FT Preps Major Backhaul Rollout

Sources say France Telecom is evaluating suppliers for a major, multi-country upgrade of its fixed broadband backhaul capabilities

October 2, 2008

2 Min Read
FT Preps Major Backhaul Rollout

BRUSSELS -- Broadband World Forum Europe 2008 -- Orange (NYSE: FTE) is planning a significant upgrade to part of its fixed broadband backhaul capabilities following an extensive equipment tender process involving 20 vendors.

According to multiple industry executives here with knowledge of the tender, France Telecom is planning to source a "significant volume" of network edge multiservice boxes that would enable the carrier to aggregate its growing volumes of traffic from DSL equipment housed in non-urban local exchanges.

The French carrier is said to be looking to simplify its backhaul architecture for rural and remote local exchanges that house ATM-based and IP DSLAMs by installing small, efficient aggregation boxes that can backhaul broadband traffic from multiple local exchanges over a single fiber to the operator's metro networks.

But it's not just doing this in France -- it also plans to include a number of other overseas territories where it has broadband operations.

Details are scarce -- the carrier hasn't responded to Light Reading's questions as of yet -– but those international markets could include Poland, Spain, and the U.K., which are just some of the markets where the carrier offers fixed-line broadband access under its Orange brand.

While the value of the deal is unclear, the prospect of being chosen by France Telecom for this deal has apparently been exciting a number of the companies that were sent the request for proposal (RFP) and invited to bid.

One source suggested that France Telecom had already whittled down the vendors to a shortlist of three, and that a final decision was imminent, although this couldn't be verified.

Some vendors with products that would suit FT's needs are: ADVA Optical Networking , Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Allied Telesis Inc. , BTI Systems Inc. , Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), ECI Telecom Ltd. , Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Nokia Networks , Nortel Networks Ltd. , Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), and Transmode Systems AB .

While a number of those companies are here in Brussels, none was prepared to discuss any ongoing RFP processes.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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