FTTH Council Europe: 197 million homes passed in 2026 in EU27+UK

On September 15 the FTTH Council Europe released its updated Market Forecasts for 2021-2026. Those market forecasts cover 39 European countries [1.] and provide an individual analysis for 15 countries. The forecasts are consistent with previous estimates and plan for around 197 million homes passed for FTTH/B in 2026 in EU27+UK compared to 118 million this year, with Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy to experience the most remarkable growth.

Note 1. The 39 countries included in IDATE’s research are: the 27 EU member states; four CIS nations – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine; Iceland, Israel, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.

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According to IDATE (which compiled the numbers) there will be 99 million households in the region (39 countries) with a fiber broadband connection at the end of this year, either directly via a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) line or as part of a fiber-connected multi-dwelling building (FTTB), up from 81.9 million at the end of September 2020.

FTTH/B is progressively deployed, but at a very different pace amongst the countries under study. While Spain is championing the ranking with 60,5% rural FTTH/B coverage in 2020, Germany has still a long way to go with only 9,8% covered.

While more than two-third of rural households currently have an NGA2 access [2.]; FTTH/B coverage is still lagging behind in non-dense areas with only 22% households covered, compared to 45% for all territories in EU27+UK.

Note 2.  NGA2 (Next Generation Access 2):  NGA2 is a long-term solution with an entirely new optical network type. The objective of NGA2 is to provision an independent PON scheme, without being constrained by the GPON standards and the currently deployed outside plant.

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Several factors have played a role in fostering the deployment of networks. The Covid-19 crisis led to more data traffic and more demand, which has resulted  in private investors boosting considerably their deployment projects in favor of FTTH/B to support the ongoing traffic increase. Adding to this, the launch of national programs (infrastructures and digitalization) and new European digital targets for 2025 and 2030 will lead to the acceleration of full-fiber connectivity across all European countries.

Whereas the general market forecasts report is publicly available, members of the FTTH Council Europe are granted exclusive access to the extended version of the asset, featuring very detailed data. This unique data allows regional and international network operators, manufacturers, and investors, to efficiently navigate their business & direct their investments where it’s most needed or will be viable in years to come.

Members of the FTTH Council Europe can access the full asset and other content & exclusive services via member-restricted extranet (subject to certain conditions).

References:

https://www.ftthcouncil.eu/knowledge-centre/all-publications-and-assets/248/ftth-b-in-rural-areas

https://www.ftthcouncil.eu/knowledge-centre/all-publications-and-assets/246/ftth-forecast-for-europe-market-forecasts-2021-2026

https://www.telecomtv.com/content/access-evolution/europes-ftth-b-subs-set-to-double-by-2026-to-197-million-42392/

FTTH Council Europe: FTTH/B reaches nearly 183 million (>50% of all homes)

http://www.fiber-optic-components.com/tag/fiber-optic-network

https://web.njit.edu/~ansari/papers/09ComMag.pdf

AT&T’s fiber buildout reduced due to supply constraints

AT&T has experienced recent disruptions in the supply of fiber optic cable, which has caused the company to trim back its planned fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) buildout for 2021, according to senior EVP and CFO Pascal Desroches.

AT&T had previously said it would build out its fiber network to an additional 3 million homes passed this year. But that’s now been reduced by 1/2 million.

“Since the start of the third quarter, we are seeing dislocation across the board, including in fiber supply. We’re probably going to come in a little bit light of 3 million homes passed, probably around 2.5 million,” Desroches said Tuesday at the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet & Communications Conference, according to this transcript.

 An AT&T technician working on a fiber project

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Specifically, this is what Pascal said:

But since the start of the third quarter, we are seeing dislocation across the board, including in fiber supply. And as a result of those dislocations, we had previously provided guidance of 3 million homes past this year (unedited- very bad grammar). We’re probably going to come in a little bit in light of that, probably around 2.5 million. We don’t think it’s going to impact us long term. But I think it’s really important context because if we’re feeling the pain of this, I can only imagine what others in the industry are experiencing.

John Stankey (AT&T CEO) has always been a believer in fiber. I think when he took over he identified that as a priority area because he understood from a technology standpoint, there is no better technology for connectivity. And therefore, in a world where the demands for symmetrical speed are increasing significantly, this is the technology to bet heavily on. And so we have a great position, and we are leaning into adding to that position. So it’s really a function of when you — and I think others are now recognizing it as a result of what you’ve seen in the last year in the pandemic, the need to do what we’re doing now, 2-way communication can only happen with symmetrical speed. So I think everyone has had an aha moment, like we need to deploy fiber. And so we’ve long believed that. John has long believed that, and this is just really leading into that opportunity.

As we deploy fiber, our goal is to get at least 40% penetration on homes passed. And we think in certain markets, we’ll have an opportunity to do better than that. And the other thing that is great about is when you lay fiber, you lay fiber to a community where there is both homes and businesses. So it also helps boost returns in your enterprise business. And so that’s why it is so critical that we roll this out because the ability to grow both your enterprise and your consumer business is attractive. And we think these investments will provide us with mid-teen returns over time.

I know we’re largest fiber purchaser in the country. And we have prices that are at the best and most competitive among the industry. So we feel really good about the ability to secure inventory, fiber inventory and at attractive price points and the ability to execute and the build-out at scale, something that many others don’t have.

Oppenheimer moderator question: “Can you talk a little bit about where your supply comes from, I guess, both the fiber and the optical components or any other key suppliers? Is that U.S. sourced? Or is it a lot of it outsourced internationally?”

Pascal’s answer: “It is a U.S. company which has locations both domestically and outside the U.S.”  [We suspect that it’s Corning].

AT&T typically has had no problem getting fiber at a low cost, Desroches said. “We’re the largest fiber purchaser in the country and we have prices that are the best and most competitive in the industry,” he said. “We feel really good about the ability to secure fiber inventory at attractive price points and the ability to execute the buildout at scale, something that many others don’t have.”

AT&T expects to catch up to its original fiber-construction estimates in the years after 2021, largely because of what Desroches called its “preferred place in the supply chain” and “committed pricing.” As AT&T said in a news release yesterday, AT&T is “working closely with the broader fiber ecosystem to address this near-term dislocation” and “is confident it will achieve the company’s target of 30 million customer locations passed by the end of 2025.”

AT&T added another 246,000 fiber broadband subs in Q2 2021, extending its total to 5.43 million, and said last month it was on pace to add about 1 million net fiber subscribers for all of 2021.

AT&T has estimated that nearly 80% of new fiber subscribers are also new AT&T customers, reversing a previous trend that saw a sizable portion of its FTTP customer net adds coming from upgrades of existing AT&T high-speed Internet customers on older VDSL and DSL platforms (which have been largely discontinued).

Speaking on AT&T’s 2Q-2021 earnings call last month, Desroches stated that the company’s consumer wireline business had reached a “major inflection point” as broadband revenues continue to surpass legacy declines. Meanwhile, AT&T’s broadband average revenue per user (ARPU) reached $54.76 in Q2 2021, improving from $51.61 in the year-ago period.

References:

https://investors.att.com/~/media/Files/A/ATT-IR-V2/events-and-presentations/final-oppenheimer-transcript-8-10-21.pdf

https://www.lightreading.com/opticalip/supply-chain-constraints-cut-into-atandts-fiber-buildout-plan/d/d-id/771438?

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/08/att-delays-500000-fiber-to-the-home-builds-due-to-severe-fiber-shortage/

Will AT&T’s huge fiber build-out win broadband market share from cablecos/MSOs?

Frontier Communications Accelerates Fiber Build Out -10 Million locations passed by 2025

On August 5th, Frontier Communications announced an accelerated fiber optics buildout plan that will result in their fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network passing 10 million locations (homes/offices) by 2025.  Frontier says they will end 2021 with 4 million locations passed by fiber and will then add another 6 million in a revised, multi-year “Wave 2” plan.

Nick Jeffery, President and Chief Executive Officer of Frontier, said, “The acceleration of our fiber network expansion is clear evidence that Frontier’s transformation is taking hold. Over the past several months, we’ve made real progress in executing our strategy – by adding world-class leadership, introducing a purpose-driven culture, improving the customer experience, and making our operations more efficient and sustainable.

“Demand for high-speed broadband is growing rapidly, and fiber is the best product to meet the needs of consumers and businesses. Frontier is already doing what customers want and cable can’t – delivering symmetrical download and upload speeds with far lower latency than our competition. Early next year, we will start delivering 2 gigabit per second services, further stretching our performance lead to where only fiber can compete. We have hard work ahead of us, but momentum is increasing as we rally the Frontier team around our mission to Build Gigabit America.”

Jeffery added, “Our second-quarter results reflect continuing momentum in our fiber expansion strategy, with all key fiber metrics in line or above expectations. In particular, we accelerated our fiber build out, continued our customer momentum with another strong quarter of consumer fiber net adds, and reduced our consumer churn. Taken together, it was another strong quarter that positions Frontier well as we head into the second half of the year.”

At its virtual investor day, Frontier provided an update on the fiber buildout and other priorities resulting from its strategic review. These include:

  • Frontier’s current ability to provide a best-in-class offering featuring symmetrical 1 gigabit per second download and upload speeds;
  • Plans to launch a symmetrical 2 gigabit per second offering in the first quarter of 2022 that will unlock next-generation digital experiences for customers;
  • Plans to deploy fiber to reach 10 million locations by 2025; and
  • A new target of $250 million run rate savings by 2023 from simplifying the Company’s operations and improving the customer experience.

Image Credit: Frontier Communications

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Frontier also offered some revised predictions on service penetration, expecting them to be in the mid-teens to 20% at the end of year one, rise to 25% to 30% at the end of year two, and then on up to 45%.  Frontier introduced new pricing for residential fiber broadband service, with entry-level service at 500 Mbit/s.

MoffettNathanson analyst Nick Del Deo (a colleague) wrote in a note to clients:

The single most important data points from today’s analyst day relate to Frontier’s FTTH deployment plans (Exhibit 1). For 2021, the company increased its expectation for new passings from 495K to >600K, which will complete “wave one” of its fiber upgrade project and leave it with ~4M total FTTH passings. Between 2022 and 2025, the company plans to build to another 6M passings, bringing its total to 10M, or about two thirds of its broadband-enabled locations. The remaining 5M, part of wave three, are currently in a holding pattern, with the company working through the optimal approach: do nothing, upgrade, upgrade with government assistance, divest, swap, or do something more creative that we haven’t come up with.

Image Credit: Frontier Communications

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The company also announced it will start to introduce 2-Gig services over FTTP in early 2022, but didn’t disclose pricing.

Del Deo summarized his assessment of Frontier’s fiber buildout (emphasis added):

Frontier plans to build FTTH to 7M incremental homes through 2025, a rapid acceleration from its current pace. This will leave two thirds of its broadband-enabled footprint served by fiber, with the status of the remaining one third TBD. The deployment costs appear somewhat higher, and returns a bit lower, than what we would have expected, but we had haircut the value of its FTTH expansion in our prior work to account for such risks. The faster pace and certainty now reduce the need for such haircuts. The path to financing the build remains open, but the company will need at least a couple of billion dollars in fresh funding. It’s not clear to us that management’s optimism regarding the commercial unit is warranted, but time will tell whether it can engineer a turnaround.

Management has high hopes for the commercial part of its business, and we don’t doubt that growth can get better from where it is today, but we think this will continue to be a segment that weighs on the company’s overall results.

Light Reading’s Jeff Baumgartner opines that “Frontier’s accelerated FTTP buildout plan, revised pricing and plans for 2-Gig service should pressure cable competitors to match up with speeds and pricing. Frontier’s moves might also cause those cable operators to give more consideration to “mid-split” or “high-split” upgrades that dedicate more upstream capacity to their DOCSIS 3.1 networks, accelerate their pursuit of new DOCSIS 4.0 technologies, or shift to full FTTP upgrades in select areas.”

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References:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210805005317/en/Frontier-Communications-Accelerates-Fiber-Build-Out-to-Reach-10-Million-Locations-By-End-of-2025

PowerPoint Presentation (q4cdn.com)

https://www.lightreading.com/opticalip/fttx/frontiers-fiber-frenzy-10m-fttp-locations-by-end-of-2025/d/d-id/771336?

Telefonica España to activate XGS-PON network in 2022; DELTA Fiber to follow in Netherlands

Telefonica España will begin the commercial deployment of a 10 Gbps fiber broadband network using XGS-PON technology in Spain in the first half of 2022, reports website bandaancha.eu.

The gradual rollout is part of Telefonica’s ‘Banda Ancha Abierta(Open Broadband) project to install an efficient, open, scalable and virtualized network model that will facilitate fixed-mobile convergence (fixed access with mobile backhaul), Multi-access Edge Computing capabilities ( MEC), and the deployment of third-party applications.

Telefónica’s FTTH network in Spain passes 26.1 million homes as of June 2021, for which 4,726,700 clients are served through the Movistar and O2 brands.  In addition, there are 2,801,700 clients of other operators served through indirect fiber optics.

The introduction of XGS-PON will introduce two new lambdas or wavelengths on the existing GPON fiber infrastructure. The same fiber cable will carry wavelengths corresponding to GPON and in parallel new colors of the laser for XGS-PON so that the two technologies do not interfere with each other.

XGS-PON raises the available throughput for an entire fiber branch to 10 Gbps downstream and 10 Gbps upstream for up to 64 client endpoints. That will permit Telefonica to commercialize speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps symmetric and, in the medium term, up to 10 Gbps.

XGS-PON requires new customer premises equipment. Telefónica customers have been waiting for years for the new XHGU router that the operator announced in 2018 and that is compatible with XG-PON, in addition to bringing high-penetration WiFi 6.

With the arrival of XGS-PON, Movistar will begin to distribute this new router or temporarily provide an ONT XGS-PON.

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In a related story, DELTA Fiber has attracted 2 billion euros to back a planned roll-out of XGS-PON technology throughout the Netherlands. The 10G PON deployment will expand DELTA Fiber’s network to 2 million fiber connections in 2025. It currently expects to reach 1 million connections by the end of this year.

The company expects to begin rolling out XGS-PON this September.  It will use the technology exclusively in its future builds with an eye toward making gigabit broadband widely available.

DELTA Fiber also said it plans to deploy 25G PON in the future. Along these lines, the company recently announced a partnership with Proximus of Belgium to deploy fiber to the home networks in Flanders. Proximus has already adopted 25G PON technology.

References:

https://bandaancha.eu/articulos/movistar-actualizara-velocidad-red-fibra-9973

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/telefonica-spain-to-activate-10-gbps-xgs-pon-network-next-year–1392309

https://www.lightwaveonline.com/fttx/ftth-b/article/14207846/delta-fiber-plans-xgspon-deployment-in-the-netherlands

FTTH Council Europe: FTTH/B reaches nearly 183 million (>50% of all homes)

Europe has passed over half of homes able to receive fiber broadband. According to the latest figures compiled by Idate for the FTTH Council Europe, 52.5% of homes will be covered by FTTH/B at the end of September 2020.  That’s up from 49.9% a year earlier.

FTTH Council Europe revealed the following:

• Number of homes passed by fiber (FTTH/B) reaches nearly 183 million homes in EU39.

• Europe’s fiber footprint (number of homes passed) expanded the most in the past year in France (+4.6M homes passed), Italy (+2.8M), Germany (+2.7M) and the UK (+1.7M).

• Three countries are accounting for almost 60% of homes left to be passed with fiber in the EU27+UK region.

• FTTH/B Coverage in Europe surpasses more than half of total homes.

• 16.6% growth in the number of fiber subscribers.

Iceland leads the European FTTH/B league table second year in a row.  70.7% of its households having fiber connections. Belarus (70.4%) and Spain (62.6%) came in second and third.

• Belgium, Israel, Malta and Cyprus enter the FTTH/B ranking for the first time.

The above figures cover 39 countries across Europe, where nearly 183 million homes have fibre access. For the EU and UK alone, penetration reached 43.8 percent in September, up from 39.4 percent a year earlier.

The report also shows fiber take-up is accelerating, with a subscriber penetration of 44.9 percent of lines in the 39 countries, compared to 43 percent in September 2019. In total there were 81.9 million FTTH/B subscribers in September 2020, up 16.6 percent from a year earlier. Annual growth was again strongest in France, with nearly 2.8 million subscribers added in the 12 months, followed by Russia with 1.7 million and Spain with 1.4 million.

The FTTH Council noted a shift in several countries in the past year where legacy infrastructure previously dominated. They are now moving faster towards fiber and even starting to look at shutting down copper networks. Nevertheless, three historically copper-strong countries – the UK, Germany and Italy – account for almost 60 percent of homes left to be passed with fiber in the EU27+UK region.

The countries with the highest fiber penetration across Europe are Iceland and Belarus, with over 70 percent of households using fiber broadband. Spain and Sweden are at over 60 percent, and Norway, Lithuania and Portugal over 50 percent.

“The telecoms sector can play a critical role in Europe’s ability to meet its sustainability commitments
by reshaping how Europeans work, live and do business. As the most sustainable telecommunication
infrastructure technology, full fibre is a prerequisite to achieve the European Green Deal and make the
European Union’s economy more sustainable. Competitive investments in this technology should,
therefore, remain a high political priority and we look forward to working with the EU institutions,
national governments and NRAs towards removing barriers in a way to full-fibre Europe” said Vincent
Garnier, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe.

About the FTTH Council Europe:

The FTTH Council Europe is an industry organization with a mission to advance ubiquitous full fibre based connectivity to the whole of Europe. Our vision is that fiber connectivity will transform and
enhance the way we live, do business and interact, connecting everyone and everything,
everywhere.

Fiber is the future-proof, climate-friendly infrastructure which is a crucial prerequisite for
safeguarding Europe’s global competitiveness while playing a leading global role in sustainability.
The FTTH Council Europe consists of more than 150 member companies.

Contacts:

Eric Joyce, Chair, Market Intelligence Committee
eric.joyce@ftthcouncil.eu

Sergejs Mikaeljans. Communications and Public Affairs Officer
sergejs.mikaeljans@ftthcouncil.eu Tel: +32 474 81 04 54

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Separately, BT has increased its its total FTTP network build target from 20 million to 25 million premises by December 2026, with Openreach working to connect up to 4 million premises a year.

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References:

https://www.ftthcouncil.eu/

https://www.ftthcouncil.eu/home/latest-news/new-fibre-market-panorama-2021-revealed?news_id=3872&back=/resources/resources

https://www.ftthcouncil.eu/documents/Fibre_Market_Panorama_2021_PR_final.pdf

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2424555495368131344 (webinar registration)

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ftth-roll-out-accelerates-in-western-europe-in-past-year-led-by-france-italy–1382919

 

PON’s Vulnerability to Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks

by Shrihari Pandit

Introduction:

The dominant architecture used in fiber optic deployment -Passive Optical Networks (PONs) may be vulnerable to attack. It is important to bring attention to this under-appreciated weakness and discuss what steps are possible to protect fiber infrastructure.

As various PON technologies are long standing and widely deployed, this is a matter of no small concern. PONs are widely deployed by Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse and many others.

The PON architecture is a hodgepodge of old and new technologies, hardware and strategy, limited budget and often is not overseen by a single team.

In this article we describe how fiber optic infrastructure based on PONs may be open to potential denial of service (DoS) attacks via optical signal injections. Security experts warn that this is a growing issue, which could take down entire sectors of PON segments.

Considering the ever increasing state-sponsored and non-state-actor cyber attacks, these types of vulnerabilities that allow for massive disruption for large groups of people are very attractive targets.

PON Overview:

The cost advantages of PON architecture make it the overwhelming choice for FTTH deployments. PON allows wireline network providers to deliver service to businesses and homes without having to install costly active electronics on roads, curb-side or even within buildings themselves.

Active electronics, on the other hand, add cost and create operational complexity as deployments scale. The conveniences and differentiators of PONs are precisely what opens up the floodgates to serious vulnerabilities.

PONs are fundamentally susceptible due to the architecture from the passive optical splitter (POS) to the optical network unit (ONU) within the overall network infrastructure. The POS component of the network functions like a bridge, allowing any and all communications to transverse without the ability to filter, limit or restrict flow.

The fiber optic market currently boasts 585.9 million subscribers worldwide, with that number set to grow to 897.8 million subscribers by 2021.

The industry has moved to upgrade 1st generation GPONs and EPONs to next-generation PONs, like NG-PON2 (the favorite), XG-PON1 and XGS-PON.  For example, Verizon uses the Calix AXOS E9-2 Intelligent Edge System for large-scale NG-PON2 deployments that began in the first quarter of 2018.

However, with subscriber density significantly increasing per PON segment, the risks increase as more subscribers are affected by a cyber attack on a single fiber.

Sidebar:  NG-PON2

NG-PON2 combines multiple signals onto a single optical fiber by using the different wavelengths of laser light (wave division multiplexing), and then splits transmission into time slots (time division multiplexing), in order to further increase capacity. NG-PON2 is illustrated in the figure below.

Legend: 

 OLT =Optical Line Termination                                                         ONT =Optical Network Termination

NGPON2 has three key advantages for operators:

1. Cost

Firstly, it can co-exist with existing GPON and NGPON1 systems and is able to use existing PON-capable outside plant. Since the cost of PON FTTH roll out is 70 per cent accounted for by the optical distribution network (ODN), this is significant. Operators have a clear upgrade path from where they are now, until well into the future.

2. Speed

Initially NGPON2 will provide a minimum of 40 Gb/s downstream capacity, produced by four 10 Gb/s signals on different wavelengths in the O-band multiplexed together in the central office with a 10 Gb/s total upstream capacity. This capability can be doubled to provide 80 Gb/s downstream and 20 Gb/s upstream in the “extended” NGPON2.

3. Symmetrical upstream/downstream capacity

Both the basic and extended implementations are designed to appeal to domestic consumers where gigabit downstream speeds may be needed but more modest upstream needs prevail. For business users with data mirroring and similar requirements, a symmetric implementation will be provided giving 40/40 and 80/80 Gb/s capacity respectively.

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The Essence of a PON Cyber Attack:

Given the flashpoints around the globe, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision how state and non-state actors might want to cause such a chaotic and widespread disruption.

If a “cyber criminal” gains access to the underlying fiber, they could inject a wideband optical signal to disrupt communications for all subscribers attached to the PON segment.

Alternatively, at your home the adversary could manipulate the ONU’s optical subsystem to transmit abnormal PON signals and impact service to all subs on that segment. Communications including internet, voice and even analog TV signals that operate on nearby wavelengths would be susceptible to these serious DoS attacks.

Possible Solutions, Preventive Methods and Procedures:

So, what can be done with current equipment without a massive and costly fiber optic network overhaul? The unfortunate answer is that an overarching vulnerability will always exist as long as the passive components are in place.  A reactionary process is the best and only option.

The current primary solution for operators is to reduce the number of subscribers per PON segment as a way to manage risks. If an attack was detected, the network operator would be able to localize the source and identify and disconnect the bad actor from the network. But it’s easier said than done.

This sort of manual process is not ideal. Extensive PON outages means spending the time and money to send personnel to optical line terminals to check each individual port until the attacker is found. The installation of active electronics on each PON segment or near PON subscribers is unrealistic and impractical. That undertaking would actually be more costly in terms of time, money and location.

The best ongoing solution is that operators should consider installing passive tap points per PON segment. Each can be independently routed back and managed at a provider’s operations center and allow operators to effectively analyze segments and detect unusual optical light levels that may signal an attack.

At that point the operator could physically dispatch techs on-site to continue the localization and resolution process while ensuring other non-threatening users remain unaffected. This solution is to effectively take a reactionary restriction and make it as automatic and proactive as currently possible.

Conclusions:

P2MP (point to multi-point) architecture has become the most popular solution for FTTH and FTTP.  Yet there needs to be a severe increase in awareness to potential PON vulnerability into the next generation.

If we can catalyze the telecom industry to develop methods and measures to protect infrastructure, such crippling network security issues will be stopped before widespread exploits occur.

The industry needs to address these concerns sooner rather than later or else be left without effective countermeasures against these very real threats.

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References:

https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/cyberpedia/what-is-a-denial-of-service-attack-dos

https://s2.ist.psu.edu/paper/ddos-chap-gu-june-07.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G93I_v2pa24

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About Shrihari Pandit:

Shrihari Pandit is the President and CEO of Stealth Communications, the NYC-based ISP he co-founded in 1995. Stealth, having built its own fiber-optic network throughout the city, provides high-bandwidth connectivity services to a broad roster of customers in business, education and government.

Prior to Stealth, Mr. Pandit was a network-security consultant to various software and telecom companies, including MCI, Sprint and Sun Microsystems. He also served as an independent consultant to several U.S. agencies, including NASA and the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), now part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Swisscom achieves 50 Gbps on a fixed PON connection – a world first!

Swisscom has achieved transmission speeds of 50 Gbps  in a real PON (Passive Optical Network) environment test – a world first, according to the company.  Swisscom has upgraded existing OLT (Optical Line Termination) hardware with a 50 Gbps PON Line Card prototype to reach a download speed of 50 Gbps and an upload speed of 25 Gbps on a fixed network.

The PON technology can be ready to market and deployed in around two years, according to Swisscom. It can be an option for business customers initially. Progressive network virtualization will enable companies to use the bandwidth they need on a flexible basis in line with their requirements.

The 10 Gbps service is expected to be sufficient for the residential mass market for several years yet, the company said. The 50 Gbps option allows for flexible deployment using existing fibre-optic infrastructure.

Markus Reber, Head of Swisscom Networks, said: “There is no question that the bandwidth need will continue to increase over the coming years. That’s why, here at Swisscom, we are already considering how our technology needs to develop to ensure that Switzerland continues to be ready to take advantage of the latest digital services with the best possible experience in the future. The results of testing based on PON technology and architecture clearly demonstrate that we have some powerful options available.”

“In my opinion, PON with 50 Gbit/s will be an option for the business customer market initially. Progressive network virtualisation will enable companies to use the bandwidth they need on a flexible basis in line with their requirements, for instance. In contrast, the 10 Gbit/s already available in the residential mass market should be more than enough for several years to come. However, the 50 Gbit/s option offers even more opportunities, as it allows the existing fibre optic infrastructure to be deployed in a more versatile way. As an example, the technology will soon facilitate access to mobile communication masts, particularly for 5G, as the same network can be used as the one already built to connect households. With a transmission speed of 50 Gbit/s, there is ample bandwidth available.”

The technology also will support fiber optic access to mobile communication masts, particularly for 5G, since the same network can be used as the one already built to connect households.

Swisscom says that “over the coming years, the development of digital applications will result in a similar growth in bandwidth need as seen in recent years, when it increased more than tenfold within a decade. Swisscom is therefore investing in network expansion on an ongoing basis, deploying the latest innovative technologies to do so and safeguarding Switzerland’s high degree of digital competitiveness.”

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In April 2020, market research powerhouse Omdia (owned by Informa) forecast that In the 2018-2025 timeframe, the PON market will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3% to be worth $8.4 billion by 2025. “This market remains in an upswing as operators continue to expand and upgrade their fiber-based access networks for both residential and non-residential subscribers and applications,” states the Omdia team in their report (published prior to the global impact of COVID-19, it should be noted).

PON and xDSL/Gfast equipment market by major segment, 2017-2025.

Omdia: PON and xDSL/Gfast equipment market by major segment, 2017–2025

Growth in the PON market will be driven by increasing demand for next-generation PON equipment, including 10G GPON, 10G EPON, NG-PON2 and 25G/50G PON, according to Omdia: By 2021, most GPON OLT (optical line terminal) shipments are expected to be 10G.

Omdia expects demand for NG-PON2 equipment (which is expensive because it includes tunable lasers) is expected to be limited, with significant deployments anticipated only by one major operator, Verizon.

In Western Europe, PON investments are only just starting: That market is set for a CAGR of 16.5% to be worth $1.6 billion in 2025.

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References:

https://www.swisscom.ch/en/about/news/2020/10/08-weltpremiere.html

https://www.swisscom.ch/content/dam/swisscom/en/about/news/2020/10/08-weltpremiere/08-weltpremiere-en.pdf.res/08-weltpremiere-en.pdf

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/swisscom-reaches-50-gbps-in-real-network-environment–1357116

http://www.broadbandworldnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=758638

C Spire – Entergy Mississippi Partnership to Build Fiber Network along 5 routes

U.S. service provider C Spire today announced a partnership with electric utility Entergy Mississippi which aims to bring more than 300 miles of fiber to remote areas of Mississippi.  C Spire will build and own the network, with Entergy contributing construction costs, according to C Spire Vice President of Government Relations Ben Moncrief in an interview with Telecompetitor.

Entergy will lease capacity on the network from C Spire to support its smart grid initiatives, he said. C Spire eventually expects to extend the middle-mile network to end user locations to support retail services, he added, although he emphasized that any such plans are not part of today’s news.

Details about the C Spire – Entergy partnership can be found in this press release.   Clearly there were a lot of synergies for these companies to work together.

“This opens the door to offering service to residences and industrial parks,” Moncrief said. “But today is just about getting the (fiber optic) backbone in place.”

When Entergy Mississippi sought the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s approval to build a network to support its smart grid plans, one of the commissioners asked whether that network could also be “at least a foundation for broadband services,” Moncrief explained.

That idea led Entergy to a meeting with C Spire at which representatives of both companies had an “aha moment,” Moncrief recalled.

C Spire initially was a wireless carrier, as well as a provider of wireline business services, but in recent years has been quite aggressive in deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and other broadband network infrastructure in numerous rural markets in Mississippi. Meanwhile, Moncrief said, “Here’s an electric utility that for security reasons is keeping infrastructure away from population centers.”

The network will be installed with a minimum of 144-count fiber, “in some places more,” Moncrief noted. Each company will have its own fiber.  The areas that the network will run through are “very rural” and might have been too costly for C Spire to build out to without the Entergy investment, Moncrief added.

C Spire also will gain connectivity from the rural areas to population centers, Moncrief said.

C Spire Entergy Fiber Network Map

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The construction project will involve placing fiber optic cable along five separate routes as follows:

  • Delta: a 92-mile route through Sunflower, Humphreys, Madison and Hinds counties and near the cities of Indianola, Inverness, Isola, Belzoni, Silver City, Yazoo City, Bentonia, Flora and Jackson.
  • North: a 51-mile stretch in Attala, Leake and Madison counties, including near the towns of McAdams, Kosciusko and Canton.
  • Central: a 33-mile route through Madison, Rankin and Scott counties and near the towns of Canton, Sand Hill and Morton.
  • South: a 77-mile route passing through Simpson, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence and Walthall counties and near the towns of Magee, Prentiss, Silver Creek, Monticello and Tylertown.
  • Southwest: a 49-mile stretch in Franklin and Adams counties that’s near the communities of Bude, Meadville, Roxie, Natchez and Eddiceton.

“We’re excited about partnering with C Spire to modernize our electrical grid and expand rural broadband access in some hard-to-reach areas across the state,” said Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi. “We have about 30,000 customers within five miles of the proposed routes who could potentially have access to broadband service when the project is complete. In addition, all of our customers will benefit from the enhancements to our communication systems that connect our facilities, substations, offices and radio sites.” The company provides electric service to an estimated 445,000 customers in 45 counties across the state.

“A robust broadband infrastructure is critical to the success of our efforts to move Mississippi forward by growing the economy, fostering innovation, creating job opportunities and improving the quality of life for all our residents,” said Hu Meena, CEO of C Spire, a Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company.

 

Verizon’s O’Byrne: NG-PON2 offers multiservice support, 40 Gbps speeds

Two years ago, we reported that “Verizon has completed a field trial of NG-PON2 fiber-to-the-premises technology that could provide the infrastructure for download speeds up to 10 Gbps for residential and business customers.”

This past January, Verizon completed its first interoperability trial of NG-PON2 technology at its Verizon Labs location in Waltham, MA.  During the trial, Verizon demonstrated that equipment from different vendors on each end of a single fiber—one on the service provider’s endpoint and that the customer premises—can deliver service without any end-user impact.

In an October 16th press release in advance of the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, Verizon said NG-PON2 represent a paradigm shift in the access space and a more certain path towards long-term success.

“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said Vincent O’Byrne, Director of Technology at Verizon.

“Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above,”  O’Byrne added.

“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said O’Byrne. “Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above.”

Image result for pic of verizon NG PON2

At the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, The Verizon executive will address how the fiber access space is constantly evolving, with emerging PON technology providing solutions to some of the issues around cost and reliability during the Broadband World Forum, at the Messe Berlin on Tuesday, Oct. 24th.

Verizon has been an active participant in driving awareness about how NG-PON2 can work in a real-world carrier environment.  The company completed NG-PON2 interoperability with five vendors for its OpenOMCI (ONT Management and Control Interface) spec, bringing it one step closer toward achieving interoperable NG PON systems.

The mega telco plans to offer it’s own OpenOMCI specification [1], which define the optical line terminal (OLT)-to-optical network terminal (ONT) interface, to the larger telecom industry.

Note 1.  OpenOMCI specification was developed and is owned by Verizon, rathr than a formal standards/spec writing body like the ITU-T or Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF).  Is this the new way of producing specs (like “5G” used in trials)?

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Bernd Hesse, Chair of the Broadband Access Summit and Senior Director Technology Development at Calix, said:

“We will be exploring NG-PON2 in depth and the use cases that underpin the decisions to deploy them. I look forward to the debate, hearing from the experts in the industry and welcoming the community to these new Forum events.”