Fibre drives global broadband access

Global market share by technologyHybrid fibre access (FTTx) has experienced the highest market gain over the past year, according to the latest figures published by the Broadband Forum and prepared by Point Topic.

The total number of broadband subscribers is approaching 635 million globally. Of the 54 million new broadband subscribers added in the year leading up to 3Q 2012, 26 million are being served with fibre (48%). Overall, fibre deployments have now passed cable to account for 19.7% of the total broadband market.

Growth in technology subscribersThe 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 fibre-related solutions, building on its comprehensive BroadbandSuite 5.0 release, which is a major resource for the fibre industry to facilitate and accelerate the deployment of PON. The Broadband Forum G-PON ONU Certification Programme is also expanding.

The certification programme, 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 programme 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.