MARCH 27, 2007 -- Verizon (search for Verizon) will soon begin deploying an advanced technology from Alcatel-Lucent (search for Alcatel-Lucent) that will "dramatically improve" the capabilities of Verizon's 16-state FTTP network, the company announced today.
Implementing a gigabit passive optical network (GPON) will increase the aggregate broadband speeds on Verizon's FTTP systems by 4x downstream to the customer, and by 8x upstream back to the Internet. This provides the capability for future enhancements to FiOS Internet Services and FiOS TV. Verizon says it will be the first major telecommunications company to deploy the new technology to customers in the United States.
Mark Wegleitner, Verizon senior vice president and chief technology officer, announced the initial GPON deployment during his keynote address at OFC/NFOEC 2007 in Anaheim, CA. He said that the new technology will be rolled out first to a group of customers in Lewisville, TX, early in the second quarter, and then to a group of customers in Kirklyn, PA, over the summer. Pending the successful conclusion of the initial deployments, plans for wider expansion of the new technology will be announced.
In the meantime, Verizon will continue to deploy the broadband passive optical network (BPON) technology that the company has been using since it began construction of its all-fiber network in 2004.
"Customer bandwidth appetite is growing fast, and we engineered our FiOS network to respond to that need quickly," Wegleitner said. "This important step underscores how easily we can increase the speed and other capabilities of the fiber without changing the design of the fiber plant. Simply by deploying GPON optics and associated electronics, we get a significant boost in bandwidth. This will allow us to continue offering our customers the best broadband, video, and voice services available today and tomorrow."
Verizon and Alcatel-Lucent also announced that they have reached a definitive agreement under which Alcatel-Lucent will supply the GPON equipment to Verizon. Verizon announced the selection of Alcatel-Lucent last summer, and both parties had been working on a definitive contract since then.
The equipment will include new optical network terminals where Verizon's fiber terminates at customers' homes and optical loop terminals in Verizon's central switching offices.
The GPON electronics on Verizon's network are expected to allow the company to dramatically increase the speed and bandwidth of FiOS. Currently in Verizon's network, a single fiber from a Verizon switching office has transmission speeds of 622 Mbits/sec downstream and 155 Mbits/sec upstream. When the fiber reaches a neighborhood it is split up to feed multiple fibers, serving as many as 32 customers. With GPON technology, that same fiber from the switching office will have a downstream transmission speed of 2.4 Gbits/sec and an upstream speed of 1.2 Gbits/sec.
The new electronics will also allow the company to make future enhancements to its ultrahigh-speed FiOS Internet access and all-digital FiOS TV products, and continue to reduce the costs of deployment, Verizon concludes.
More than 6 million homes and businesses in parts of 16 states are now passed by Verizon's all-fiber network, and the company expects its new network to pass an additional 3 million premises annually, or about 18 million premises by the end of 2010. FiOS Internet service -- which currently offers download speeds of up to 50 Mbits/sec and upstream speeds up to 5 Mbits/sec -- is offered in more than 1,600 communities across parts of all 16 states where the company's new network is deployed: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The company currently offers FiOS TV service in parts of 10 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
Verizon will deploy the Alcatel-Lucent 7342 ISAM fiber-to-the-user (FTTU) platform, already chosen by more than 20 providers worldwide for broadband and triple-play services. It is claimed to extend the bandwidth potential of fiber from the network core to the subscriber premises, using the latest GPON recommendations of the Full Service Access Network group.