$1 billion gets fibre to the home

WINfirst has signed a five-year, $800 million agreement with Lucent Technologies for equipment, software and services to build a fibre-to-the-home residential network. The deployment also includes data switching equipment from Avaya valued at $200 million over five years.

The optical access network will connect each home using a dedicated fiber optic cable and equipment with lasers to send and receive information using the Internet protocol (IP) and Fast Ethernet, a networking transmission standard that provides 100 megabits per second (Mbps) of symmetric bandwidth.

Using that single optical link, WINfirst’s customers will have more than enough capacity to simultaneously download a DVD movie, view a sporting event from a Web site, stream a digital home video to a relative over the Web and hold multiple phone calls.

The WINfirst service will be 65 times faster than typical 1.5 Mbps high-speed connections offered today. This will enable people to download a DVD movie in eight minutes or an entire album of MP3 songs in only five seconds — a process that would take eight hours and five minutes, respectively, over today’s high-speed connections. Additionally, having the same bandwidth both upstream and downstream will enable people to share files directly with each other through true peer-to-peer networking.

Bell Labs engineers developed two new products for the WINfirst network. A Network Demarcation Unit that is attached to the outside of customers’ homes, terminates the fibre connection and uses a laser to send and receive voice, data and video traffic over the network. It also connects to a new Residential Ethernet Gateway that is located inside customers’ homes and connects to their PCs and telephones.

The design of the Demarcation Unit and other key components will give WINfirst’s network the capacity to grow. The core network will have 130 terabits per second of switching capacity and the equipment providing the direct connection to customers, including the Demarcation Unit, can scale from 100 megabits per second to multiple gigabits per second.

WINfirst has received regulatory approval to build networks in Dallas; Houston; San Antonio; Austin, Texas; San Diego and Sacramento, Calif. In addition, WINfirst has received a network construction permit in Portland, OR. Franchise applications are pending in Los Angles, San Francisco and Oakland, CA, Las Vegas and Seattle.

Lucent’s NetworkCare Professional Services will design, integrate and install the network in each of WINfirst’s target cities. Initial deployments will begin in Dallas and Sacramento with expansion to follow in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and San Diego.

Lucent will provide a network solution that will include key data and IP technologies from its acquisitions, such as the NX64000 Multi-Terabit Switch/Router, GX 550 Multiservice Wide Area Network Switch and SpringTide 5000 IP Service Switch. The WINfirst network will also include the 7R/ETM Packet Solutions and optical components from Lucent’s Microelectronics Group’s Optical Access Group that will be used to enable the fibre-to-the-home connection.

As overall systems integrator for the network, Lucent will be responsible for integrating and delivering a turnkey solution that includes the Cajun P880 Routing Switches that WINfirst is purchasing from Avaya, the former Enterprise Networks Group of Lucent.

WINfirst is at www.winfirst.com