of the final lab testing and field trials, as well as clarification of any regulatory guidelines that would apply to FTTP networks.
FTTP is a promising technology that could provide a foundation for next-generation broadband networks, capable of providing nearly limitless voice, video and data bandwidth for consumers and small businesses. The technology is capable of supporting a number of emerging and evolving applications, such as interactive gaming, photo sharing, PC backup and telecommuting, along with video conferencing, premises surveillance, and other novel video services, which could be delivered on demand and in high-definition.
Alcatel's designation as a primary FTTP vendor comes after a six-month evaluation process conducted in conjunction with other major telecommunications carriers. Using a set of joint technical requirements, each carrier evaluated several equipment vendors before making individual selections.
"The potential of fiber to the premises is enormous, and we are very encouraged by the progress that has been made in development of this technology over the past six months," said Ross Ireland, chief technology officer, SBC Communications.
The SBC selection of Alcatel is a non-exclusive agreement. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Alcatel 7340 FTTU (fiber to the user) solution consists of several passive-optical-network-based elements, including equipment for the central office, and business and home terminals. In-depth lab testing of the FTTP equipment will be done at the SBC applied research facility, SBC Laboratories.
Field trials of the technology are planned to begin in the first half of 2004. Field tests will include FTTP technology configurations for single-family residences, apartment and condominium complexes, and small business locations. The technology that powers FTTP networks, based on Alcatel's solution, is currently up and running in Mission Bay, a mixed-use business/residential community in San Francisco, which will include nearly 6,000 residential units.
SBC companies currently serve 55 million access lines nationwide. In addition, SBC companies own 60% of America's second-largest wireless company, Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 23 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC companies have telecommunications investments in 26 countries.