Underscoring the invaluable role of fiber as the backbone of ultra-broadband and 5G networks, Italian energy and telecom cables systems provider Prysmian today disclosed a three-year, $300 million contract to supply Verizon with fiber.
The move comes less than three weeks after Verizon inked a $1.03 billion contract to purchase fiber optic cable and related hardware from Corning. The two deals suggest Verizon -- at least for now -- has decided building out more fiber itself is the better option than acquiring it from other companies in the quest for fiber backhaul. (See Verizon's Fiber Spend Won't End with Corning.)
"This strategic supply agreement helps ensure we can ramp supply in order to expand our network capacity and speed 5G deployment," said Viju Menon, Verizon's chief supply chain officer, in a statement.
In each case, Verizon will use the acquired fiber-optic cable as part of its continued expansion of a fiber platform designed for 5G deployment, to enhance 4G LTE wireless and empower the service provider to deliver additional broadband offerings. The contract also demonstrates Verizon's commitment to NG-PON2, said Philippe Vanhille, senior vice president of telecom at Prysmian Group, in a statement.
"Both Prysmian and Verizon feel strongly that demand and supply for the next-generation passive optical network (NG-PON) will last well beyond 2020 as new technologies like 5G and the IoT become reality," he said.
NG-PON2 allows service providers to mix-and-match vendor equipment on the network, said Vincent O'Byrne, director of technology, in an interview with UBB2020 earlier this month. "We can assign different wavelengths to one vendor, then another, so you can have for example, Calix and ADTRAN on the same fiber, supporting different wavelengths, going to different customers," he said. "It offers us an awful lot of flexibility which reduces the outside plant sizing."
To support the contract, Prysmian plans to expand its operations in the United States. It currently operates three plants; one produces optical fiber, while the other two produce optical cable. The new US-based operation will work with material-management services from partners that are owned and operated by certified woman-business enterprises, Prysmian said.
The cable operator, which recently finalized its acquisition of NewWave Communications, sees continued growth from high-speed data and business services powered by fiber-based ultra-broadband, executives told a financial conference this week.
During the first quarter of 2017, cable operators gained about 1 million subscribers in this period, while the top telephone companies lost approximately 45,000 subscribers, according to a recent study by Leichtman Research Group.
Global communications service providers continue to evolve their networks to deliver the user-driven service models and higher bandwidths demanded by consumers. At the same time, 5G densification initiatives are top of mind around the globe, with hundreds of thousands of 5G small cells needing an open, programmable and highly scalable access technology to fuel the growing demand for connectivity. As a result, 5G densification projects will demand fixed-access networks, supporting fronthaul, backhaul and crosshaul applications that provide:
Service agility by applying modern data center principles aligned with DevOps service creation and deployment
Hardware and facilities redundancy offering unprecedented business continuity
Low latency supporting the rigid specifications of the 5G standard
Network elasticity to support service growth to not just multi-gigabit, but multi-10Gbit/s levels
Cost sensitivity supporting mass market services further enabled by Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS)
With the current maturation of 10G broadband technologies, and the heightened demand for high-speed fixed and mobile connectivity, 2017 is promising to be the year mass-market, multi-gigabit 10Gbit/s fiber services become commercially viable.
NG-PON2 broadband access technology is already in trials with multiple major network operators but is it too early for the commercial deployment of this next generation ultra-broadband technology? In this UBB2020 live radio show, ADTRAN's Kurt Raaflaub provides an update on NG-PON2 developments and chats to Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre about how this technology could play a role in production access networks in 2017.