Broadband Forum’s Mersh: We need to engage with smaller service providers

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The Broadband Forum has always been an advocate of driving awareness and technical specifications on last-mile copper and fiber-based broadband for large telcos like AT&T, but the group sees an opportunity to assist smaller regional telcos in their transitions to and NG-PON2.

Since the Broadband Forum’s predecessor was created over two decades ago as the ADSL Forum, the focus it and other organizations it merged with like the MPLS Forum had always been on serving as a technical specifications organization for large telcos.

Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum, told FierceTelecom that while the organization has become quite skilled at developing technical specifications, it has not done as much to market to smaller service providers.

RELATED: Broadband Forum launches Council, certifies 6 new products

Broadband Forum
Robin Mersh

“We’re very good at doing technical work and we understand what needs to be done, but we don’t do a great job marketing ourselves,” Mersh said. “The smaller operators rely on their vendors so that means it tends to be one vendor.”

Mersh added that the Broadband Forum could help assist smaller service providers in the United States.

“If they could have an open environment and multivendor solution, I am sure they would love to do it,” Mersh said. “I think for a smaller operator with a smaller footprint maybe they don’t have that.”

Some of the Broadband Forum’s recent developments like the creation of the NG-PON2 Council and Council, a new group focused on facilitating rapid deployment of implementations in service provider networks, could have applicability to small telcos looking towards the next generation of their last-mile networks. is a broadband access technology that deploys faster bandwidth speeds by extending fiber to existing copper wiring infrastructure. The Council will inform the market through events, white papers, use cases and other resources.

At the same time, the organization’s ongoing testing capabilities to ensure multivendor interoperability via its Certification program could be positive for smaller service providers that lack the lab resources to test products themselves.

The Certification program, which is conducted in partnership with the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL), announced the first interoperable products.