What’s up with… Ciena, Openreach, The Great Telco Debate

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Dec 7, 2023

  • Ciena’s full year sales are up almost 21% 
  • Openreach’s initial fibre access network build is 50% complete
  • The 10th Great Telco Debate is underway in London

In today’s industry news roundup: Ciena reports a 20.8% year-on-year rise in full fiscal year revenues to almost $4.4bn; BT’s access network division Openreach now has its fibre lines running past 12.5 million UK premises; TelecomTV’s latest great industry debate session is putting the world to rights; and much more!

Ciena has reported a 20.8% increase in revenues to $4.39bn and a 32.5% increase in adjusted EBITDA to $665.8m for the full fiscal year that ended 28 October. “We delivered an outstanding fiscal year with 21% growth in revenue, gaining significant market share and further advancing our industry leadership position,” stated the optical, routing and software system vendor’s president and CEO, Gary Smith. “Looking ahead, as we execute on our strategy to extend our market leadership in optical while expanding our opportunities in routing and switching, we expect to continue to grow revenue faster than the market and take share,” he added. Almost 71% of Ciena’s sales came from North America, while EMEA and Asia Pacific accounted for almost 15% of sales each. Ciena’s share price jumped by 3.9% to $48.07 following the earnings announcement. 

Openreach, the quasi-autonomous fixed access network division of UK national operator BT that is pumping £15bn into its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure, is celebrating a milestone: It has now reached 12.5 million homes, businesses and public service premises with its fibre broadband lines, “marking the halfway point in its nationwide plan to reach 25 million premises with the technology by the end of 2026,” it noted in this announcement. “The company is building a next-generation full fibre network faster and further than any other UK provider – reaching around 60,000 new premises every week… that means passing another home or business with ultrafast, gigabit-capable broadband every 10 seconds,” it boasted. And with a recent “full expensing” announcement from the current UK government appeasing its investment plans, Openreach says it “intends to keep building after it reaches its initial 25 million target, reaching up to 30 million premises with full fibre by the end of 2030.” It’s not the only company. Read more.  

The 10th Great Telco Debate is underway in London, with topics related to the shifting relationship between service providers and their customers, new industry ecosystems, the suitability of certain cloud platforms for certain workloads, the potential use of AI in telecom beyond customer call centres and the thorny issue of innovation in the telecom sector all being discussed by numerous expert witnesses and a room full of opinionated industry executives. There have already been some interesting historical analogies (including the telcos as the Aztecs and the hyperscalers as the Spanish, for anyone familiar with what went down in 16th century central America). The debate is being streamed live today (Thursday) but all the sessions will be available on demand on TelecomTV by the end of the working day on Friday.    

Google has launched a new AI model, dubbed Gemini, in an effort to beef up its position in the rapidly growing generative AI (GenAI) space. The company, owned by parent company Alphabet, has been “built from the ground up for multimodality – reasoning seamlessly across text, images, video, audio and code,” according to Google. CEO Sundar Pichai described the service as “our most capable and general model yet, with state-of-the-art performance across many leading benchmarks,” adding that Google is approaching its work on AI models “boldly and responsibly”. “That means being ambitious in our research and pursuing the capabilities that will bring enormous benefits to people and society, while building in safeguards and working collaboratively with governments and experts to address risks as AI becomes more capable,” he said. Demis Hassabis, CEO and co-founder of Google’s AI research subsidiary, DeepMind, noted that Gemini can generalise and “seamlessly understand, operate across and combine different types of information, including text, code, audio, image and video”.

NTT Docomo is among a quartet of companies in Japan that has been selected to develop direct-to-device (D2D) mobile services, deployed via a non-terrestrial network (NTN) using high-altitude platform stations (HAPS). Alongside Space Compass, NTT Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT, the Japanese telco has stated it will participate in a project by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) to demonstrate a communication service using HAPS, which will be positioned in the stratosphere above Japan. In a second phase of the initiative, the four entities will conduct research and development (R&D) on “high-speed, high-capacity technology” and time-division duplex (TDD) communication (where downlink and uplink use the same frequency band but in different time slots). The goal is to broaden the business scope and applicability of HAPS services in the 6G era. According to the participants, the project will also prioritise upgrading the feeder link, including increasing its capacity, and installing a satellite backhaul system for flexible operation in areas where it is not possible to install terrestrial gateway stations connecting HAPS and terrestrial networks. Space Compass, which will lead the project, intends to launch HAPS services in the Japanese fiscal year 2025 (starting 1 April). NTT Docomo’s participation will involve the development of ground base stations and HAPS-equipped base stations for mobile communications, with the main focus being to maximise service-link efficiency and capacity. The project is also aligned with the operator’s plan to develop a HAPS-based mobile communications business that spans air, sea and space for 5G evolution and upcoming 6G. The four companies have, in the past, conducted R&D work on a space-based radio access network (RAN) as an NTN. The move comes a week after NTT Docomo partnered with Amazon’s low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite initiative, Project Kuiper, to offer satellite-based connectivity to the enterprise and government sectors in Japan – see Amazon lands LEO satellite deal with NTT Docomo.

Deutsche Telekom is to play a role in the development of the IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services (IPCEI CIS) for which the European Commission this week approved €1.2bn in state funding. One of the countries in which the edge resources are being deployed is Germany, where DT has “begun the development of a common European cloud and edge-cloud infrastructure” as part of the project, which “aims to establish a common European ‘Cloud-Edge Continuum’ – one shared cloud-edge infrastructure for Europe, with no internal borders,” noted the giant German telco. “The initiative seeks to establish a common set of technical standards, a shared regulatory framework, and sustainability requirements for European edge-cloud technology. This will encourage the development of pan-European solutions, which leverage the continent’s scale and deepen the single market for digital services. A cloud-edge continuum also allows solutions to work across international borders, such as autonomous logistics processes, or driverless vehicles,” added DT. Read more

In an effort to ensure that AI is used and developed in an ethical and safe way, Telefónica has developed an internal artificial intelligence governance model that “binds the group’s companies and employees” and that will “be key for the company’s technological advances”. The model will “enable Telefónica to respond both to its ethical commitments in responsible technology and to the international collaboration frameworks in which Telefónica participates, such as the one led by UNESCO or to the regulation of artificial intelligence that will be incorporated into legal systems of the different countries in which Telefónica operates,” the telco stated in this blog.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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