Ericsson‘s decision to buy up long-time partner Entrisphere – a fiber access technology vendor – had some interesting ramifications for the cable industry. It showed that Ericsson is serious about helping telcos move into the video space with gigabit passive optical networks (GPONs) that can deliver oodles of bandwidth.
"Any market in the world where HDTV or multiple TV channels are required to compete in the TV arena, then you need this kind of technology for either GPON direct access to users or GPON in combination with VDSL2," said Peter Linder, director of end-to-end network solutions for Ericsson’s business unit networks group. "We see it as a play for carriers worldwide."
While it makes sense that Ericsson, a long-time telco vendor, would step more deeply into the GPON space, the hidden message is that Entrisphere doesn’t see itself as a one-industry vendor. BPON success "We’ve had success selling BPON (broadband passive optical networks) to some cable-type operators," said Don McCullough, who was Entrisphere’s vice president of marketing when Ericsson announced the acquisition this week.
McCullough ticked off some "cable operators" that the bigger industry might consider fringe players – at the least. "Grande Communications is one of our customers; Knology is another one of our customers," he said, agreeing that "both of them are half-CLEC, half cable operators."
And both of them are cable competitors who are serious about pumping out more bandwidth.
"I think the cable business is going to have to look at GPON because you always have to be looking at the technology that your largest competitors are looking at," he said. "As you look at VoIP and wireline/wireless convergence (as if that’s happening anywhere real in the cable space), both of those things are going to drive cable companies to look much more closely to getting the fiber all the way to their customers’ homes."
FTTH and cable? That’s not exactly on the 2007 drawing board at most MSOs.
"I think it will happen," McCullough said, before conceding, "I think it will happen with the telephone companies first." – Jim Barthold