Ericsson: Ready to Ramp GPON
Its only Tier 1 fiber access customer is AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which plans to deploy GPON technology for “greenfield” fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) subdivisions.
Yes, we said, “plans.” AT&T has not yet begun its GPON deployments with Ericsson’s gear; it’s still in the testing phase. (See AT&T Prepping for GPON.) The carrier’s schedule from the start has been to significantly ramp up installations towards the end of 2008, but Ericsson says 2009 is more realistic.
“It will probably be a 2009 story,” says Bhikshesvaran. “We are working with AT&T now with the different configurations of how we are going to deploy it. We started off with one particular configuration, and will probably expand into a second and third one.”
But, of course, with Ericsson everything is about scale, and AT&T is no different. Bhikshesvaran says that scale will pan out over the next 18 months. “Things are going well. We are on the right track.”
While the GPON has yet to hit full stride, there’s already talk from other vendors that WDM PON may give GPON gear a shorter than expected shelf life. Ericsson says that’s not a problem.
“You have to offer a balance between investment protection and innovation,” says Bhikshesvaran.
“The stuff we put in the ground has to survive at least until it is completely depreciated. But at the same time we can’t strand our customers from an innovation perspective.” Bhikshesvaran says Ericsson is working on developing WDM PON products along with other advanced forms of GPON such as 10 Gbit/s PON. Those products could come to market sooner rather than later.
“Three to five years is probably a reasonable estimate for WDM PON,” he says.
For more of Bhikshesvaran’s views on other technologies, including 3G networks and femtocells, have a look at our LRTV interview from earlier this year by clicking the start button:
— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading