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PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal

Swedish access infrastructure vendor PacketFront AB has landed a multimillion-euro deal to provide the network and home gateway systems for a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The contract, which will be announced Tuesday, has been awarded by Wien Energie Wienstrom, a utility company owned by the city of Vienna, which has devised a plan to hook up all of the capital's 800,000 homes with high-speed fiber access connections.

The first phase of the rollout, which has a €10 million (US$14 million) capex budget, will connect 50,000 homes during the next two years. The city-owned company will run and manage the infrastructure as an open access network, with multiple service providers offering their access and content packages to the Viennese customers, a model already popular in Sweden and which has also been adopted by the Amsterdam CityNet fiber access project. (See Amsterdam Fires Up Muni Broadband.)

While many other European FTTH rollouts are using GPON technology, where bandwidth is shared among a number of connected households, Wien Energie has opted to deploy an active Ethernet infrastructure, with a dedicated and managed connection to each household, another decision that mirrors the Amsterdam project. French triple-play pioneer Iliad (Euronext: ILD) has also opted for an active Ethernet-based strategy. (See Amsterdam Gets Active With FTTH and Iliad Gets Active With FTTH.)

The fiber is being run through the utility company's existing ducts, with the access links connected to PacketFront's Advanced Services Router (ASR) and managed using the vendor's BECS operating software. The vendor is also supplying its home gateways for installation at the customer premises.

Although PacketFront CEO Martin Thunman declined to comment on the financial details of the deal, FTTH economics (network operator costs of €150 and above to connect and light an FTTH connection) suggests that his company will secure the majority of the project's capex.

Thunman says the deal is a breakthrough for the company, which claims to have 50 customer deployments in Europe, because it's for a high-profile capital city, the company's first, and outside the Nordic region, where most of PacketFront's business to date has been won. (See PacketFront Wins in Norway and EuroProfile: PacketFront.)

The CEO also cites the importance of having a home gateway product to offer as part of an end-to-end FTTH package. PacketFront acquired home gateway partner 42Networks in December 2006. (See PacketFront Buys 42Networks .)

Thunman also believes the deployment will be an important reference site that other project teams planning FTTH rollouts in Central and Eastern Europe can visit. The CEO says he is seeing a lot of fiber access activity in the region, driven mainly by ISPs and local competitive carriers, though established leading operators are also taking the fiber access plunge. (See Slovenia Snacks on Fiber Diet.)

The Middle East also offers FTTH growth opportunities, notes the CEO, due to the growing number of major housing projects being built in the region.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 3:02:05 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal Packetfront also won Palo Alto's latest efforts to install a fiber network. And they bought Dynamic City, so they now are running Utah's UTOPIA municipal networks.

http://www.paloaltoonline.com/...
dsoubra 12/5/2012 | 3:02:04 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal A good argument is here:

http://www.cisco.com/applicati...

The PON network approaches a P2P network as the consumer demands and gets more bandwidth since the split ratio gets smaller and smaller.

In Europe, the fiber to the home network was already laid out by the municipality so P2P is natural which then dictates that any new fiber network expansion will follow the same structure.

In USA, the fiber network is brand new and the goal is not necessarly to give 1G to each customer, hence the split ratio for PON.

I believe that in Japan, despite the fact that they use GEPON, the split ratio is 1:1 .
jepovic 12/5/2012 | 3:02:04 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal It seems like European fiber buildouts are done mainly with fiber point to point (P2P, just like the copper accesses) or Fiber to the basement (FTTB, with an Ethernet switch in the basement of an apartment complex and CAT6 cabling in the house). PON of all types are struggling.

Why is this? Are there fundamental differences in the networks, or is it just a result of American vendors preferring PON? What are the consequences, long-term?

It would be interesting to see an LR article on this topic!
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:02:03 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal
Municipalities are deploying P2P fiber in many places. They are told (right or wrong) that it is easier to offer open services across this infrastructure.

The incumbents in Europe are headed to GPON. FT, DT, Telefonica, and TI have RFP activity for GPON.

Japan deploys a 16:1 split for GEPON and would like to up the split ratio.

seven
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:02:03 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal
Municipalities are deploying P2P fiber in many places. They are told (right or wrong) that it is easier to offer open services across this infrastructure.

The incumbents in Europe are headed to GPON. FT, DT, Telefonica, and TI have RFP activity for GPON.

Japan deploys a 16:1 split for GEPON and would like to up the split ratio.

seven
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:02:02 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal
1 carriers versus 5 of the biggest. DSL from the curb is not FTTH, it is DSL.

Cisco has that paper because they have no PON story. P2P is greatly loved by Ethernet folks, who have little to no knowledge of carrier access.

seven
bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 3:02:02 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal
- EMEA is very slow to roll out fiber to anything , due in part to the historial dense infastructure.
- GPON is favored by the large EMEA PTTs i.e, ITU influence
- P2P is favored by the city carriers and Utility companies - IETF influence.

- Operationally once you dig a hole it is easier to deploy P2P fiber in EMEA since the OSP has short loop lengths than say NA. In addition you can still operate a GPON approach with splitters in the CO.

- EMEA carriers trend is to a "Layer2+" P2P approach - earlier brainwashing by Cisco for "Layer3" P2P has caused many managability problems and increases in OPEX.
jepovic 12/5/2012 | 3:02:02 PM
re: PacketFront Lands Vienna Deal "The incumbents in Europe are headed to GPON. "

I disagree. There are plenty of incumbents building P2P and FTTB, eg TeliaSonera. There are also VDSL from the curb-buildouts, eg by Belgacom. Overall though, the incumbents aren't doing much investments at all.

I must say the Cisco paper makes a strong case fot P2P. PON seems very short-term, and is a mess from an operational point of view. I think the main advantage is that it effectively prevents LLUB.
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