Huawei sources: FTTH efforts drive greater GPON interest in China

NOVEMBER 30, 2010 By Stephen Hardy — Huawei sources say that growing interest in fiber to the home (FTTH) deployments by major Chinese carriers will increase the demand for GPON technology in the company’s home markets.

Wan Junhua, director, Access Product Line Marketing Department at Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen, told Lightwave Group Publisher Susan Smith during Lightwave China’s recent FTTH China Conference that carriers such as China Telecom and China Unicom have begun FTTH deployments this year. Previous deployments had focused on fiber to the building (FTTB) using EPON technology. However, GPON appears the technology of choice for FTTH, Wan said — which should spur increased demand for GPON in the near term.

Wan estimated FTTH deployments compose 10% of the current Chinese market. But that number could double by 2012, he predicted.

A similar scenario that favors FTTH over FTTB will play out in other Asian countries with aggressive national broadband plans, Wan added. He pointed to Malaysia and Singapore as examples. However, the overall Asian picture continues to favor FTTB deployments, he maintained.

Grace Wu, senior marketing manager in Huawei’s Marketing Department, NW, added that an increase in GPON sales within China would bring the country more in line with what Huawei sees globally. Wu said Huawei’s global GPON and EPON sales are roughly equal. EPON dominates in China but GPON is more popular throughout the rest of the world, Wu said.

Outside of Asia, Huawei has seen particular success for its Single Fiber Access Network (Single FAN) strategy in Europe and the Middle East (see “BT signs for more FTTX gear from Huawei” and “Etisalat, Huawei test 10G GPON” for examples). The heart of the Single FAN concept is a single platform designed to address multiple applications, architectures, and media types. The flexibility of the platform simplifies network architectures and decision-making for customers and enables Huawei to play in a variety of markets, Wan explained.

One market that Huawei hopes to penetrate more deeply is North America. Wan says the company has established a beach head in North America through equipment sales to Canada’s Telus (primarily for radio access network and WiFi applications). However, it still has to acquire all the necessary certifications to be able to address the full scope of potential customers. He said the company’s strategy includes a close study of the needs of North American customers with the hope that it can build awareness and credibility via small wins.

That credibility will at least partially rest on whether Huawei can overcome concerns regarding its relationship with the Chinese government and whether that relationship represents a security risk. Wan emphasized during the interview that Huawei is an independent company that has not received funding from the Chinese government.

More insights from Susan Smith’s travels in China can be found in her recent blog post.

Thai telcos sign up for NBN plan

Six Thai operators have signed on to a government proposal for a national broadband project, despite complaints from experts that the plan is far too light on details.
State-owned TOT and CAT Telecom and private players AIS, DTAC, True Move and Digital Phone, have jointly signed an MoU to share broadband network resources, the Bangkok Post said
The signing was organized by ICT minister Chuti Krairiksh, the initiative's chief proponent, who has said he wants the MoU to serve as a framework for future co-operation.
Details of each company's participation will be decided by a joint industry panel. TOT and CAT Telecom have both said they will formulate their roles by next month.
The minister also plans to ask state utilities owning fiber networks to sign the same agreement, the Nation reported

But the lack of details has left industry observers questioning whether the move is a political ploy, sources told the Bangkok Post.

Academic and independent telecom commentator Anuparb Thiralarp said that with the project lacking a commercial basis, operators may be reluctant to participate for fear their rivals will gain market advantage.
With the industry lacking an effective regulator after courts ruled that the NTC lacked the authority to hold a 3G auction, it would be “useless” to pursue the project, he added.
Some operators have privately expressed doubt over the project, with a representative from one private company noting that no senior executives from any of the private telcos attended the signing ceremony.
Thailand's national broadband policy aims to provide high-speed internet access to 80% of the population by 2015 and ensures that economically important provinces have access to 100Mbps connections.

Pulse Broadband to build FTTH networks in Missouri and Minnesota

Pulse Broadband says it will construct fiber to the home (FTTH) networks for United Electric Cooperative in Maryville, MO, and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative in Lutsen, MN.

Both networks will use Pulse Broadband’s patented FTTH architecture, which uses a “distributed tap” approach that requires less fiber than typical PONs, the company asserts.

“This is great news for our company” said Pulse Broadband CEO Bill Shreffler “as we nearly triple the number of miles we have under construction today”. The projects in Minnesota and Missouri will span more than 2,000 miles combined with the potential to serve over 8,000 cooperative member households with advanced broadband services delivered by the patented Pulse fiber architecture. The cost of the two projects will total more than $39 million and is part of the recently announced second round of broadband funding through the 2009 stimulus act.

Said Gene Dorrel, general manager of United Electric Cooperative, “Our co-op’s mission is to improve the quality of life for members. I think today’s announcement really shows our commitment to bring the most advanced broadband services to our area. Pulse Broadband is the leader in this technology and our community sees the benefits.”

Joe Buttweiler, mnager of broadband projects for Arrowhead Electric Cooperative said, “This is great news for the residents of Cook County. The Pulse technology will be more advanced than even the networks in urban areas and will bring much needed service to northeastern Minnesota.”

How is the FTTH solution offered by Pulse Broadband different than other FTTH architectures on the market?

One of Pulse’s founders, Dave Pangrac, has been widely recognized over the years for his contributions to the development of innovative network architecture, including developing hybrid-fiber-coaxial technology that became the de facto standard in the cable industry. Recognizing the power of fiber optic networks and the need to reduce costs in order to reach more consumers, he and his team have developed a FTTH design utilizing “distributed taps” to reduce the overall cost of constructing the network. Although the design uses less fiber, it does not compromise speed or quality and, in fact, is easier to repair and maintain and in many cases has greater capacity than existing FTTH designs.

The key difference between Pulse’s architecture and conventional “PON” architecture is as follows:

 Conventional FTTH Designs












Notice that the above design requires one fiber for each home passed. This could mean that there could be as many as 400 fibers emanating from a node! This is a costly proposition and creates risk to the extent the fiber is cut (imagine matching and splicing 400 fibers to restore service!).


Pulse’s FTTH Architecture



Note that Pulse’s design relies on only 4-8 fibers from the node. Since bandwidth is not constrained by the fiber (in fact a single fiber can carry massive amounts of data, current constraints are only in the network equipment), this solution is as robust as competing FTTH architectures. Pulse’s solution takes 4-8 fibers to “taps” that then extend single fibers “drops” to each home. This also allows a cooperative to build drops only to those members who subscriber to telecommunications services, thus further saving costs. Using the above architecture we have managed to reduce the total construction cost significantly compared to traditional FTTH architectures.

Telecom Italia to roll out 100-Mbps FTTH network in Catania

NOVEMBER 2, 2010 — Telecom Italia says that it is close to launching services on a fiber to the home (FTTH) network in Catania. Initial customers have access to trial 100-Mbps links this week.

The FTTH network roll out in Catania is part of Telecom Italia’s fiber investment plan. The carrier plans provide ultra-broadband connections in six Italian cities by the end of 2010 and 13 cities by the end of 2012, and achiee 50% population coverage (138 cities) by the end of 2018.

The Catania roll out will be followed by deployments in Milan and Rome. By the end of the year, Telecom Italia expects to begin fiber-optic network construction in Bari, Turin, and Venice as well.

By the end of 2011, Telecom Italia says it will have connected 34,000 properties to fiber in the Borgo and Ognina districts of Catania. This figure will rise to more than 46,000 properties by the end of 2012, the carrier asserts. Under the development plan, the main areas of the municipality will have fiber-optic links by the end of 2013, by which time the next-generation fiber-optic network will cover 63,000 properties, corresponding to around 150,000 citizens.

Marketing of the 100-Mbps services over the new fiber-optic network will start once trials have been completed, dependent on the industry regulatory authority’s approval of the company’s offering, Telecom Italia says.

Telecom Italia CEO Franco Bernabè stated, “Telecom Italia is keen to drive innovation across Italy. Local competitiveness is increasingly bound up with an ability to exist online, and to develop new ways of working and leveraging the new economy. Building ultra-broadband infrastructure and, above all, fostering the take-up of the services that this infrastructure enables, can become a significant driver of sustainable economic growth and enhance quality of life.”

The next-generation access network is being developed alongside the existing network, and will lead to a completely upgraded network designed for the optimal carriage of different types of traffic (data, video, voice, etc.) and their very different bandwidth requirements, says Telecom Italia.