Optimising the Fiber Business Case

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A new report “Optimising the Fiber Business Case” authored by Informa Telecoms & Media confirms that interoperability and certification are vital to sustained G-PON expansion around the world. This is the key finding following detailed research carried out by Informa on behalf of the Broadband Forum, and unveiled today on the opening day of the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam.

This is the largest research project to date on certification and interoperability (C&I) that has been undertaken anywhere across the industry. To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, Informa surveyed 237 broadband industry stakeholders and interviewed senior executives at Orange, BT, Chunghwa Telecom, PCCW, Alcatel-Lucent, Calix, Huawei and PT Inovacao. The case studies from these interviews are included in the detailed report.

The report substantiates that the interoperability of G-PON equipment will be crucial as FTTx services continue to grow rapidly – it’s expected that G-PON will become the dominant FTTx access technology in 2016, passing 200 million in 2018 to equal three out of five FTTx subscriptions worldwide – and that interoperability issues between different vendors’ OLT and ONU equipment has caused an array of problems for many service providers.

Highlights of the report include:

Over half of G-PON operator respondents (53%) said that interoperability issues caused problems related to their internal testing burden, while 44% reported issues with network performance issues and 41% with greater management overhead.

Interoperability (31%) is ranked number two in the operators’ ONU selection criteria behind price (41%), with maintenance costs (10%), software features (8%) hardware features (7%) and number of ports (5%) considerably less important to operator decisions

Certification is emerging as a key tool to drive the transition to multivendor G-PON networks, with many service providers and vendors confident of deriving benefits.

Survey respondents said that, on average, certification could help, or has helped, shorten the time spent selecting and testing G-PON ONUs by around 40%.

2014 will see increased activity around G-PON interoperability as several major operators move towards deploying multivendor networks, a host of smaller operator RFPs hit the market, and challenger vendors look to shake up the market.

“These findings affirm the importance of the Broadband Forum BBF.247 certification program and TR-255 ONU/OLT interoperability test plan,” said the Broadband Forum’s CEO Robin Mersh. “Establishing interoperability of G-PON equipment is a key building block to simplifying the deployment of fiber networks, but as noted in the case studies, there is much to be done around NG-PON2, and the biggest challenges may well be ahead of us. This work has begun and got a good jump-start at a recently held workshop between the BBF, FSAN (Full Service Access Network) and the ITU-T.”

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