Industry Focus - Optical Connections 2020



Following Broadband Forum’s appearance at the 2019 Broadband World Forum conference and expo, Peter Dykes spoke with the Forum’s CEO Robin Mersh and CMO Geoff Burke about the organisation’s current work and its roadmap for 2020.

PD: In a nutshell, how did BBWF go for you? GB: We had three major areas of focus and within those areas, we had a number of demonstrations at the show. One showcased the latest developments of our Cloud Central Office (CloudCO) and Open Broadband – Broadband Access Abstraction (OB-BAA) which was all about automation and virtualisation and the other demonstrations were all around the Connected Home, where that is going and how a standards- based approach can provide a clear and simple migration path for operators. In addition to the demonstrations, we ran two workshops that were extremely well attended, one exploring the aforementioned Connected Home, and a second covering another key area of focus for the Forum, 5G. Our booth was completely packed during the entire show and we had a lot of traffic running through there. With those three areas, we felt we were right on the money with regard to where people’s interest lay. PD: Where does fibre optics sit with the Broadband Forum? RM: It’s a very hot topic for us. In the new year, we will be launching the first certified products for 10G PON, including XGS-PON and NG-PON2. What’s good about this is that we will

getting a lot of momentum right now. One is a Vodafone-sponsored project called Broadband Quality Experience Delivered (Broadband QED), which is an acknowledgement that speed should not be the only factor that plays into the perception of the quality of the broadband connection. We’ve been working with machine learning and algorithms for measuring and tapping into all the other aspects of broadband delivery, such as latency, jitter and elements of quality and a whole range of other areas and basically driving that forward. We have seen a lot of companies coming on board with helping to promote and build products around that. Fibre has a play there too, and across the whole broadband spectrum, as companies move towards fibre and delivering hyper-broadband speeds across different media types. In the Connected Home area, we’ve seen a lot of progress in the evolution of TR069, which hit one billion installations a year ago. This has now evolved into a new platform which we call the User Services Platform (USP). USP has gained a lot of momentum over the last year. In particular, there were a number of demonstrations by the Forum, many of them sponsored by Vodafone and other companies which have been driving that work forward. We’ve also been doing a lot of work in the Connected Home

be ahead of the curve this time. When we did the certifications for GPON, that was designed to open up that market so that any of the ONU players could bid on RFPs, but that was after G-PON had already started to be deployed. This time, however, there will be certification right from the beginning. The hope of the industry, therefore, is that this will really accelerate deployments for 10G PON. I think most people see those [technologies] as precursors of 5G because they fit in with the whole fronthaul/backhaul discussion. So, fibre is a big topic for us, but more of the PON variety. Traditionally, we haven’t done as much work on point-to-point, for example, and while we do pay attention to that sort of technology, it obviously hasn’t needed the same degree of standards activity, so we’ve been more PON focused. I think even in areas where PON wasn’t being deployed as fast, we’re starting to see a lot more announcements and processes are speeding up, with the UK being a good example. PD: What else is Broadband Forum planning to work on in 2020? GB: We have four major areas of focus. There’s a lot of activity going on in 5G, the Connected Home, Cloud and Cloud CO, and in 10G access. From an issue perspective, there are a couple of things on top of that which are



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