MADRID -- Network Virtualization Europe -- Telefónica is edging closer towards a distributed telco cloud with the deployment of disaggregated access network infrastructure and compute resources in a select number of its central offices across Spain, executives from the operator revealed this week.

The operator has been working for some time on a revamp of local exchange facilities, and the development of more efficient video and broadband service delivery, under a program called OnLife, which uses the CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center) model as a guide.

Now, having conducted some tests with a small number of live customers from three OnLife Pods, including a central office in Madrid, the operator is ready to: Expand its rollout to additional central office facilities; deliver services from its open access 'CTpd' architecture to up to 500 paying customers; and begin the process of revamping 1,000 central offices to become edge computing hubs. (CTpd, by the way, stands for Central Telefónica de procesamiento de datos -- it sounds so much sexier in Spanish, right?)

Alfonso Carillo, Chief Architect at the OnLife project, noted that the "open and modular architecture" designed for the next-gen central offices -- which incorporates servers, switches and passive optical networking (PON) broadband access equipment built to OCP (Open Compute Project) specifications -- will support residential enterprise and mobile access services, perform traffic filtering and other functions at the edge of the network, and provide the platform to host a range of service developed by Telefónica and third party partners. One such potential partner is Amazon. (See Telefónica in Edge Talks With Amazon Greengrass.)

And, of course, it's designed to reduce costs compared with current deployment models. But is there any evidence from the early trials of such efficiencies? Carillo said there would certainly be "significant" capex savings once larger volumes of customers are supported with the new CTpd system, but that analysis of potential opex savings are "ongoing."

The capex savings come from the modular design of the CTpd rack, which will be pre-integrated and pre-loaded with "open hardware… nothing proprietary," before being installed in the central offices, so that the rack needs only to be hooked up to the power supply and the transport network links. The rack comprises OCP servers and switches with 40 Gbit/s network interfaces and OCP xPON OLT (optical line terminal) units to provide fixed broadband services. "The 48-port GPON blades are very dumb boxes -- all the control is outside the box and it's very easy to program" using the ONF's vOLTHA (Virtual Optical Line Termination Hardware Abstraction) software to manage the virtual OLT VNF. "We are piggybacking on AT&T's work here," he added. (See AT&T Hits Milestone on Software-Defined Access.)



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