Making neutral host broadband wholesaling as easy as ATC
The telecom market is currently being reshaped by an investor rush in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure. With the continuing high demand for broadband, we’re seeing a wave of new private players looking to get in on the game, primarily because of the stable, long-term return on investment that can now be made. They have a soft spot for B2B wholesaling business models to drive a cost-effective rollout and maximize uptake of the network infrastructure.
American Tower Corporation (ATC) is one such wholesaling pioneer. From their roots as a Real Estate Investment Trust, they have already become a highly successful “neutral host” of 4G and 5G mobile networks, investing in the infrastructure that is then leased to mobile virtual network operators (VNO) to provide services to consumers. At the behest of their clients, they decided to expand into fiber broadband, and ATC chose Nokia to partner with them on this journey.
ATC appreciates the importance of providing open access networks that give VNO tenants autonomy and flexibility. At the same time, it’s important for ATC to have sufficient automation to reduce SG&A (selling, general, and administrative expenses) and remove them from day-to-day operational demands.
For these reasons, we built ATC’s FTTH infrastructure around the Nokia Altiplano Open Access solution. This uses software-define networking (SDN) and virtualization to share network resources as slices of a physical network, enabling the wholesaling of fiber access on a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) basis. Each of these virtual slices offers full autonomy so that each VNO can focus on providing differentiated services to their customers. The solution also allows ATC to market to any size operator as the parameters of each virtual slice can be tailored according to the services they want to deliver. This level of performance is simply not possible through traditional wholesale solutions based on legacy platforms.
In an open access network wholesale model, with multiple service provider tenants, the biggest challenge is integrating each VNO’s OSS/BSS. The Altiplano Open Access solution is based on Broadband Forum standards, with the overall framework defined in the TR-370 specification for the SDN-based Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS), maximizing portability of provisioning and operational automation practices. These standard protocols ease integration with OSS/BSS, and different OLT hardware layouts can be managed in a unified way.
This approach we developed with ATC is a generic blueprint to deliver the NaaS model, with a standard approach that leverages common elements and standard NaaS platforms. This standardized approach, along with the cloud-based architecture, allows ATC to easily transport and turn up this model in new geographies, as needs arise.
Neutral host wholesaling is only going to increase as fiber broadband demand rises and as governments push for enhanced connectivity for rural communities as well as urban citizens. Of course, these networks can support more than just residential broadband: virtual slices can be dedicated to business broadband, mobile backhaul, smart city connectivity, and much more, in what is called fiber-for-everything. This is the future that ATC and other forward-looking wholesalers can create, with a valuable asset and return on investment assured.
Check out our white paper to learn more about how ATC and Nokia deliver neutral host wholesale networks with Altiplano.