RBOCs Agree on Access Specs
SAN ANTONIO -- Three of the nation's largest telecommunications service providers - BellSouth (NYSE:BLS), SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:SBC) and Verizon
(NYSE:VZ) - have adopted a set of common technical requirements based on established industry standards and specifications for a technology known as fiber to the premises (FTTP). These advanced fiber-optic systems can be used to connect homes and businesses to telecom networks.
Today's announcement is a major step in paving the way for deployment of next-generation broadband networks that offer nearly limitless bandwidth for home and business Internet, voice and innovative new video services. FTTP, whether to the curb or to the building, will provide an ideal platform to support a number of emerging and evolving applications, such as interactive gaming, photo sharing, PC backup and telecommuting, along with video conferencing, premises surveillance and other novel video services, which could be delivered on demand and in high definition.
The use of common technical requirements, based on existing technical standards, will enable equipment manufacturers to more cost-effectively develop and build FTTP equipment for BellSouth, SBC Communications, Verizon and other service providers. Today's announcement positions the industry for economic deployment of fiber optics much closer to homes and businesses, enabling these communications customers to see faster rollout of powerful broadband services. In addition, the new technology will offer enhanced overall network reliability and service quality.
The three service providers today issued a letter to telecom equipment manufacturers, alerting them that the providers will soon be seeking proposals for equipment based on the common requirements. BellSouth, SBC and Verizon will independently finalize their FTTP deployment plans for 2004 and beyond, based on the evaluation of these proposals, ongoing internal studies, and on the resolution of related regulatory issues.
Upcoming rulings from the FCC could settle some of the uncertainty regarding new technologies such as FTTP and clear the path for companies to deploy new and powerful networks. For example, the FCC is expected to soon issue its final order under its Triennial Review of network interconnection regulations. That ruling, the first of several anticipated, is expected to include provisions that more clearly set forth the FCC's policy regarding new network technologies like FTTP, including the extent to which unbundling and pricing regulations such as those imposed on traditional copper technologies will apply on a nationwide basis. The FCC also has additional proceedings under way to address other potential regulatory hurdles to deployment of these new technologies.
FTTP will enable service providers to deliver nearly unlimited bandwidth and a full range of applications directly to residential and business customers. FTTP can accommodate next-generation applications such as ultra high-speed Internet access and networking, multiple voice lines and innovative, even high-definition video applications.
"Fiber to the premises could be the most fundamental and important enhancement in telecom communications services since wireless networks were built," said Matt Davis, director of Broadband Access Technologies at the Yankee Group. "With these common technology requirements, and the expected resulting manufacturing economies, widespread FTTP deployment has the potential to spur new telecom investment, stimulate competition across the spectrum of communications and entertainment services, and enable innovative, bandwidth-hungry applications for consumers."
SBC Communications Inc.
Verizon Communications Inc.