Frontier teams with Nokia on 25G PON trials

Frontier Communications claimed to be the first in the U.S. to trial Nokia’s 25G PON technology, wrapping the first of what indicated would be many tests as it works to position itself as an attacker in the market.

The news comes nearly three months after Frontier and Nokia announced they had deployed XGS-PON to 100,000 homes across the operator’s footprint. At the time, Frontier executive Scott Mispagel told Fierce the ability to upgrade to 25G was one of the reasons it chose Nokia’s XGS-PON platform.

In a press release, Frontier noted GPON, XGS-PON and 25G PON will be able to co-exist on its fiber infrastructure because they operate using different wavelengths. Because Nokia's platform uses a common chip (its Quillion silicon), Frontier can upgrade to faster speeds just by adding new optics in the network. The company plans to continue testing 25G with Nokia over the coming months as it works toward a commercial deployment of the technology in the second half of 2022.

Frontier previously unveiled plans to rollout symmetrical 2 Gbps service in Q1 2022. CEO Nick Jeffery said in August it was also in “advanced planning” to deploy a 5 to 10 Gbps offering as well. The company is aiming to reach a total of 10 million locations with fiber by end-2025.

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Veronica Bloodworth, Frontier’s chief network officer, said in a statement the trial “is a critical step in offering a competitive advantage for Frontier and our customers.” She added “this technology will ensure our network will continue to offer the fastest, most technologically advanced broadband service available.”

Several other operators around the globe are also working with Nokia on 25G. Last month, Bell Canada staked a claim as the first operator in North America to trial Nokia’s kit. Nokia also conducted 25G trials with Belgium’s Proxmius in May and BT’s fiber subsidiary Openreach in the U.K. in July.

Last week, a Florida-based operator called Hotwire Communications made a claim that it was the first operator in the U.S. to deploy Nokia’s 25G technology. A Frontier representative told Fierce that assertion was not factual, but a Hotwire representative said it stands by its claim. The Hotwire representative said the equipment was deployed at a residential property in Miami Dade County, Florida.

"We are currently deploying OLT chassis that support GPON, XGS PON as well as 25 Gig PON throughout our service areas, future proofing our service offerings to meet the needs of our business as well as those of our subscribers today and tomorrow," the Hotwire representative stated.


This story has been updated to reflect that Hotwire Communications maintains its claim that it was the first in the U.S. to deploy Nokia's 25G PON technology.