TGIF. In this week's Gigabites, the industry looks ahead to multi-gig services, Google Fiber continues to fight for pole attachment rights and more.
It's only a matter of time before the gigabit race morphs into a drive for even higher speeds. Already some companies are pushing the envelope, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) with its 2-Gig service and EPB Fiber Optics with its 10-Gig offering. (See Gigabites: EPB Signs First 10-Gig Customer and Comcast Trots Out Gigabit Pro… at a Price.)
The newest evidence of multi-Gig ambitions, however, comes from Google Fiber Inc. and the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) . As first reported by Business Insider, Google Fiber has posted a new job opening for a Photonics Engineer with the goal of taking the challenge "to innovate integrated photonics device technologies to enable scalable access network bandwidth beyond GB/s per user in a cost effective manner." Note the emphasis on cost effectiveness. Given Google Fiber's limited scale with broadband deployments and its desire to outpace the rest of the market, it's going to have to come up with some significant innovations to make higher speeds a practical reality.
Meanwhile, the ITU is looking at an industry-wide approach to attacking the next broadband hurdle. The agency recently approved two new standards for 10-Gig (XGS-PON) and 40-Gig (NG-PON2) symmetrical fiber services. Next-generation PON technology has long been on the horizon, with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) announcing last August that it would put out a request for proposals for an NG-PON2 deployment before the end of 2015. The telco operator, however, has since been mum on the subject. (See Verizon Revs Up Wireline Race With NG-PON2.)
Want to learn more about Gigabit Cities? Join us for Light Reading's second annual Gigabit Cities Live event taking place this year on April 5 in Charlotte, NC.
Elsewhere in Google Fiber land, the ISP continues to do the dirty work of negotiating for access to utility poles in targeted city deployments. The company has reportedly signed deals in Portland, Ore., that will give it pole attachment rights around the city, and the ability to roll out gigabit services. However, in the Bay Area, Google Fiber is running into opposition from both cable companies and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). The Internet company is fighting a similar battle in Louisville, Ken. (See Gigabites: Google Fiber Fights for Pole Position.)
Finally, this week's Gigabites would be remiss without a nod toward cable's progress on gigabit-enabling DOCSIS 3.1 technology. At Light Reading's Next-Gen Technologies conference, several large operators talked about their D3.1 plans, while Viavi Solutions Inc. highlighted its launch of the industry's first D3.1 signal meter for testing gigabit service delivery. (See Cable Divided on OTT, DOCSIS 3.1 Strategies.)
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading