SBC outlines Project Lightspeed fiber plan

SBC this week said network lab and field trials are under way for Project Lightspeed, its multibillion-dollar fiber deployment that's intended to stem cable multisystem operator incursions into SBC's residential base.

Network construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2005 and the launch of IP-based TV services over the new network is planned for the fourth quarter of 2005. Project Lightspeed services will be available to 18 million users by 2007, about 90% of SBC's target market, the carrier says.

Within five years, SBC expects to be the second largest provider of video services within its fiber footprint.

SBC also said it now expects that three-year deployment costs for Project Lightspeed will be approximately $4 billion, at the low end of its previously announced range of $4 billion to $6 billion. In addition, there will be customer-activation capital expenditures of approximately $1 billion spread over 2006 and 2007.

In 2005, SBC expects that its total capital expenditures will be at the high end of its 2004 guidance range of $5 billion to $5.5 billion.

SBC expects progress from other parts of its core wireline business to more than offset dilution from the deployment.

Project Lightspeed will use both Fiber-to-the Premises (FTTP) and Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN) technologies. In existing neighborhoods, or "overbuild" situations, SBC plans to use an FTTN architecture, which takes fiber to within 3,000 feet of homes. FTTN is capable of delivering 20M bit/sec to 25M bit/sec downstream, sufficient to simultaneously deliver HDTV, Internet access and IP voice, the carrier says.

FTTP architecture will be used in new housing developments, as well as in some multi-dwelling units.

SBC expects that FTTN deployment can be completed in one-fourth the time required for an FTTP overbuild and with about one-fifth the capital investment. By the end of 2007, SBC expects to reach 17 million households with FTTN technology and nearly one million with FTTP.

This story, "SBC outlines Project Lightspeed fiber plan" was originally published by The Edge.

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