& cplSiteName &

Shaw Vetting FTTH for All New Builds

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

US towns and cities are going ga-ga for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s 1-Gig experiment, but north of the border, Shaw Communications Inc. is already laying the foundation to test out such lofty speeds in markets such as Vancouver and Calgary, and is crafting a plan to eventually use fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) architectures in all its "greenfield" opportunities. (See Googlemania!, My Town Wants Google 1-Gig! , Google's Gigabit Fiber Fantasy, Google's Pointy Stick , and Google Jumps Into Gigabit FTTH.)

In February, the Canadian MSO outlined its intentions to try out 1-Gig speeds starting as soon as next month, but, in a recent conversation with Light Reading Cable, company execs supplied more details on how it intends to provide those speeds, where it will offer them and at what scale, and how that work might factor into Shaw's network of the future. (See Shaw Preps 1-Gig Jig .)

Shaw, says MSO senior director of infrastructure systems Scott Atkinson, is getting ready to test FTTH and 1-Gig technology in a variety of scenarios, including in multiple-dwelling units (MDUs), in single-family homes, and with small and mid-sized businesses.

The trials
The first trial will involve a new 256-suite high-rise in Vancouver, where the MSO had some control of the riser and suite ducts. "Getting cable into a building can be a bit of a challenge if you don't have the right infrastructure," says Atkinson. "In this case, we felt we had enough access and control to do the type of things we wanted to do."

So, what's it going to do? Shaw is starting by building out a physical passive optical network (PON) coupled with RF over Glass (RFoG), an emerging Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) standard that allows MSOs to bring fiber to the premises but preserve its existing headends and backend systems and RF-based video, voice, and Internet services. (See Who Makes What: RFoG Systems and RFoG Gets the Squeeze.)

Shaw expects to have that construction done as tenants start moving into the building in April and May. After that, a separate Shaw team will come in and manage the installation of the Gigabit Ethernet layer.

The MSO hasn't revealed whether it's going with GPON, EPON, or 10G-EPON. "At this juncture, we're not advising which way we're going, but all of that [discussion] is happening within our Internet and transport teams," Atkinson says.

Shaw intends to apply the same general process in Calgary, where it's already identified a 53-lot, single-family area to do the test. Atkinson says that one will start coming together in the May to June 2010 timeframe, and will utilize any technical and operational adjustments and improvements it gets from the initial Vancouver trial.

The MSO also hopes to get a commercial services pilot underway by the end of this summer, and has five or six trial areas already under consideration. It will go with the same architecture, although business customers may not be as interested in the video services that come into play with RFoG. "But the focus will be primarily on Ethernet or added services [enabled by] the Ethernet PON underlay," Atkinson says.

With the architecture work pretty much solidified, Shaw has since moved into the product-specification phase.

For the trials, Shaw intends to involve at least two vendors for each of the "major" components. For example, it's already been looking at ONUs from suppliers such as Hitachi Telecom (USA) Inc. , Aurora Networks Inc. , and Alloptic Inc. , along with optical taps from CommScope Inc. , but hasn't made any vendor commitments yet.

Shaw's future: fiber-to-the-greenfield
Although Shaw hopes to use these trials to test out apps that require 1-Gig speeds in relatively small-scale scenarios, that work will also pave the path toward a fiber-to-the-premises architecture that the MSO may eventually use in all new-build situations.

Presently, Shaw is using an "N+1" architecture in greenfields, whereby just one power-hungry, "active" amplifier resides between the node and the homes it's serving. If Shaw goes with PON and FTTP, it would leap right over an "N+0" approach being touted by suppliers like Aurora Networks. (See Aurora Networks Plays the 'Green' Card and Costs Could Keep RFoG a Niche Player .)

"You'll see us move from N+1... into a fiber-to-the home architecture, hopefully using the PON architecture and RFoG overlay [with] an appropriate Ethernet underlay, as required, from now on," Atkinson says of Shaw's future greenfield strategy.

But Shaw still views RFoG as a transitional technology. "At some point, I think RFoG will give way to more IP or data-oriented transport schemes for all services."

Shaw likewise thinks an eventual migration of services to IP, which will take years, will alter its overall business in terms of how it delivers high-capacity Internet services, as well as voice and video.

"There's no doubt in our minds that IP-based set-tops are going to quickly outpace anything available in the more traditional, digital cable proprietary worlds," says Dennis Steiger, Shaw's group vice president of engineering. The move to IP "will make it possible to create a whole new customer experience down the road."

And Shaw believes that will help get it prepared to handle cable's transition from a broadcast medium to one that provides more and more unicast services. According to Shaw's forecast, unicast services (which include video-on-demand) will eat up about half of its plant capacity within 10 years.

But that transition won't happen overnight, so technologies like Docsis and RFoG will likely remain important factors for awhile. In fact, Shaw is already using Docsis 3.0 to deliver services that provide bursts of 100 Mbit/s. (See Shaw Maxing Out on 100-Meg.)

"But there will come a time when [those technologies] become less important as we [connect] our customers with fiber access," Steiger says.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:40:32 PM
re: Shaw Vetting FTTH for All New Builds

Awww how cute, Shaw is doing the same thing TELUS started doing over 3 years ago.

Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
Wednesday, November 30, 1:00PM EST
SDN & the Software Defined Data Center
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
OneAccess NFV Solutions

10|26|16   |   5:30   |   (0) comments

Antoine Clerget, CTO of OneAccess, discusses how his company has expanded its product line from enterprise-class routers to include a universal virtualized CPE as well as a suite of VNFs to help telco customers evolve to an NFV future.
LRTV Custom TV
The Journey Toward Carrier-Grade WiFi

10|26|16   |   3:39   |   (0) comments

In this Light Reading interview, Dave Sperling, CTO at Smith Micro Software and active participant of the WBA's policy working group, discusses the need for carrier-grade WiFi. Technical and business challenges slowing the fulfillment of this goal are addressed, as well as management strategies that will enable communication service providers to optimize end user ...
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE BBWF Highlights

10|26|16   |     |   (0) comments

At BBWF 2016, ZTE showed a broad range of innovative technologies that are kick-starting an ultrafast broadband journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Trump: Dump AT&T/TW & Comcast/NBC
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/24/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
T-Mobile: AT&T & TW Means Ma Bell Not Focused on Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/24/2016
Sprint: Revenue up 3%, Capex Will Rise Again
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
'Oh, Were You Looking for This?' Click Here
'I was just playing some games...'
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.