FTTH Europe: ECI Bags GPON Deal

COPENHAGEN -- FTTH Council Europe Conference 2009 -- ECI Telecom Ltd. has found a foothold in the growing European GPON market with a deployment at one of the region's most ambitious telcos, Latvian incumbent Lattelecom Group , the vendor announced here on the first morning of this annual fiber fest. (See FTTH: Alive & Well in Europe and Lattelecom Picks ECI's GPON.)

The news is interesting for two reasons. One, it's a reference customer for ECI's recently launched GPON platform, the F152, which, by housing a network processor on each linecard, has an architectural approach different from that of many other GPON platforms. (See ECI Touts GPON Advance.)

Second, Lattelecom has some bold targets for bandwidth delivery. Only a few weeks ago it announced its intention to offer downstream connections of up to 500 Mbit/s by the end of 2009, and eventually provide customers with downlink speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s. (See European Minnow Boasts Fastest FTTH.)

ECI associate VP of product marketing, Ron Levin, tells Light Reading the 500 Mbit/s service will be achieved by splitting the root fiber among only four end-user customers, instead of the customary GPON configuration of 32 or 64 users. (See The Future of Fiber Access.)

As for the potential for 10 Gbit/s, Levin says that's something he's not currently engaged with: "That's probably being discussed by the technology teams." Such per-user bandwidth will require next-generation fiber access technologies like WDM-PON, for example, notes Levin, who says ECI is following all future PON technologies as they work their way into the standards processes.

As for the current GPON platform, Levin says that's also being deployed by a Latin American carrier with broadband operations in three countries; is in an "advanced field trial" with an operator in Asia/Pacific; and is on a shortlist of options for one European Tier 1 carrier. While ECI can't name that operator, Light Reading believes it's BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which has been scoping out GPON technology for some time. (See BT Preps GPON Shortlist and BT Unveils $3B FTTx Plan.)

Other news from the show floor this morning:

  • LG-Ericsson Co. Ltd. , the joint venture company that's looking to make early headway in the next generation of PON technology, is talking up interest in its WDM-PON portfolio, which has some early traction in the Netherlands. The LG-Nortel crew says the technology is also being deployed in a small rollout in Norway and is under examination by a number of major carriers in North America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. (See WDM-PON Photos, Dutch Do WDM-PON, Nortel Does WDM PON, and LG-Nortel Touts WDM-PON.)

  • Swedish vendor Tilgin AB has unveiled a new family of Gigabit, multi-port home gateways -- the HG1550, HG1530, and HG1350 -- with integrated 802.11n wireless capabilities to overcome the problems associated with domestic fixed wiring.

  • The event's organizer, the FTTH Council Europe , has news of its own: It has launched a Web-based tool called the SUDEFIB (Sustainable Development in FTTH) Configurator that "allows the potential environmental benefit of actual FTTH deployments to be calculated… by placing a refined and detailed emissions model in the hands of network planners and operators."

  • PacketFront AB is showing off its new GPON OLT (optical line terminal) products, for which it is making some serious power consumption claims, and demonstrating its ServiceEngine broadband aggregation unit, which, it says, can "replace costly B-RAS." (See PacketFront Unveils GPON Gear and PacketFront Unveils Aggregator.)

  • Prysmian SpA , one of the many fiber and components specialists exhibiting here, is showing off its new, very bendy G657 optical fiber, dubbed CasaLight Xtreme. [Ed. note: Isn't that the name of a very strong Danish lager?]

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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