Preparing for a 100Mbps+ future...
Verizon is in the process of migrating their FiOS network from BPON to GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) fiber technology. Their current BPON technology splits 622Mbps downstream and 155Mbps upstream among 32 users. GPON technology will allow them to offer 2.4Gbps downstream and 1.2Gbps upstream among 32-64 users (eliminating ATM, making it also more efficient). While they currently offer a 50Mbps tier and are testing 100Mbps at select employee homes, GPON theoretically allows them to nudge that closer to 200Mbps.
Even Verizon admits that 100Mbps and faster speeds are little more than marketing fodder
right now. Most people don't need that type of bandwidth unless they're funneling scientific data to and from their own personal observatory. Verizon's vice president of FiOS TV content strategy, Terry Denson, last year stated that 100Mbps "raises the ante on the competitive landscape, so that customers believe that 100 Mb/s is what they need to have." Still, there's nothing wrong with being prepared.
According to Verizon's latest earnings, the almost 200 switching centers in 12 states where GPON is being deployed today will grow to 400 centers by the end of 2009. More than 40 percent of homes passed by fiber will be served by GPON technology by the end of next year, getting closer to around 50 percent by 2010.
Verizon's upgrades have certainly been kind to the GPON hardware industry. According to a new study
by Infonetics Research, Verizon's purchase of GPON OLTs from Alcatel Lucent (the above insert is from one of their GPON product flyers) and Motorola led the GPON equipment segment to surge 77% quarter over quarter.