Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), Canada's largest cable operator, confirmed that it is using fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to power a new broadband service tier that provides upload and download speeds of up to 250Mbit/s.

The tier, called Rogers Ultimate Fibre Internet, is currently available only in parts of Toronto and the MSO's Atlantic region, which includes Moncton. The service comes with a monthly 500-gigabyte usage limit. Rogers has yet to provide pricing options for the new 250-Meg tier.

The new service outpaces Rogers's current top-end Docsis 3.0-based service, which, following a recent set of upgrades, maxes out at 150Mbit/s down and 10Mbit/s upstream and runs $122.99 per month (depending on how it's packaged). Customers of the 150-Meg tier are subject to a charge of $0.50 per gigabyte (up to a maximum of $100) if they exceed the tier's monthly 250GB data threshold.

Outgunning Bell Canada
The new Rogers offering also outruns BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), which, depending on the region, sells a symmetrical 175Mbit/s service (with a monthly 500GB cap) for $202.95 per month when bundled with other services.

Word of the Rogers fiber-fed tier began to spread on blogs such as Broadband Reports in mid-November. Rogers denied any characterizations that the 250-Meg service is a trial or test.

"[T]his is not a beta. ... Rogers is implementing a first market rollout of fibre to the home in select regions in Toronto and the Atlantic," a Rogers spokeswoman said via email.

She noted that the current, limited deployment is based on GPON and got underway in early November. Rogers isn't saying when or where it will expand the reach of the Ultimate Fibre Internet tier.

Rogers marks the latest major North American cable operator to use FTTH surgically for high-end speed tiers. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), for example, is using its Metro Ethernet platform for a new residential service that offers 305Mbit/s down by 65Mbit/s upstream. That Extreme 305 service, launched in the fall, is currently offered in several major markets in the Northeastern U.S., including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (See Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot .)

The latest generation of Docsis 3.0 chipsets can support downstream bursts of 1Gbit/s. Comcast, however, intends to use MetroE in the near term for Extreme 305 as it gauges consumer demand for the new tier, which is uncapped and runs $300 per month. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:17:06 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

Another thing i'm trying to get an answer on is why Rogers is using GPON for this. Need to double-check, but I thought that perhaps they were already using some GPON for commercial services, so they are just taking advantage of that earlier technology decision. If so, the reasoning would be similar to Comcast, which is taking advantage of its primarily biz-focused MetroE platform for its new super high-end residential broadband service. 

Anyway, just some speculation while I wait for Rogers to respond.

But I also thought the choice of GPON was  notable since U.S. MSOs such as TW Cable and Bright House have been more focused on using EPON as their fiber-fed services platform JB


Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:17:06 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

Still awaiting an answer from Rogers on how this is being priced... right now the site for the tier has a "check availability" button that needs a postal code in a part of town that is eligible for the service.  I've been plugging in Toronto-area zip codes but so far no luck. Anyone in Rogers-ville that has access to this?  Curious to find out what  price are they asking? JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:17:04 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

And how this is priced will probably also show that Rogers doesn't expect to get big uptake, anyway, for a service that (except for the presense of a consumption cap) is more clearly fashioned for business users.  But it does give it some marketing one-upsmanship with Bell Canada, which is sort of what all these big speed offers are really about these days... the marketers probably love it, even if it's not practical for or needed by the vast majority of the customer base. JB


Duh! 12/5/2012 | 5:17:03 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

That got my attention as well.  I never really heard a sound argument as to why the MSOs went with EPON rather than GPON, and pretty much concluded that they were just looking to do the opposite of what the Telcos were doing. 

Nonetheless,  DPOE would strongly override the arguments in favor of GPON for operators with existing DOCSIS installations and back-office systems.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:17:02 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

I think one thing that could help out would be to know if they were doing 2 or 3 wavelength installations.  I could see it if they were doing 3 wavelength.  I do not see a big advantage for GPON in businesses.  Unless they are small businesses and then only maybe.

If you believe the MAC could have better traffic management, then you would have to understand what TM is actually implemented and what you get for it and pay for it.



jayja 12/5/2012 | 5:17:01 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

Aren't Moncton and Halifax the places where Bell Alliant is offering FTTH?  What a coincidence.

I presumed MSOs seem to prefer EPON because they seem to have more influence in the standards development process in IEEE than ITU-T.  It is a good question why Rogers would prefer GPON.

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:17:00 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

There's something of a fault line between MSOs that have more telco DNA and those with less. Rogers has more. As does Cox (which has deployed Calix GPON). TWC and Comcast, less. Though DPoE may be leveling that ground in the PON arena.

Argee 12/5/2012 | 5:16:53 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

good luck finding any pricing on this tier.  apparently it's not offered at the postal codes for their corporate head office or main engineering locations either, not to mention my home or several friends homes.

as for the rest of the article, actually Shaw has been the largest Canadian MSO for the past year, maybe 2.  Rogers is not in Halifax - that's Eastlink's area. Rogers is in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland with their CATV licenses but not in Nova Scotia.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:16:52 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

Thanks, i took Halifax out... and I"m still waiting for some pricing details from them :)

As for MSO size, i was basing that on cable subs... but I do see that they are pretty much neck and neck at about 2.2M. Still, point taken. JB


Argee 12/5/2012 | 5:16:51 PM
re: Rogers Starts to Get It On With GPON

When Shaw bought Mountain Cable it put them ahead by about 200k.  The DBS sub count just adds to their overall size.

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