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Polish Open Fiber (PŚO) launches bitstream access to its HFC network

Wholesale fibre network operator Polski Światłowód Otwarty (PŚO) has rolled out bitstream access (BSA) across its HFC network and has confirmed the first retail subscribers are already using the network.

While the operator has been offering BSA on its fibre network, which reaches 400,000 households, the HFC BSA service increases the telco’s reach but around 3.4 million households. By introducing BSA, it means retail operators can gain access to both networks making the technical integration far easier given they will be able to connect to the HFC network in the same way and with the same equipment as to PŚO’s FTTH network.

Last July, PŚO – part-owned by Iliad’s Polish mobile operator Play – raised PLN5.13bn (US$1.25bn) to upgrade from HFC to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and expand its network footprint. The investment programme is aiming to increase the current footprint to more than six million – and remain open access. The existing PŚO network covers households in 14 provinces and almost 200 municipalities in Poland.

The new BSA service solves the conundrum of what to do on the HFC network in the meantime. Now, retail providers can manage their own IP addresses meaning they can roll out IPTV and VoIP services with PŚO.

“We started work on implementing the BSA model on the HFC network almost a year ago,” said PŚO CTO Krzysztof Sidor. “The biggest challenge was to develop a way to efficiently serve consumer lines in a standard specific to the HFC network. This meant not only preparing a network solution, but also appropriate IT tools that automate the delivery and maintenance of such services.”

He added: “The tests we conducted showed that the solution works flawlessly and is of high quality. The operators we cooperate with will soon start using it.”

PŚO chief commercial officer, Michal Banasiuk said the operator wanted partners partners to feel no difference between using HFC and FTTH technology. “The launch of BSA simplifies access and service provisioning on the PŚO network. It allows the operator to use one API and the same points of contact for both technologies,” he said. “Order placement and processing also look identical, so the operator doesn’t even have to wonder whether it is activating the service on the FTTH or HFC network.”

He added: “At the same time, we are intensively upgrading our HFC infrastructure to the FTTH standard. At present, few subscribers need Internet access at speeds of up to 5Gbps, but we know this will change in the future. We will be ready for that future.”

Currently, most of PŚO’s HFC network allows subscribers to reach speeds of up to 1Gbps. On the FTTH network, thanks to XGS-PON, PŚO offers access speeds of up to 5Gbps. Last month PŚO added 12,811 new households from 29 localities to its FTTH network. The operator also upgraded its HFC network to FTTH in 48,601 households. By 2028, it plans to expand by two million new households to eventually cover more than six million. Currently, there are already more than 3.8 million households in its footprint.