All-Fiber Network Is a Game Changer, Verizon CTO Says

Verizon's advanced all-fiber-optic network and the powerful in-home networks built for each Verizon FiOS customer are setting the stage for a wave of dramatic future service innovations delivered over converged home, fiber-optic, next-generation broadband wireless, backbone and global Internet protocol (IP) networks.

"The real opportunity of a fiber-access network is created by the seamless interconnection with our wireless broadband and global IP networks," said Dick Lynch, Verizon executive vice president and chief technology officer, at the Fiber to the Home Conference and Expo here Tuesday (Sept. 29).  "This dramatically enhances and expands the scope of what fiber can deliver to consumers.

"Along with FiOS, these networks are the most disruptive technologies the world has seen. All of this incredible technology will work together to make our country competitive in the global economy and deliver on the big social issues that America faces - things like education, health care and energy conservation," he said.

[Note: The text of Lynch's remarks is available by clicking here.]

Lynch explained that Verizon's FiOS service - which is the only service from a company Verizon's size delivered over an all-fiber network, straight to homes - incorporates a dynamic in-home network that connects entertainment and Internet devices and services, enabling a rich, converged experience for customers.  Leveraging the hardware and software in the home is revolutionizing the customer experience, allowing media sharing, on-screen widgets that blend the Web and the TV together, and making possible new network-supported services such as energy management and security.

Lynch noted that FiOS is making home networks look more like corporate local area networks, but with a focus on lifestyle enhancement and convenience.

"Instead of moving business data back and forth, our residential customers want to move their digital pictures, videos, music and movies between all of the devices they own," he said. "Verizon can help manage all the complexity and diagnostics of home networks from within our network, far away from the end user."

The conference is sponsored by the Fiber to the Home Council, a nonprofit organization established to help its members with planning, marketing, implementing and managing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) solutions. Council membership includes municipalities, utilities, developers, and traditional and nontraditional service providers.

In addition to delivering a keynote address, Lynch accepted the council's highest honor, its Chairman's Award, for Verizon's efforts in promoting, accelerating the use of FTTH technology.

Recounting the history of FiOS, Lynch said that when Verizon decided to launch its FTTH project more than five years ago, the company saw that the world was moving toward vastly higher bandwidth applications and that copper and coaxial networks wouldn't satisfy these customer demands.

At that time, there were comparatively slow Internet access speeds, minimal pay TV choices, and audio, video and home-computing gear and two-way file sharing were just catching hold. "We knew that the fiber-to-the-home era was at hand," Lynch said.

Since the beginning of its commercial deployment, Verizon's FTTH network has grown to where it will pass 15 million homes and businesses by year-end.  The network delivers access for all its customers to Internet service at up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 20 Mbps upstream, and TV service with about 120 high-definition (HD) channels. Sales penetration rates for FiOS Internet and TV are already 28 percent and 25 percent, respectively.  More than 300,000 new customers signed on to each of the services in the second quarter, bringing the totals to 3.1 million customers for FiOS Internet and 2.5 million for FiOS TV.

"We lead the industry in HD and video-on-demand (VOD) programming," Lynch said. "We currently have about 120 HD channels, with more on the way.  We provide 15,000 VOD titles per month, of which 1,400 are in high definition. And we include a broad collection of programming with 500 all-digital channels."

After discussing various lessons learned in Verizon's FiOS endeavor, Lynch challenged the assembled carriers, suppliers and technologists to keep the fiber effort moving forward.

He said development of standards for emerging services must be expedited, citing the need to reduce the standards for 3D video from about a dozen to one.

Energy efficiency is another mandate, he said. Network elements that consume less energy and generate less heat are a priority.

New systems that drive high-speed broadband further into the marketplace are also a priority.  Passive optical network technology that delivers strong signals out to 40 kilometers and beyond is an important goal, he said.

Finally, he urged attention to policies that would restrict "dynamic industries like ours." He said rigid regulatory solutions that are "one step behind the marketplace" won't work.

Lynch cited a quote from author and inventor Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Then he concluded: "After all my years in the communications business, I'm happy to say that - from where I sit - there's plenty more magic to come."

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 87 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.