Google Fiber planning 20 Gig symmetrical service via Nokia’s 25G-PON system

Google Fiber is planning to rollout a symmetrical 20G b/sec service for select residential and business customers by the end of this year. It will use Nokia’s 25G-PON system for this new service.

Nokia’s 25G PON solution will allow Google Fiber to provide broadband speeds up to 10x faster than what most fiber networks can deliver today. GFiber Labs is using Nokia’s solution to deliver 20 Gig services to the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and United Way of Utah County, with plans to expand to select residential customers by the end of the year.

Liz Hsu, Senior Director, Product & Billing at Google Fiber, said: “The age of multi-gig broadband services is here and we’re committed to ensuring all of our customers can benefit from the incredible potential it brings. We believe investments in advanced network technologies like Nokia’s 25G PON solution will help catalyze change, drive innovation and revolutionize the user experience. We’re thrilled to be working with Nokia to move our industry and customers forward.”

Geert Heyninck, General Manager of Broadband Networks at Nokia, said: “It’s an exciting time to be a Google Fiber customer as we work to help them usher in a new era of connectivity that’s capable of delivering lightning fast 20 gigabit services. With our 25G PON solution Google Fiber can reuse its existing fiber network to quickly and cost effectively deliver the next generation of gigabit services to their customers. We’re proud to continue supporting Google Fiber on its quest to build the foundation of tomorrow’s internet.”

Julie Kunstler, Chief Analyst, Broadband Access Intelligence Service at Omdia, said: “This announcement highlights the momentum we are starting to see for 25G PON.  With a robust ecosystem, 25G PON can be a natural fit for those operators that want to pursue higher-revenue customers and applications.  Because you can use the same underlying infrastructure as FTTH, this means more revenues without expensive new network builds or additional operational costs.”

Nick Saporito, head of product at Google Fiber, told Fierce Telecom that the company has been trialing the 20-gig service in “many markets” for almost a year. Additional residential test ers are “in the pipeline,” he said.

Asked why Google Fiber is jumping from its current top tier 8-gig offering all the way to 20-gigs, Saporito said “We definitely see a need for this.  This is sort of a very early adopter product. This isn’t going to be a GA [general availability] product from Google Fiber where we just make it broadly available like we’re doing with 5-gig and 8-gig. This is going to be a bit of an invite-only opportunity for our early adopters.”

Invitees will likely include Google Fiber’s existing multi-gig customers, though Saporito noted the operator is still sorting out its invitation process. Customers who take up the service will be given a pre-certification Wi-Fi 7 router that Google Fiber has developed.

To be clear, Google Fiber’s forthcoming offering won’t be the fastest available in the country nor is the company the first to break the 10G speed barrier. EPB, a local provider in Tennessee, launched a symmetrical 25-gig service in August 2022. It, too, is using Nokia’s 25G kit.

But the move is significant as Google Fiber seems to be the largest operator to make such a play in earnest thus far. Frontier Communications previously said it is working with Nokia on 25G trials, but has yet to announce plans for a commercial service beyond its current 5-gig offering.

Stefaan Vanhastel, VP of Innovation for Fixed Networks at Nokia, told Fierce that Google Fiber was already using the company’s XGS-PON gear, which is based on its upgradable Quillion chipset. So, all the operator needs to do to get to 25G is plug in a new optical module and replace the optical network terminal on the end-user side.

He noted that 25G uses different wavelengths than GPON and XGS-PON, meaning all three technologies can coexist on the same network.

Vanhastel said globally Nokia has around eight or nine 25-gig operators, most of whom are squarely focused on enterprises services. Thus, Google Fiber’s desire to serve both residential and enterprise use cases is special. “To me that’s really exciting, because it’s going to be really interesting to see those multi-gig users how they’re using the service, what they’re doing,” he said. “You build a pipe, someone’s going to try to find a way to fill it.”

Saporito declined to name the markets where its symmetrical 20-gig service will initially be available (though Kansas City seems like a safe bet based on the trial locations). However, he said the operator does have broader plans to make the service available “in most, if not all, of our markets” eventually.


Nokia 25G PON details:

As 25GPON will drive new and exciting applications, GFiber’s introduction of Nokia’s Lightspan and Altiplano solution increases service agility with operational efficiency. The fiber access node supports multiple fiber technologies including GPON, XGS-PON, 25GS-PON and Point-to-Point Ethernet to deliver a wide range of services with the best fit technology.

Resources and additional information:
Google Fiber and Nokia Video:
25G PON | Nokia
25GS-PON MSA Group


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