OptiComm announces Australia's first next-generation PON

Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) provider OptiComm is in the final stages of developing Australia’s first Ten Gigabit per Second Passive Optical Network (XGS-PON) – the next-generation Passive Optical Network (PON) – allowing residential customers to access a nominal line speed of up to 1Gbps, and commercial customers to reach speeds up to 10Gbps.

Following extensive testing, modelling, research and development, OptiComm will be ready to deploy the XGS-PON in 2020, commencing with a residential and commercial precinct in Melbourne.

OptiComm, which is the largest private competitor to the NBN, has been working closely with its supplier, USA-based ADTRAN, at the latter’s research and development facility in Melbourne, leading to the testing of these 10Gbps services.

ADTRAN, a consistent leader in the telecommunications industry with its Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) solutions, is now leading the industry transition to this next chapter in FTTP, where focus is shifting to the new, superior, XGS-PON.

The ADTRAN XGS-PON solution connects users to OptiComm’s network using the traditional PON optical network design, but it eliminates the speed restrictions imposed by first generation GPON technologies, allowing user speeds to leap to levels previously unheard of in Australia.

ADTRAN’s XGS-PON is allowing OptiComm to future-proof its sites, which has become increasingly important as more and more people depend on their broadband for robust connectivity while working from home, gaming, and streaming, with in-home entertainment and education for the entire family now making a high-speed connection essential.

The demand for high-speed, reliable internet has evolved quickly in 2020, as Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19 cases drove downstream network utilisation to settle at ~10 percent above its pre-pandemic levels, with usage statistics from August revealing a 20Gbps increase when compared with the weeks prior. OptiComm’s chief customer officer Geoff Aldridge believes the popularity of XGS-PON will grow exponentially throughout the world in coming years, with more information and entertainment existing online than ever before, and a permanent shift in the global teleworking landscape, driving a global need for the symmetric upload and download capabilities of XGS-PON.

“We’re seeing constant increases in the amount of data that people stream and download across our networks, and that appetite for large-scale files is only going to keep growing.

“Most games, and many game updates are now well over 100 gigabytes in size, so our new XGS-PON will allow those to be downloaded in less than a minute.

“We’ve heard a lot of chatter in the industry, most groups have identified and forecasted that the XGS-PON will be the dominant technology being deployed around the world as early as next year,” he said.

Anthony Camilleri, ADTRAN’s Asia-Pacific chief technology officer, believes the successful launch of the XGS-PON will allow OptiComm customers to connect to the internet like never before, as demand for high-speed internet continues to grow.

“OptiComm is creating a network with limitless potential and scale, leveraging the flexibility of XGS-PON and the power of 10Gbps speeds to open the door to new possibilities for its residential and business customers.

“We’re pleased to have been able to partner with OptiComm to help it build its best network, as the company looks to meet and exceed the demands of the globally connected Gigabit Economy,” he said.

This technology also allows OptiComm to pioneer smart city technologies like self-maintained parks, community security systems, intranets, and more, while future-proofing residential and business precincts.

OptiComm will begin its user trials by installing XGS-PON line-cards in existing ADTRAN PON systems in the coming months.

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