Each fiber market has its own unique characteristics but the need for standardization of the interoperability between service providers and network operators is still the same. All parties share the need for – and benefit from an – efficient and high-quality interoperability for the quote-to-order, order-to-cash, and trouble-to-resolve processes, to name a few.
The need of, and how to, address the interoperability challenges mentioned in earlier blog posts are different based on the market but it is often a wish from the network operator to attract service providers that have defined a set of requirements that need to be fulfilled by the network operators in order to be able to deliver their services.
Standardization is important – for all parties
Without standardization within a market, you might end up with multiple technical solutions for the same kind of problem as well as the risk of adding unnecessary work when it comes to the interoperability between systems. Costs tend to get high, market barriers increase, automation is limited, the large market players dominate and, in the end, it is the customer that suffers.
However, there are some good examples of initiatives addressing interoperability. We are able to share some real-world experiences and name a few technology platforms that form a foundation for interoperability. Let's take a look!
The Swedish Local Fiber Alliance (SSNf) have in cooperation with the Service Provider Alliance (TLF) created an agreement for service providers and network operators and how they should work together. It covers ways of communication e.g. API, SLA levels, and standardization of products to name a few things. The aim is to lower cost for service provider to deliver services in the regional networks and minimize cost for system owners and network operators to introduce new service providers. Recently there have also been work regarding GDPR and how to manage personal data between the parties for different processes.
ALEX,or Access Line Exchange, is a platform available in Switzerland that e.g. Sunrise uses to deliver their services in the local fiber networks in Switzerland. The purpose is to simplify mainly the ordering process of bitstream data services.
PI API is an open technical interface specification (API) that was created by the largest cable operator in Sweden, Com Hem, that specifies what a network operator needs to offer for Com Hem to deliver their services in their network. An Add-on, called PI API, is available for Netadmin. This work has also been the foundation for the new standardized API called “Open Networks API” or “ON-API” .
The NICC ALA standardization defines a technical specification for layer 2 services that has been implemented in the UK and New Zealand. For example, the Netadmin customers Gigaclear and Northpower are using this standard towards the service providers.
All these examples help the service providers and network operators come together. The size of the cooperating parties play a smaller role because of the standardization. Everyone following the standards will most likely be invited to the party.
We encourage standardization
It doesn’t matter if it is the network operators or the service providers that do the major part of the work to define the interoperability but it is important that all parties are on board and comfortable with the decisions that are made. All parties will benefit of an open-access market if these standards are developed and become open for everyone. As a system vendor we encourage standardization since it benefits our customers and makes it easy to design system support. We also have a firm belief that it will grow the market as such by introducing standardization.
Turn to the experts
Netadmin has many years of experience of how to design software to efficiently and cost effective manage the interoperability between service providers and network operators. The knowledge we have built during the years, from different markets and situations, has enabled us to design our software with a generic approach but with the flexibility to solve market specific needs. We have been participating in standardization work by many different industry associations and therefore we’ve seen the impact this has on a broadband market.