BT Preps GPON Shortlist
PARIS -– FTTH Council Europe -– BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has asked the next-generation access vendors to meet some exacting technical specifications for its greenfield and future fiber access requirements, and may announce a shortlist of vendors as early as this week, according to our sources here.
BT has told Light Reading that it has an ITT (invitation to tender) out in the market for GPON and other technology requirements, but declined to provide details as it says the tender is still ongoing.
While BT has no plans to deploy fiber access on a broad scale, it does have a trial in the southeast of England and plans to hook up new housing developments with FTTH connections. The carrier has been preparing for potential future rollouts and has, according to show floor chat here in Paris, included technical specifications that go way beyond what is possible with commercial GPON systems today. (See BT Goes With Huawei for FTTH and BT Won't Be Rushed.)
And BT has cast its net wide, it seems. As well as issuing its ITT to vendors already engaged in its 21CN next-generation network process, such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , and Nokia Networks , the carrier has also involved vendors such as ECI Telecom Ltd. and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), which is only just ramping up its FTTH presence here in Europe.
Industry executives with some knowledge of BT's processes suggest that while AlcaLu and Huawei are likely to feature on the shortlist, Ericsson -- while having a well-regarded technical solution -- will miss out, due in part to the problems BT has had with the Swedish vendor's next-generation voice and IMS technology in the proposed 21CN I-node. (See Upheaval at BT's 21CN? and Ericsson to Bring Partners to 21CN Party.)
One company expected to be included in the shortlist, though, is ECI. The vendor had been working with BT on its 21CN trials back in 2004 and 2005, but was not included when BT chose its main vendor partners in April 2005. (See ECI's FTTP Goes Live in BT Trial and BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading