EATEL, one of the early FTTH adopters, is leveraging Adtran's last-mile platform to deliver its 1 Gbps service while putting together a foundation to migrate to NG-PON.
Initially, the independent service provider will roll out its GIG Internet service to residential customers in Louisiana's Ascension and Livingston Parishes.
GIG Internet, which it debuted in May, is competitively priced at $119.95 per month for eligible customers.
Already having deployed out a FTTH network supported by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and later Calix last-mile gear, EATEL wanted a platform that would enable it migrate to NG-PON and support 10G services as demand emerged.
"We started out with Alcatel-Lucent and we overlaid that with Calix's GPON and what we're doing with Adtran is get them into all of our POPs to be able to offer GPON today, but we like their roadmap next-generation PON," said Harris Miller, executive vice president of technology for EATEL, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "That will get us up to 10G PON facing our subscribers to address the need for 4K so it's kind of a future proofing for us and gives us some vendor diversity in our access network."
Miller said that while it will continue to work with its other suppliers, the Adtran platform will enable EATEL to reduce deployment costs.
This is because the platform can support a mix of GPON, NG-PON and DWDM for traffic backhaul.
"The other thing that I really like about the Adtran platform as a Tier 3 provider, it's good for us from a cost perspective because I can serve GPON, next-generation PON, and DWDM backhaul all in their chassis without having to put in separate equipment from separate vendors to do my backbone transport stuff," said Miller. "I have a lot of power and space limitations in our smaller facilities so it's a cost effective solution where I can do everything in one box and I don't have that with other players in the market."
Miller added that other players are "moving their R&D spend into higher density, all Ethernet GPON boxes where I'd have put in separate equipment for my transport."
The service provider plans to install the Adtran gear throughout its ILEC territory by the end of this year. With all of its back office work done, it hopes to start put existing and new customers on the platform by January.
Looking forward, EATEL will also begin marketing the NG-PON capabilities as Adtran rolls them out in the coming months.
"As they release their next-gen PON capabilities available in the second and third quarter, we'd like to start putting that out there late next year as a marketing splash to say we'll have a 10 G product at that point," Miller said. "They are not fully committed yet to that timeline, but when they are ready with that we want to be an early adopter to see how it works."
Like other service providers considering a NG-PON path, EATEL would likely initially pursue business opportunities with its traditional wireline territory and its CLEC business.
It would give it another option besides offering Metro Ethernet services for businesses.
Miller said he sees the potential to address a number of business and residential applications with 10G PON services.
"If we had a business, it would be more cost effective to put them on the 10 Gig PON versus having to move them to active Ethernet because we have the advantage of PON in the field where we can use the split and everything so it's more cost effective," Miller said. "The second application is in some of our residential areas where we have a lot of density being able to overlay that NG-PON and have more bandwidth if we needed to move users to higher bandwidth we can do that without having to forklift the whole PON."
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