The majority of buzz here so far is focused on the Last Mile -- that most treacherous strip of land between the carrier's facilities and the customer's premises. More than ever, equipment vendors want to provide triple-play (voice, video, and data) services to carriers. As a rundown of this morning's vendor announcements shows, this triple-play desire is making for unlikely bedfellows:
In that vein, Entrisphere has struck a partnership with Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (FNC) as a way of ensuring that the big incumbents take it seriously. In fact, the two companies have acknowledged that they are bidding as a team in the big fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) request for proposal (RFP) that BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), and SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) have put out (see Analysts Narrow RFP Odds).
Fujitsu isn't the strongest player in the North American access space, but it's looking to put together the right partners and deliver carriers a triple-play product. At its booth, Fujitsu has a full triple-play network with Entrisphere’s BLM platform as the optical line terminal (OLT), Vinci Systems' V-142 as the optical network termination (ONT) unit, and several video overlay pieces provided by Fujitsu partner Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT).
Meanwhile, Net to Net Technologies Inc. announced a quality-of-service software upgrade that affects all of its DSLAMs. Now the Net to Net boxes can better handle differentiated services -- meaning they can help carriers prioritize different types of voice, video, and data IP traffic.
CopperCom Inc., too, is hoping to entice carriers to switch their switches. The struggling switch maker, which was bought recently by The Heico Companies, says its customers can now rent, buy, or lease its gear. The company is announcing Norcast Communications as a new customer for Class 4 and Class 5 services, though it didn't specify if Norcast is actually buying some gear, or just renting it, as one would an impractical car on vacation.
So that's the skinny so far -- access vendors are pairing up, DSLAM vendors are adding features and becoming more remote, and next-gen switch vendors are finding new ways to entice reluctant carriers.
So what about those carrier customers? So far, Ed Whitacre hasn't been spotted at the blackjack table -- whether or not there's cash or PON equipment on the line. More on USTA later.
— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading