I leave tomorrow for the metropolitan area I grew up in -- Chicagoland. I spent most of my youth in the Northwest suburb of Arlington Heights, where Arlington Park Racetrack is located.
While we won't have a Triple Crown winner this year, at Supercomm 2005, there will be lots and lots of talk about equipment that enables service providers to offer Triple Play voice, video and data services to their customers. However, those who are hip to the times will have graduated to the next level - Quad Play.
Me, I'm a Quaddie. Sprint provides me with Dish Network satellite TV, local phone, high speed data and cellular service. Although they may have lost me as a Dish customer today. They want $99 to move my service to my new house. But, the CSR said, I can get it done for $50 if I'll re-up with them for another year.
Contracts!!!! Don't get me started.
I like my dish, but I don't like being strong armed into extending my contract. The CSR pointed out that they were actually doing me a favor by offering me the $50 deal. But what she didn't know is that the guy who checked to see if I could get DSL in the undeveloped part of town I'm moving to told me Sprint would likely leave the dish on the roof of my current house for advertising purposes.
Anywayas a life-long Cubs fan, I'm used to disappointing endings. I'll get over it.
Needless to say, Triple Play, Quad Play, no matter what you call it, it's the name of the game right now. It brings back memories of Supercomm way back when DSL was just a baby and they were talking about making modems compatible with USB ports and developing a standard for DSL Lite. With DSL Lite, I was pretty sure they were setting their sites way too low. Indeed, people now want 3 Mbit/s and everything else coming into their house from one provider. DSL Lite had about 15 minutes of fame before it went "poof!"
Which leads me to the recent announcement by Occam Networks that it is going with active Ethernet optics that can deliver a full gigabit of bandwidth to the customer prem, as opposed to PON which would divvy that bandwidth up among several end users. Occam's decision indicates that people in this industry are starting to understand that by the time they get everything mapped out and ready to go into the network, expectations will have risen and they will need more, not less capability and functionality.
One of the world's most successful FTTP projects, e.biscom of Italy's FastWeb network went with active optics for the express purpose of encouraging subscribers to consume as much bandwidth as possible. PON may be more affordable if you are looking at the cost per bit, BUT, service providers really need to start focusing on the ROI and margins they can earn from the applications and services they plan to offer their customers. If you can't make it pay, why go broke doing Triple Play?
So, don't be afraid to question the wisdom of PON vs. active vs. hybrid solutions while you are at the show. Occam and Wave 7 Technologieswill be glad to give you their two cents, I'm sure.