Cost Analysis of RBOCs' Advanced Access Architectures: FTTP, FTTN, FTTC

Market Studies

1394 Market and Technology Study

Cost Analysis of RBOCs' Advanced Access Architectures: FTTP, FTTN, FTTC

Release : October 27, 2008

Overview | Features | TOC | TOF

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Approaches to AAAs

There are three predominant Advanced Access Architectures in use by the telcos, and those used by the cable companies are generally similar, only having coax on the last leg. These are the AT&T approach of fiber-to-the-node (FTTN); the Verizon approach of fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP or FTTH): and the BellSouth (now AT&T) approach of fiber-to-the-curb. A comparison of these follows:

Figure 2, Predominant Advanced Access Architectures




Distance of Last Leg



Very near the home — Used primarily by BellSouth. Can be used with VDSL to deliver HDTV, high-speed data, and voice

500 feet



Serves a subdivision — AT&T and Qwest current primary plan; can be used with VDSL2 or ADSL2+ to deliver HDTV, high-speed data, and voice

3000-5000 feet



Fiber all the way to the house — Verizon's current plan


This report will focus on these three approaches to Access Architectures and on the costs associated with each. We will build models that will allow the reader to make an even comparison among the three approaches in terms of costs.

Costs of AAAs

There are several ways to look at the costs of these programs, and we will try to look at each of them in as many ways as we can find appropriate data for. Any way these programs are viewed, they are very expensive. They have to be planned as long-term strategies to keep a share of the business, not as quick profit centers.

The first approach to costs is a model we have developed to allow the direct comparison of fiber costs among the three approaches. This approach assumes that the equipment costs are approximately equal. A later approach will include the equipment required and other considerations.

This Report

This report will present a model for evaluating the various approaches to AAAs, primarily by analyzing the fiber required for each. This model will also provide a methodology for evaluating moving from one architecture to another (e.g., converting from FTTN to FTTP). This section will also present this author’s forecast for what AT&T will do in the former BellSouth areas. The report will also investigate macro methods to investigate the costs of the various approaches. We will conclude with our forecasts for the total costs involved in the AAA efforts of the RBOCs.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Table of Figures

The Lightwave Network Series of Reports

The Lightwave Network

The Lightwave Series of Reports

General Reports on the Network

General Market Reports

Specific Systems Reports


Approaches to AAAs

Costs of AAAs

This Report

Fiber Requirements for Various Advanced Access Architectures

BellSouth's Fiber to the Curb (FTTC)

AT&T's Fiber to the node (FTTN)

Verizon’s FTTP (Fiber to the Premise)

Summary of Fiber Requirements

Analysis of Architectural Differences – A Model

Fiber Required for Each Architecture

Cost of Fiber Needed for Each Architecture

AT&T’s New Plans for BellSouth – a Hybrid FTTC/FTTN

Macro-Cost approach to AAA Costs

AT&T - Uverse



Summary of Costs

Vendors Listing

Summary of Vendors

Detailed Listing of Vendors

Acterna (acquired by JDSU)



Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFCI) (Now Tellabs)


Alloptic Inc

Amino Technologies plc

AOC Technologies

Avanex Corporation






Entrisphere Inc. (Acquired by Ericsson)


Fiberxon (Now Source Photonics combined with Luminent)

Finisar Corporation

FlexLight Networks (Defunct)


Genone3 Technologies Inc.

Hitachi Communication Technologies Ltd.

Humax USA Inc.

Iamba Networks

JDS Uniphase

Kreatel Communications AB (Acquired by Motorola)

LG Electronics

LightComm Technology






Novera Optics (owned by Nortel / LG JV)


O-Net Communications Ltd

Oplink Communications, Inc.

Optiviva Inc.

Optical Solutions (Acquired by Calix)

Osaki Electric Co. Ltd.

Paceon (Mitsubishi)

Passavé (Acquired by PMC-Sierra)


Quantum Bridge Communications (Acquired by Motorola)

Salira Optical Network Systems

Scientific-Atlanta (Cisco)


Source Photonics (Combined with Fiberxon and Luminent)

Tandberg Ltd. (Ericsson)


Terawave (Acquired by Occam Networks)

Tut Systems (Acquired by Motorola)

Vinci Systems, Inc. (Acquired by Tellabs)

Wave7 Optics

Worldwide Packets, Inc. (Acquired by Ciena)

Zhone Technologies

Appendix I - Access Architecture

Various Approaches for Fiber-based Access Architecture

Fiber to the "X"

xDSL Versions

Design Details for Current Plans

Fiber to the Neighborhood (FTTN)

AT&T's Fiber to the node (FTTN)

BellSouth's Fiber to the Curb (FTTC)

The RFP — PONs Will Set Us Free

What Are PONs?

The PON Design

Status of PON

Advantage and Disadvantages of PON

Types of PONs




The PON in the First RFP


Architectures to Meet the Needs



Table of Figures

Figure 1, Lightwave Network
Figure 2, Predominant Advanced Access Architectures
Figure 3, BellSouth FTTC
Figure 4, AT&T Uverse (FTTN)
Figure 5, Verizon FiOS (FTTP)
Figure 6, Fibers Required per Year for Each Architecture
Figure 7, Amount of Fibers for the Architectures
Figure 8, Length of Fiber for the Architectures
Figure 9, Fiber Costs of the Three Architectures
Figure 10, Fiber Cost per customer - Each Architecture
Figure 11, AT&T - BellSouth Hybrid FTTC
Figure 12, Fiber Required Upgrading to Hybrid FTTC
Figure 13, Annual Costs of AAA
Figure 14, Summary of Vendors
Figure 15, Fiber to the 'X' Varieties
Figure 16, Chart of Various xDSL Technologies
Figure 17: Fiber to the Neighborhood
Figure 18: Fiber to the node
Figure 19: Fiber to the Curb
Figure 20: PON Basic Arrangement
Figure 21: RFP PON — Central Office Portion
Figure 22: RFP PON — Outside Plant Portion
Figure 23: RFP PON Service Assignments
Figure 24: BPON/GPON Comparison
Figure 25: Typical GPON
Figure 26: Bandwidth Needs vs. Capabilities