For Immediate Release: June 22, 1999

BellSouth, BT, FT, NTT Complete Specifications
To Bring Optical Fiber Directly To The Customer

Joint R&D Leads To Tomorrow's High-Speed Telecom Infrastructure

(ATLANTA) - Four of the world's premiere telecommunications companies have developed a common technical specification for high-capacity optical network access systems.

The companies, BellSouth, British Telecommunications (BT), France Telecom (FT) and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) cooperated to create a common requirements specification that will speed optical networking direct to businesses and homes.

According to Tom Rowbotham, BT Director, Group Technology, "Optical fiber is already established as the first choice of transmission medium for intercontinental and inter-city routes. It is also used for many connections to businesses using point-to-point fiber or fiber rings. The challenge has been to extend economically the benefits of full services access to a wider customer base. Here we report a common set of requirements for passive optical networks (PON) aimed at maximizing the market volume and minimizing equipment cost."

Dr. David Kettler, BellSouth vice president - Science and Technology, explained, "Bringing optical fiber technology to the home promises to fundamentally change the nature of telecommunications services that will be available to meet 21st century consumer and business telecommunications needs, We believe that fiber to the home (FTTH) is the key to making available the bandwidth that tomorrow's data, imaging and video applications will require."

According to Dr. Toshiharu Aoki, NTT senior executive vice president - research and development, "This is an epochal agreement between independent, international telecommunications companies. As the result, telecommunications companies around the world will have access to the de-facto standard specification from the first stage of the introduction of high-speed optical network access systems. We believe this will lead the world telecom market into the 21st century by providing a new global information sharing platform."

Pascal Viginier, general director of FT's CNET research organization, explained that the four companies came together because of their long-term interest in deploying fiber directly to the customer. "All four companies have been active in FTTH initiatives for many years. These include BellSouth's FTTH deployments in Hunter's Creek, Florida in 1985, BT's Telecommunications Passive Optical Networking (TPON) deployments since 1995, FT's Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy (PDH) PON deployment for fiber to the office (FTTO) since 1989 and NTT's Information Network Service (INS) model system in 1984."

BellSouth, BT, FT, and NTT have been cooperating in the Full Service Access Network (FSAN) initiative. With completion of their common technical specification work, an important next step towards deployment of fiber optic networking has been taken, enabling suppliers to focus their development efforts on products with minimal operator-specific requirements.

FSAN is a group of 20 international network operators working to develop asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) Passive Optical Networks. FSAN members include: Bell Canada, BellSouth, BT, Chunghwa, Deutsche Telecom, Dutch PTT, France Telecom, GTE, Korea Telecom, NTT, SBC, Swisscom, Telefonica, Telstra and Telecom Italia. FSAN documentation has been contributed to relevant standardization bodies. In particular, the FSAN ATM PON specification has been adopted as ITU-T Recommendation G.983.

Recent technological advances and cost reductions have spurred interest in optical distribution networks, with ATM-PON emerging as the most promising approach to enabling large-scale, full-service access networks to meet their customers' evolving needs.

The ATM-PON architecture uses only optical fiber and passive optical splitters in its outside plant. Passive power dividers allow the central office equipment and feeder fiber costs to be shared. ATM enables voice, video and data traffic from a large number of sources to be multiplexed onto a common highway and switched to its correct destination.

All four companies have been active in planning ATM PON deployments to business and residential customers, including the following:
-NTT has already deployed narrowband and video distribution FTTH and broadband ATM-PON systems - based on the Visual,Information Intelligent, and Personal (VI&P) comprehensive agreement in 1993, and put them to the test to introduce fully common technical specification-compliant ATM-PON system targeted initially toward business customers.
-FT has already deployed FTTO and fiber to the business (FTTBus) pre-FSAN PON Systems in significant numbers for business customers and an experimental ATM PON FTTH system to about 50 small business and residential customers.
-BellSouth has announced plans to install a "first office application" FTTH system in Atlanta using the common technical specification-compliant ATM-PON technology later this year.
-BT deploys the narrow band predecessor TPON in some parts of the network and is considering the use of ATM-PON as a broad band successor along with alternative solutions based upon existing metallic lines and DSL technologies to carry both real time and internet services

NTT is one of the largest telecommunications company in the world. Its operating revenue is more than 6,137billion yen ($51 billion). It serves more than 60 million lines through a fully modernized and digital network in Japan. NTT has been aiming at rapid globalization toward the 21st century through investing in overseas carrier businesses and making alliances with foreign companies.

FT has an annual revenue of 25,65 billion euros and is the fifth largest telecommunication company in the world. FT acts as a local and long distance operator and serves 34 millions lines. It provides telecommunication services, wireless communications, data services, Internet and multimedia services. FT is aiming to stimulate the increasing of traffic and usage of telecommunication services and has planned the deployment of broadband Internet services. FT is present in 15 European countries and more than 50 foreign countries all over the world.

British Telecommunications plc is one of the world's leading providers of telecommunications services. With a market capitalisation in excess of £70 billion, it is one of the largest private sector companies in Europe. Its principal activity is the supply of local, long distance and international telecommunications services and equipment in the UK, serving 27 million exchange lines. International direct-dialled telephone service is available to more than 200 countries and other overseas territories - covering 99 per cent of the world's 800 million telephones.

Atlanta-based BellSouth is a $24 billion communications services company. It provides telecommunications, wireless communications, directory advertising and publishing, video, Internet and information services to nearly 30 million customers in 20 countries worldwide. BellSouth's telephone operations provide local exchange and intraLATA long distance service over one of the most modern telecommunications networks in the world, with more than 24 million access lines in nine Southeastern states. For more information on BellSouth, visit the BellSouth web site:

Information on the Full Services Access Networks Initiative is available at:

For more information, contact:

John Goldman, (404) 927-7431

BT Corporate News Room
+44 171 356 5369
24 hr number

Fabrice Van Kote, +33 1 45 29 53 04

Hitoshi Ono, +81 3 3509 3101
Kenya Nakatsuka, +81 3 3509 3101