As broadband subscribers approach 635 million globally, the latest figures published by the Broadband Forum and prepared by broadband industry analysts Point Topic reveal that hybrid fiber access (FTTx) has experienced the highest market gain over the past year. Of the 54 million new broadband subscribers added in the year leading up to 3Q 2012, 26 million are being served with fiber (48%). Overall, fiber deployments have now passed cable to account for 19.7% of the total broadband market.
This update is delivered on the opening day of the FTTH Conference Europe, a conference that aims to promote the benefits of fiber access across the continent and accelerate the availability of fiber-based, ultra-high-speed access networks to both consumers and businesses.
Technology Q3 2011 Q4 2011 Q1 2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012
Fiber 99,148,740 106,146,809 112,319,534 117,380,402 125,054,374
Copper 350,084,349 353,335,639 359,560,708 364,516,750 366,962,524
Cable 112,141,446 114,799,009 117,046,090 119,188,313 121,008,163
Other 19,108,390 19,821,067 20,639,885 21,201,091 21,748,794
Source: Point Topic, Q3 2012
Despite facing harsh economic times, the overall broadband growth during the third quarter 2012 is estimated at over 12 million lines. Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic said: “As the world gradually emerges from financial turmoil the continued growth of broadband has been a steady light in the storm. We won’t see the triple digit growth of old but many markets are entering a phase of consolidation and consumer multi-service alignment.”
The Broadband Forum continues to expand its fiber-related solutions, building on its comprehensive BroadbandSuite™ 5.0 release, which is a major resource for the fiber industry to facilitate and accelerate the deployment of PON. The Broadband Forum G-PON ONU Certification Program – a world first initiative – is also expanding.
The certification program, known as BBF.247, is open to G-PON ONU products with Ethernet interfaces. This certification demonstrates that an ONU conforms to TR-156 and the associated OMCI configuration as defined in the ITU-T G.988, and provides vendors with the opportunity to test once and use their certification globally, saving testing cost and time as they compete in RFPs for business. Equally, it gives operators increased confidence in their vendor selection processes, another step towards providing truly interoperable solutions.
“Our G-PON Certification program will help the industry expedite fiber network rollout and pave the way for swift expansion of superfast broadband and the development of new technologies. It will enable next generation systems to come to the market faster and with interoperability from day one,” commented Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum.
The latest Broadband Forum work includes technical specifications related to Optical Access Nodes and associated test plans for conformance and inter-vendors interoperability. The ONU conformance testing program is being expanded to address specific ONU profiles. Test plans are also developing around a proposed Broadband Forum G-PON ONU/OLT test suite, which establishes OLT network interoperability with BBF.247 certified ONUs. Furthermore, the G-PON test plans are being extended to XG-PON1, covering both Physical Layer and upper layers for ITU-T PON technology.
Optical layer management for PON access and Layer 2 PON architecture and functional requirements are also in development, and projects on Intelligent Optical Distribution Networks (ODN) and Fiber to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) have just started. The FTTdp work is particularly exciting since it has the potential to speed up and simplify the installation of super-fast broadband. The Broadband Forum is working with the ITU-T to enable this new architecture, while ETSI is supporting the development by addressing the reverse powering aspects.