May 23, 2007
Hitachi Telecom (USA) Inc. has become the first vendor to receive equipment approval through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program, for a full-rate Gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) system. Hitachi's AMN1220 fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) system received product acceptance, according to RUS filings.
Hitachi says the product is the first full-rate GPON device to have received RUS approval. [Ed. note: The first in recent memory, anyway -- see Optical Solutions Gets RUS OK.] While there are other products that provide PON services, the AMN1220 is the only one to be fully compliant with ITU GPON standards and provide a full 1.2 Gbit/s upstream and 2.4 Gbit/s downstream, the vendor says.
The upshot is that the AMN1220 can be deployed in rural communities using loans and grants for advanced telecom equipment from the USDA -- so it'll have the U.S. Gummint's great telecom welfare program working in its favor.
"The main thing this shows is that we are committed to North America," says Hitachi VP Scott Wilkinson. While the loans are only good for small communities -- those with 20,000 residents or fewer -- Wilkinson says Hitachi intends to "gain market share wherever we can."
To gain RUS approval, a product generally has to be deployed for at least six months. According to Wilkinson, the AMN1220 is the only ITU-compliant GPON unit to have been deployed that long in the U.S. market.
Hitachi's first commercial deployments of the product began in Bandon, Ore., and Dumont, Iowa, in June 2006. The Dumont system was deployed by Dumont Telephone, while the Bandon deployment was led by ComSpanUSA and Ledcor Technical Services (LTS). In March, ComSpan and LTS agreed to extend that deployment to nearby Coquille, which is 17 miles away. (See Hitachi GPON Deployed in Iowa, Oregon Town Lights Up, and LTS, ComSpan Deploy Hitachi GPON.)
The RUS program was designed to help rural communities extend affordable broadband access. Since its inception, over 70 loans, for more than $1.2 billion, have been granted for broadband deployments in 36 states. While there's no info available on how much gear bought actually makes it into telecom networks, the program is a nice thing for the gear guys.
Those loans have helped spread broadband access to more than 500,000 households in 1,000 communities throughout the country that would have otherwise not have advanced telecom services available to them, according to USDA data.
— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading
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