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NFOEC: BellSouth CTO defends fiber-to-the-curb

ORLANDO--BellSouth chief technology officer Bill Smith used his pulpit as NFOEC keynote speaker to bemoan the disparity between proposed federal regulations of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks and that of fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) networks.

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The FCC’s triennial review order would free regional Bell companies that deploy FTTP from having to wholesale their fiber access lines to competitors--a rule considered part of the impetus for the Bell companies’ recent interest in FTTP. But the same rules don’t apply to FTTC architectures, where fiber stops short of reaching each user’s residence.

“The relief you get is only for fiber-to-the-home,” Smith said. “But today fiber-to-the-curb is a more cost effective solution.”

BellSouth’s position on this issue isn’t surprising, as the carrier has invested more in FTTC than FTTP. At the end of this year, BellSouth’s FTTC network will pass nearly a million homes, Smith said, and 135,000 lines will be added this year alone. With friendlier regulation, he said, that number could have been more than 200,000.

Though Smith said BellSouth will continue to work with SBC and Verizon Communications to drive down the cost of FTTP, he also said BellSouth is working to convince the FCC to revise the final order of the triennial review to correct the regulatory disparity between FTTP and FTTC.

“Having the flexibility to deploy FTTC versus fiber-to-the-home is an important part of the economics of making this work,” Smith said.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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