Believe it or not, there is a light at the end of the passive optical networking (PON) tunnel. Technology refinements, regulatory issues, and a slow economy have all stung this market. But according to the Probe Group, an analyst company, total global PON revenues will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 39.3% between 2003 and 2008. Probe cites three trends that herald this rebound.
First, the Federal Communications Commission has said that former regional Bell operating companies don't have to share their broadband access equipment with competing service providers, clearing one of the perceived obstacles to PON deployments in the U.S.
Second, most Asian growth has taken place in the fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) PON market. While Japan's NTT has developed a number of PON technologies with systems vendors, it also began commercially deploying FTTB in multidwelling units/apartments as well as fiber-to-the-home on a large scale. Look for commercial PON FTTP deployments in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and China in the coming year, too.
Finally, the ATM-PON (APON) versus Ethernet-PON debate has been decided. Service providers now use the technology that best fits their specific network or market. Also, the International Telecommunication Union has approved the protocol-agnostic Gigabit PON (G-PON) standards using the generic framing protocol (GFP).
For more information, visit the Probe Group's Web site at www.probegrp.com.