Fixed Access Unbundling: the past, present, and future
Multi-operator access over a common shared access infrastructure has in the past been investigated and deployed in the field in several forms of local loop unbundling (mainly Ethernet-level bitstream access). It enables telecommunication operators lacking wireline access infrastructure to provision services (e.g. high-speed Internet , IPTV) to customers connected to the wireline access network owned by the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC). Following the evolution of wireline access networks and the new requirements brought by e.g. mobile backhaul services by future 5G networks, the unbundling model also needs to be adapted. This paper presents and analyzes the existing wireline access unbundling options, looks into the regulatory and standards space and, finally, indicates the potential technical solutions for unbundling and the related issues.