Indian Carriers Commit to GPON

NEW DELHI -- Broadband 2.0: Making the Business Case -- The GPON market is set for another boost, with at least two major Indian operators planning to deploy extensive fiber-to-the-home networks in the next few years, senior carrier executives told delegates at Light Reading's inaugural industry seminar in New Delhi yesterday. (See GPON Driving Worldwide Growth of FTTH and Who Makes What: GPON Equipment.)

In his keynote address to the 100 or so senior operator executives who attended the event, Rakesh Kumar, VP of Broadband Planning for Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL)'s Telemedia Services business unit, which provides fixed broadband services in 94 cities in India, said there was no point in building copper access networks any more, and that the operator, which has been active in India's emerging, but small, fixed broadband access market, would be deploying GPON.

Kumar said the operator had issued an RFP for a trial network, and expected to push ahead with a broader GPON deployment later in 2009 and 2010.

But Bharti Airtel isn't the only Indian operator with high-speed fixed access plans. BSNL, which currently has about 2.4 million DSL broadband customers, has been considering PON deployments for a few years and has now decided to invest in an extensive deployment. (See BSNL Wants GEPON, WiMax Gear.)

In his keynote address, Shri R. K. Agarwal, director of planning and new services at BSNL, said the carrier is committed to a GPON strategy that will see the technology rolled out in 100 cities across the country.

And BSNL's plans appear to be further advanced than ever before, with industry sources suggesting a shortlist of potential GPON vendors is set to be issued any time now. Among the vendors expected to be in the running are Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), ECI Telecom Ltd. , Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (See ECI Touts GPON Advance and GPON Gets a 10G Look.)

In the meantime, BSNL still hopes to boost its existing DSL customer base and has set itself targets of 5 million in its next financial year and 22 million by 2012.

And then there's the potential of various wireless technologies to help boost broadband uptake. Agarwal said WiMax services would be launched before the end of this year, while BSNL expects to launch 3G services as soon as January 2009. (See BSNL Preps New WiMax Tender, IndiaWatch: Tender Times at BSNL , India Edges Closer to 3G, and India Update: IPO Plan, WiMax Auction.)

Barriers to FTTH
The fiber access hopefuls face plenty of hurdles, however. One of the big problems facing the likes of BSNL and Bharti Airtel is the cost associated with gaining permission to build new ducts and lay the fiber, with Bharti Airtel's Kumar saying that about 70 percent of the cost of building an FTTH network was eaten up by payments to local authorities and the organizations involved in digging up the roads. Gaining access to buildings is also a major hurdle -- one that could lead to high-speed broadband access networks being deployed in local pockets, rather than being widespread.

India's fixed broadband sector certainly needs a boost. Despite its 1 billion-plus population, the country has only 4.6 million broadband customers (end of July), according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) , with the low number of home PCs regarded as one of the factors holding up increased penetration.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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Mark Sebastyn 12/5/2012 | 3:32:26 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON I'm confused - is BSNL GPON or GE-PON?
digits 12/5/2012 | 3:32:25 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON GPON.

BSNL has had a history of issuing requests for various flavors of PON, including the previous interest it showed in GE-PON, but now it looks like GPON is in favor.
digits 12/5/2012 | 3:32:24 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON Well, previously BSNL had gone to the market asking for submissions based around GE-PON, which is essentially the same as EPON, the native Ethernet tech widely deployed in APAC, esp Japan.

Now, though, BSNL seems to favor GPON, which also supports ATM and, I believe, also supports greater upink and downlink speeds.

It might be a while before we know just how serious BSNL is about deploying any flavor of PON any time soon, though it's interesting to note that it just issued a tender for VOIP gear to provision VOIP over FTTH connections - maybe that's an indication of greater intent!


Mark Sebastyn 12/5/2012 | 3:32:24 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON So basically you are saying you're just as confused as I am. :)
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:32:23 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON
No GPON systems nor any GPON chipsets on the planet support the ATM mode.

ftthexpert 12/5/2012 | 3:32:21 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON BSNL has 2 PON tenders. ~100k GE-PON ONTs tender and ~400k GPON tender. in addition they already secured ~150k ONT for ITI, making it total of 550k GPON ONTs. Responses to both tender are already being reviewed by BSNL. Both tenders are open and can be downloded from BSNL website. BSNL intendes to issue another 700k GPON tender in 2009 and another 700k in 2010 , making it around 2M GPON ONTs in 3 years
bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 3:32:20 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON I was not aware the average India person could afford GPON services ?

Here is some more money required by the 'credible' BSNL for bid submissions:

However intending bidders may obtain copy of Commercial conditions alongwith relevant Specifications from the Dy. Manager (MMT), 2nd floor Bharat Sanchar Bhawan, Janpath, New Delhi-110001 on payment of Rs 8,000/-(Rs Eight thousand) only non-refundable w.e.f. 16.09.2008 to 13.10.2008 between 15.00 hrs. to 16.00 hrs. on all working days. The payment will be accepted in the form of crossed Demand Draft, drawn on any Scheduled Bank in Delhi, in favour of Accounts Officer (Cash), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, (Corporate Office), New Delhi.


bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 3:32:20 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON BSNL are just a bunch of scamp artists....never trust an ......

Intending bidders may download the copy of the tender document from BSNL web site www.bsnl.co.in . after one week.

The payment of Rs.8,000/-(Rupees Eight thousand) only non-refundable as cost of the tender document is required to be submitted before submission of bid. The bid will not be accepted without the proof of payment of cost of tender document. Submission of Integrity Pact signed by both Purchaser and Participant bidder/vender is mandatory.
Hanns 12/5/2012 | 3:32:16 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON INR 8000 is about 170 USD. Will probably cover the printing charges. Is there a problem with that?
sigint 12/5/2012 | 3:32:15 PM
re: Indian Carriers Commit to GPON I was not aware the average India person could afford GPON services ?

Most companies pay for employees broadband charges and that's where I suspect most of the initial uptake would be. Telecommuting is increasingly common in the tech sector.
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