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Fixed broadband network deployments are moving inexorably to the use of Next Generation Access (NGA) technologies and architectures. These NGA deployments involve building fiber infrastructure increasingly closer to the customer in order to increase the proportion of fiber on the customer’s access connection (Fibre-To-The-Home/Building/Door/Cabinet, ... i.e. FTTx). This increases the speed of services that can be sold and will be increasingly required to meet the demands of new generations of video services as we evolve from HDTV to “Ultra-HD TV” with 4k and 8k lines of video resolution. However, building fiber access networks is a costly endeavor. It requires significant capital in order to cover any significant geographic coverage. Hence many companies are forming partnerships and joint-ventures in order to share the NGA network construction costs. One form of such a partnership involves two companies agreeing to each build to cover a certain geographic area and then “cross-selling” NGA products to each other in order to access customers within their partner’s footprint (NGA coverage area). This is tantamount to a bi-lateral wholesale partnership.
One of the challenges with this approach is that they typically cross-sell each-other “bitstream” products, which can be at the IP (layer 3) or Ethernet (layer 2) layers but the partners may have different requirements for the network capabilities which they require to support their retail services. Even where standards exist, the partners may require different options within the standard (e.g. 1 to 1 or N to 1 VLAN forwarding model, number of QoS levels, etc.). Hence this places a mutual dependency on the partners to not just support the requirements and product development aspirations of their own service but also that of their NGA build partner. Having invested significant time, resources and capital to build the NGA infrastructure, it is undesirable for an NGA operator to have their service launch plans and product evolution being “gated” by the product development resources of their build partner.
The concept of Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS) is to address this issue. By providing greater configuration control over the NGA network infrastructure, the service provider has a greater ability to define the network and hence to define their product capabilities at the active layer. This gives the service provider partners greater product development autonomy plus the ability to differentiate from each other at the active network layer. Hence FANS leads to the benefits to both network operators and infrastructure providers.
To download the full document: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1068520015000930