According to the 2021 Fiber Provider Study by the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA), over 60.5 million homes in the US have fiber broadband. Several clear trends are identified:
- Investment and expansion: Network operators and ISPs initiate or continue to invest in expanding and upgrading their FTTH networks, including large players, regional and municipal ISPs. Community-owned broadband initiatives are gaining traction in several states to ensure better connectivity and infrastructure control.
- Competition and partnerships: Some ISPs are forming alliances to pool resources and infrastructure for more efficient and cost-effective FTTH deployment, such as laying fiber in new areas. This is where the increased competition from cable operators migrating to FTTH is also impacting the market.
- Rural Connectivity: Bridging the digital divide by providing high-speed internet to rural areas has been a priority for some initiatives. Government programs and private partnerships aim to bring fiber infrastructure to underserved and remote regions.
For example, the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program earmarked USD 42.45 billion to accelerate the expansion of high-speed internet within the next five years.
With these trends as the backdrop, FTTH operators, new and established, need to carefully consider their choice of optical line terminals (OLTs) and optical network terminals (ONTs) vendors. A recent whitepaper from OMDIA outlines some of the alternatives FTTH operators should consider.
The OLT landscape is experiencing a growing number of vendors offering different methods of deploying OLTs. This ranges from carrier-grade, pizza-box, pluggable OLTs, and virtual OLTs to embedded solutions for traditional DOCSIS cable vendors.
Due to the increasing amount of OLT solutions, there is a direct need for ONT vendors that exclusively focus on ONT production, which are agnostic and applicable to any OLT. FTTH operators eager to capitalize on the opportunities presented by new OLT vendors can benefit from collaborating with agnostic independent ONT vendors.
Some of the advantages of partnering with an agnostic ONT vendor include:
- Streamlining operations and reducing complexities in handling diverse equipment. This is cost-effective, with savings in TCO.
- Customization for diverse deployment needs. The FTTH landscape is not a one-size-fits-all. Different operators have distinct business models and requirements. Working with agonistic ONT vendors provides flexibility.