WINfirst has signed a five-year, $800 million agreement with Lucent Technologies for equipment, software and services to build a fiber-to-the-home residential network that will provide bandwidth for voice, data, and video applications. The deployment also includes data switching equipment from communications systems provider Avaya valued at $200 million over five years.
According to the parties, the optical access network will connect each home using a dedicated fiber-optic cable and equipment with lasers to send and receive information using the Internet protocol (IP) and Fast Ethernet, a networking transmission standard that provides 100 megabits per second (Mbps) of symmetric bandwidth. Using that single optical link, WINfirst's customers will have the capacity to simultaneously download a DVD movie, view a sporting event from a Web site, stream a digital home video to someone else over the Web, and hold multiple phone calls.
WINfirst says its service will be 65 times faster than typical 1.5 Mbps high-speed connections that are currently offered. This type of speed will enable users to download a DVD movie in eight minutes or an entire album of MP3 songs in about five seconds--a process that would take eight hours and five minutes, respectively, over current high-speed connections. Additionally, having the same bandwidth both upstream and downstream will enable users to share files directly with each other through true peer-to-peer networking.
Bell Labs engineers developed two new products for the WINfirst network. A Network Demarcation Unit attached to the outside of customers' homes terminates the fiber connection and uses a laser to send and receive voice, data, and video traffic over the network. It also connects to a new Residential Ethernet Gateway located inside customers' homes and connects to their PCs and telephones.
The design of the Demarcation Unit and other key components will give WINfirst's network the capacity to grow. The core network will have 130 terabits per second of switching capacity and the equipment providing the direct connection to customers, including the Demarcation Unit, can scale from 100 megabits per second to multiple gigabits per second.
WINfirst has received regulatory approval to build networks in Dallas; Houston; San Antonio; Austin, Texas; San Diego, and Sacramento, Calif. In addition, WINfirst has received a network construction permit in Portland, Ore. Franchise applications are pending in Los Angles, San Francisco, and Oakland, Calif., Las Vegas, and Seattle.
Lucent's NetworkCare Professional Services will design, integrate and install the next-generation network in each of WINfirst's target cities. Initial deployments will begin immediately in Dallas and Sacramento with expansion to follow in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and San Diego.