AT&T sees GPON, Ethernet-on-demand as next steps in its FTTB program

Now that AT&T (NYSE: T) has reached its goal of bringing fiber to 1 million business locations in its wireline territory, the service provider says the two next priorities for FTTB growth will be driven by its on-demand Ethernet service and GPON-based products.

Using these two service initiatives to advance its FTTB strategy makes sense on various levels.

Using an SDN construct, AT&T's Network on Demand capability is being deployed as part of its User Defined Network Cloud (UDNC) strategy launched in February 2014.

Having already attracted 275 customers, AT&T's Network on Demand services are finding utility with customers like the Fort Worth, Texas, school district, which uses the network provisioning portal to reduce bandwidth to their schools when classes are not in session for the summer and then increasing the bandwidth when school starts again, for example.

It could extend those FTTP builds, which go into new and existing neighborhoods, into small businesses that reside nearby.

Matt Beattie, executive director of product marketing for fiber to the building at AT&T, told FierceTelecom that it will optimize its product set with these capabilities and further penetrate the buildings where it built out fiber.

"What we're doing now is reducing the cost of the service by coming up with new customer premise equipment and looking to drive software defined products as network on demand out to customers," Beattie said.

Beattie added that despite meeting the 1 million location goal, it will light up more buildings in its footprint as demand dictates.

"We'll respond to fiber demand in an unlit building as we come across a specific customer need," Beattie said. If a customer requires one of our on-demand services such as network on demand, we will go to provision to that customer and do it in a way to serve other customers in the building."

In addition it will also extend its GPON network into more small business locations via its GigaPower initiative.

Expanding its GPON-based fiber-based services to businesses makes sense as it will leverage and extend the facilities it's already rolling out in its wireline markets.

In December, the company announced plans to expand its 1 Gbps FTTP broadband service -- GigaPower -- to 38 additional cities, reaching a total of 56 locations.

It can leverage and extend that service to area business locations where it has built out FTTP services.

"When we extend that PON architecture, we're also working on making our business products available to take advantage of that PON architecture just like our broadband services do," Beattie said. "Today, when we roll out PON, we can serve small businesses with a high speed broadband product and making our enterprise-grade services able to use that fiber architecture we already deployed."

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