NEW YORK - Verizon will widen its broadband speed advantage over other telecom and cable TV companies by installing equipment from Alcatel, Motorola and Tellabs that will dramatically increase speeds on the company's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.
Later this year, Verizon will begin deploying the Alcatel equipment first, to be followed by Motorola and Tellabs. This is subject to finalizing definitive agreements.
Initially, the new equipment will be capable of increasing broadband speeds by up to four times downstream to the customer's home and by up to eight times upstream back to the Internet on Verizon's FTTP network.
The company announced today that equipment from the three suppliers will support what is known as a Gigabit Passive Optical Network, or G-PON. Verizon will begin installing the Alcatel equipment first in company central-switching offices and in new installations of direct fiber-optic links terminating at a customer's home. Deployment of the Motorola and Tellabs equipment will follow. Both of those companies today supply electronic equipment for the current technology being deployed in Verizon's 16-state FTTP network, known as B-PON or Broadband Passive Optical Network.
"G-PON is the next step in the evolution of the all-fiber-access network," said Paul Lacouture, Verizon's executive vice president for network and technology. "When we first launched the nation's only large-scale FTTP program in 2004, we said that one of the most important competitive and cost-effective features is that we could increase speed and capabilities by evolving to more advanced electronics and without having to change the fiber we had already deployed or are deploying. Today's announcement begins to fulfill that promise.
"In addition to the ability to boost our broadband Internet speeds on fiber, this new technology will enhance the video-on-demand capabilities of our existing FiOS TV product on fiber and sets the stage for an all-IP TV offering in the future," he said. "This new technology also brings us substantial cost benefits, allowing us to reduce costs of the electronics portion of the FTTP platform by about 25 percent. The bottom line is that this is an access network at the local level that is without peer in this industry."
Verizon is the only major U.S. company installing fiber-optic connections directly into consumers' homes on a widespread scale - paving the way for industry-leading FiOS broadband data and video products. Verizon is building the network in more than half the 28 states the company serves.
The company's fiber-based FiOS Internet services today feature blazing-fast broadband connections with downstream speeds ranging from up to 5 Mbps to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) as well as upstream speeds ranging from up to 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps. Verizon already sells these services in over 1,200 communities in 16 states.
Verizon also sells its all-digital, high-capacity FiOS TV product over the same fiber network in 58 communities in seven states - competing directly with incumbent cable-TV companies and finally providing consumers in those communities with a choice for TV service.
Verizon launched its FTTP project in Texas in 2004, passed about 3 million homes and businesses with the technology by the end of 2005, and is on track to pass a total of 6 million premises by the end of this year. Verizon expects to continue to add about 3 million premises passed each year for the next several years.
FTTP replaces the copper wires that today connect most customers to telecom networks. Optical technology, particularly through the use of different transmission path wavelengths or colors, allows a telecom company to provide an array of new broadband, video and other services to customers because of fiber's almost limitless capacity. The fiber-optic network is also more reliable than traditional copper networks because it is less susceptible to problems related to moisture and electrical interference. For example, when heavy rains and floods swept through parts of eastern New England recently, Verizon customers served by FTTP reported significantly fewer problems than those served by copper.
The network is generically known as a passive optical network (PON) because it eliminates powered, neighborhood remote terminals that are required by traditional hybrid copper/fiber networks and are located between the company's central office and the customer. Since PON networks don't require such electronics, they can increase the overall reliability of the network and reduce operational and maintenance expenses.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million customers nationwide. Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.