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News recap: Verizon plans 100G optical metro network

In telecom news, Verizon announced plans to build a 100 Gbps optical metro network with equipment from Cisco and Ciena, while the FCC proposed a spectrum-sharing plan for broadband providers.

This week in telecom news, Verizon announced plans to build a 100 Gbps optical metro network to meet customer demands for more bandwidth and flexible connectivity. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a spectrum-sharing plan that would allow broadband providers to share some spectrum frequencies with the military.

Akamai's latest State of the Internet report shows U.S. broadband speeds are increasing as customers opt for faster speeds. Utah and North Dakota broke into the top 10 for broadband speeds as fiber-to-the-home services are increasingly deployed.

Verizon unveils 100G optical metro plans

Verizon plans to offer 100 Gbps wavelength and Carrier Ethernet services by deploying 100G metro optical equipment. Verizon will be building this new fiber optic infrastructure with equipment from Ciena and Cisco.

Lee Hicks, vice president of Verizon network planning, told Telecompetitor that the provider's plan to offer 100G services is driven by customer demand for more bandwidth and flexible connectivity. Both wavelength and Et hernet services are supported by Ciena and Cisco's equipment, he said.

While Verizon is already using 100G equipment in its long-haul network, the equipment from Ciena and Cisco is optimized for metro environments, Hicks said. Ciena and Cisco's equipment will add colorless, directionless and contentionless ROADM capabilities and high-speed transport to the infrastructure, Verizon said.

"This new architecture gives the company the same advantages in its metro network that it has seen in its 100G long-haul network, including increased capacity, superior latency and improved scalability," Verizon said in a press release.

Verizon will test and deploy both platforms on portions of its U.S. metro network infrastructure this year and plans to carry live traffic in 2016.

FCC raises potential spectrum-sharing plan

The FCC has proposed a spectrum-sharing plan that would open up wireless spectrum used by the military to broadband providers.

The proposal would open up frequencies on the 3550-3700 MHz band, which the military uses for army and navy radar, to three tiers of users: military, licensed and unlicensed. The tiers allow military users to have priority access to the spectrum, and lower-tier users would be prohibited from interfering with users in higher tiers.

The licensed spectrum will be made available through an auction, though the FCC has not said which portion of spectrum will be auctioned. Spectrum will be made available in two phases. In phase one, non-military users would not be allowed to operate in exclusion zones like army bases. In phase two, non-military users would be allowed to use sensing technology around exclusion zones to determine whether the military is using spectrum. If the spectrum is not in use, non-military users would be allowed to use it.

The FCC will vote on the proposal in April.

U.S. broadband speeds on the rise

U.S. broadband speeds are increasing as more users subscribe to higher-speed offerings, according to Akamai's State of the Internet report for Q4 2014.

The average peak broadband speed was 49.4 Mbps, a 16% increase since Q4 2013 and a slight increase from the previous quarter. The average connection speed in the U.S. was 11.1 Mbps, a slight decrease from Q3 but a 15% increase from the previous year.

Virginia knocked Delaware out of the top spot for average connection speed with 17.7 Mbps. Delaware remained in the top spot for peak connection speeds at 75.4 Mbps. Utah and North Dakota also made appearances in the top 10 states for average and peak connection speeds thanks to fiber-to-the-home buildouts by small telcos and Google Fiber.

Other areas in the top 10 for both average and peak connection speeds are Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and the District of Columbia.

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