Verizon EVP and CTO Richard Lynch told Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Conference attendees that his company did right by deploying fiber to homes five years ago.

“From where we sit today, that decision made perfect sense,” Lynch said in his keynote address at the Houston event, which this year drew 1,700 attendees and 100 exhibitors.

Lynch said Verizon is on track to pass 15 million homes by the end of 2009 and has achieved 28 percent sales penetration for its FiOS high-speed data service and 28 percent for TV service.

Verizon added 300,000 customers in both categories last quarter. Total numbers amount to 3.1 million Internet and 2.1 million video customers.

“We are the sixth largest ‘cable TV’ network,” Lynch said. “Closing fast on number five.”

The telecommunications giant, which generated $96 billion in revenue in 2008, learned several lessons along its all-optical path. Lynch shared five:

  • “Lesson number one.  Any change will be met with resistance.” Lynch focused on external detractors, those who doubted consumer demand, Verizon’s business model or the maturity of fiber technologies.
  • “When challenged by a technology innovation, competitors would comment that they already have it.” While Verizon’s competitors created “confusion and apathy,” real customers “promoted FiOS by word of mouth.”
  • “Herding cats is possible, but only if you think like a cat.” Here Lynch indicated that Verizon managed complexities by going feline. “We had to change our culture….After all, there were people who still believed that copper was Okay.”
  • “When faced with monumental changes, innovative companies need innovative suppliers to rise to the occasion.” Lynch listed a range of solutions, from plug-and-play installation components to customized ONTs.
  • “When you rally your employees and customers around a noble cause, great things can happen.” The noble cause here being the “massive undertaking” of FiOS.

Lynch targeted his comments toward things happening within the emerging home, some of which may contain as many as 30 digital devices. “This makes a home network look like a business network."

Among other unfinished tasks, Lynch mentioned technical standards (“There are nearly a dozen different standards for 3-D video”), energy efficiency, IMS-based application-awareness and deeper deployment of fiber into rural settings (“PON loop lengths up to 40km and beyond.”)

—Jonathan Tombes

The Daily

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