BEREC report on the New Forms of Sharing Passive Optical Networks Based on Wavelength Division Multiplexing

Document number: BoR (17) 182
Document date: 05.10.2017
Date of registration: 10.10.2017
Document type: Reports
Author: BEREC

New forms of sharing passive optical networks (PON) have become possible, in particular with the adoption of the new PON standard NG-PON2 (G.989.2), which was approved by the ITU in December 2014. NG-PON2 uses several wavelengths per direction over the same PON fibre infrastructure to serve multiple end-users. This raises the opportunity that several network operators share the same PON fibre infrastructure and each deploys its own NG-PON2 equipment and uses different wavelengths. Examples of how this new form of sharing PON might be used are:
(i) Two or more operators co-invest in PON fibre infrastructure and each deploys its own NG-PON2 equipment and uses different wavelengths to serve customers.
(ii) SMP operator invests in and deploys NG-PON2 and is obliged by regulation to offer wavelengths, i.e. wavelength unbundling (WU)
(iii) Single (potentially, but not necessarily SMP) operator invests in PON fibre infrastructure and deploys NG-PON2 and offers access to wavelengths on a commercial wholesale basis.

In principle, WU is also possible without deployment of NG-PON2, however, the possibilities are reduced compared to those in case of NG-PON2. In 24 (80%) of 30 European countries examined in this report, the SMP operator has a FTTH network based on PON and therefore NRAs may consider whether or not to impose WU on the SMP operator. In order to get a deeper insight in this new form of sharing PON based on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) and to foster the knowledge transfer between NRAs, this report has the following three objectives:to provide an overview of the current and expected future deployment of NG-PON2 based on information from 50 European network operators and three major vendors;to analyse whether WU was imposed in any of the 14 EU countries in which NRAs took a decision on Market 3a since the standardisation of NG-PON2 and to discuss aspects which may be useful to take into account when an NRA considers whether or not to impose on the SMP operator WU;to explore whether WU based on NG-PON2 might increase the interest of network operators to co-invest in PON also based on information of 50 European network operators. The analysis is descriptive and does not aim to be normative or to recommend best practice.