Verizon's Melone: Future rests on VoLTE, FiOS and IP backbone

Orlando -- While admitting that "as technologists, we're probably underestimating what the future will bring," Verizon (NYSE: VZ) CTO Tony Melone said the company is set on a path of using four specific platforms--wireless, a global IP backbone, FiOS and data centers--to plot the best course it can for its own future.

Anthony Melone, Verizon

Melone (Image source: Verizon)

"Everything we do around the business, we think, will be built round these four platforms," Melone said during a keynote address at GENBAND's Perspectives13 conference in Orlando.

Leading the parade for Melone, and therefore Verizon, is a wireless business which is quickly migrating to widespread 4G LTE and, more importantly, already achieving broadband speeds that are "much greater" than the company's advertised 5-12 Mbps, Melone said.

The IP backbone, he said, gives the carrier "scale and scope" and FiOS is "helping to reinvent entertainment" with a broadband delivery pipe that could, "in the not too distant future," deliver 1 gigabit speeds. Finally, Verizon's increased interest and participation in data centers and cloud infrastructure has become "a very important part of our portfolio," he said.

FiOS is expanding both inside the home and into the business services space, especially as it begins to leverage a PON network that Melone said will soon deliver 40 Gbps bandwidth. These speeds, he said, will flavor what services Verizon--and its partners and customers--deliver to an already-complex home entertainment environment where already "you need your own CIO," he said.

To bring some simplicity to the home, he said Verizon has developed a broadband home router that delivers "sophistication as a gateway" in directing and focusing the services and applications subscribers are using.

It's outside the home, though, where FiOS will soon begin to make its mark, he noted, by "leveraging it for business services and enhancing the value we get out of that invested asset."

That service expansion, he indicated, will come about as Verizon accelerates its copper-to-fiber network migration.

Melone, interestingly, is focused heavily on the strength of his company's wireless business as a broadband provider at a primarily wireline-based conference where GENBAND Chairman David Walsh led off the day's presentations by noting that wireless is "constrained compared to fiber."

Verizon, Melone pointed out, is still heavily invested in its wireless broadband future, and particularly, the "power of the smartphone." That, he said, is leading the carrier to "be more very aggressive with 4G LTE," including finally making use of AWS spectrum it purchased to expand its capabilities and launching a VoLTE (Voice over LTE) service.

"We're building a nationwide (wireless) VoIP network" that will be network-ready this year and roll out next year, he said, declining to add more specific launch times.

Overall, he said, with the addition of the backbone, which networks 150 countries on six continents to carry heavy loads of video, and the data center/cloud emphasis for enterprises, Verizon has built four legs on which it will rest its future.

"We really enable so much of what's possible out there," he said. "We (the telecom industry) need to take that responsibility extremely seriously."

Show Coverage: GENBAND's Perspectives13: Continuing coverage from Orlando

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