SBC Communications took a step forward with its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) initiative this week, signing on Alcatel as its primary supplier over the next four years.
SBC said it will begin FTTP lab testing and field trials during the first half of 2004. SBC said future FTTP deployments will hinge on the results of that testing and clarification of any regulatory guidelines that might apply to FTTP networks.
SBC will tap Alcatel’s 7340 FTTU (Fiber-to-the-User) platform, which consists of a variety of passive-optical network elements, including equipment for the central office and business- and home-based terminals. The platform is currently up and running in Mission Bay, Calif., serving about 6,000 residences. The agreement between SBC and Alcatel is non-exclusive. General Bandwidth disclosed that it is one of Alcatel’s partners, providing the voice portion of SBC’s FTTP trials.
SBC’s decision to move ahead follows a similar move by Verizon, which last month announced its initial pool of FTTP vendors and plans to pass about 1 million homes with the technology in 2004.
In May, Verizon, BellSouth and SBC announced that they had adopted technical standards for FTTP and issued a joint request for proposal to equipment vendors.