26 January 2004 Spartanburg, SC Lightwave--Alcoa's AFL Telecommunications has been chosen by the City of Manassas in Virginia to support its efforts to deploy power line carrier/broadband over power line (PLC/BPL) using AFL's Ethernet passive optical network (E-PON) technology for the network backhaul. In addition to backhaul, the City of Manassas will use E-PON for traffic system control, and next generation services such as fiber-to-the-business (FTTB).
Consisting of optical line terminal (OLT) and optical network unit (ONU) equipment, the E-PON product family offers an attractive last-mile solution for BPL and fiber-to-the-subscriber (FTTx) projects. Advantages of AFL's system for the Manassas application include: 625 Mbits/sec of symmetrical bandwidth, universal Ethernet functionality, and electronics that provide a reach of up to 20 km. The OLT is a compact single rack unit (RU) that includes an integrated layer two switch. The unit offers a full suite of security, administrative, and service level functions for up to 128 ONUs.
"We are extremely pleased to be selected for such a high level and exciting project," said Jody Gallagher, president of AFL Telecommunications. "This project officially launches our E-PON product in North America and is the first of many applications that will support broadband over power line and fiber-to-the-subscriber."
"The AFL platform matched our BPL network model perfectly," said John Hewa, assistant director of Utilities for the City of Manassas. "The units are compact, temperature hardened, and AC powered which allowed us to deploy the ONUs and the BPL equipment within the available space of our pad mounted transformers."
Originally developed by Fujikura Ltd. of Japan, the E-PON product is a third generation platform deployed extensively in Japan's FTTx networks. The E-PON product family is now part of OFN (OF Networks Inc.) - Fujikura's joint venture with OKI, a worldwide leader in telecommunications. OFN is leveraging the technology and R&D assets of Fujikura and OKI to develop next generation optical access solutions. AFL Telecommunications provides sales and support to North America for the E-PON system and other OFN products.
AFL's E-PON system, designed to support a standardized PON architecture, will contribute to Manassas' ability to efficiently offer FTTB and other services. Compatibility to Manassas' existing passive infrastructure also added to the project's success. E-PON is not reflectance sensitive, providing network builders the advantage of using existing optical components and supporting the use of inexpensive customer access solutions such as field installable connectors.
In addition to E-PON, AFL Telecommunications was also selected to provide passive infrastructure such as optical splitters to support the system build out. AFL product is already installed with additional products yet to be deployed. "AFL has been very responsive to our project, they have provided us with a high-tech solution at an affordable cost, which has allowed us to meet our project goals" said Allen Todd, director of Utilities. The City of Manassas project will run throughout 2004.
As the first North American city to deploy broadband over power lines, the City of Manassas has made the Internet accessible to all residents and businesses within the area via an electric outlet in the power line communications area. The project site has received national attention and is a benchmark for more cities to come as options to DSL and cable modem services become more apparent. Manassas is using a BPL system supplied by Main.net Powerline Communications, Inc.