Broadband Forum creates NG-PON2 Council, sets focus on accelerating technology, industry cooperation

Broadband photo

The Broadband Forum is integrating the NG-PON2 Forum into its fold to create the new NG-PON2 Council, aiming to accelerate the development of the passive optical networking standard as it continues to gain momentum with traditional telcos and competitive providers. 

Integrating the NG-PON2 group makes sense as the Broadband Forum has been working on NG-PON2 (next-generation passive optical networking) standardization efforts for over a year via the Fiber Access Networks Working Group.

The Broadband Forum said in a release that besides conducting work on management and testing standards, industry stakeholders need to understand the capabilities of the technology and how it could help support ultrafast broadband rollouts to businesses and consumers.

In July, a group of service providers and vendors including Verizon, Altice, NTT and Vodafone as well as Tier 1 vendors such as Adtran, Calix and Ericsson created the NG-PON2 Forum.

It set a goal to drive broad market for carrier adoption of this technology, increasing the volume of deployments and reducing the costs for both consumer and enterprise customers.

RELATED: Verizon, Adtran, Calix and NTT form NG-PON2 forum to promote technology adoption

Bernd Hesse, NG-PON2 Forum founder and president, and senior director of technology development at Calix, said in a video interview alongside Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh that the group needed to broaden its reach.

“We need to widen the scope and the market and the Broadband Forum is an excellent place where we can fit in and get new technologies up,” Hesse said.  

Left to right: Brian Dolby interviews Bernd Hesse and Robin Mersh. Video: Broadband Forum

Widening the focus

By integrating the NG-PON2 Forum into the wider Broadband Forum organization, the NG-PON2 Council will get greater access to the Forum’s wide range of member operators and vendors. 

This new group will work on eight different technical subject work areas. One of these areas, which the NG-PON2 Forum is working on today, is wavelength management.   

Mersh said in the video interview that adding NG-PON2 as part of its broader focus reflects the need to have direction over broader evolution taking place in the last mile network.

“The Broadband Forum right from the beginning was to reduce barriers to market for new technologies,” Mersh said. “We started out with DSL, GPON,, and NG-PON2 fits well into this.”

Mersh added that leveraging the NG-PON2 Forum’s work will enable the Broadband Forum to better inform the industry about the technology’s value.

“One part of reducing barriers to market is technical issues, which we’re doing work on for NG-PON,” Mersh said. “Another part of that is addressing education and informing the market so bringing in the work of the NG-PON2 Forum is totally logical.”

The Broadband Forum said the integration will be finalized after the Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) Conference and Exhibition in Los Angeles, where the NG-PON2 Forum will hold a workshop session. 

Carrier interest grows

This move is very timely as service providers are showing interest in NG-PON2. During the recent FTTH Council Conference 2017, a number of service providers said they are conducting lab or field trials, aiming for deployments in the near future.

For example, Northpower Fibre announced that it held the world’s first NG-PON2 demonstration in a live network in Whangarei, New Zealand, delivering 10 Gbps speeds over multiple wavelengths to hubs located in a business and a residence.

But large service providers are also taking an interest in NG-PON2. Verizon, for one, completed its first NG-PON2 technology trial at its Verizon Labs location in Waltham, Massachusetts, in January.

RELATED: Verizon completes NG-PON2 technology trial, signals next FTTP move

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.

“I see the move of the NG-PON2 Forum into the Broadband Forum as recognition that not only is NG-PON2 technology a maturing technology, but of the industry’s interest in seeing NG-PON2 succeed,” said Dr. Vincent O’Byrne, director of technology at Verizon and NG-PON2 Forum board member, in a release. “Establishing the NG-PON2 Council is an important milestone and a meaningful step for NG-PON2 and the industry.”