It has long been a goal of network planners to restructure their networks to reduce or eliminate fixed installations and all the operational difficulties and concerns that go along with them. Optical access networks have been a part of that goal because of their intrinsic long-distance capabilities. In practice, however, the demand for bandwidth has outpaced the supply offered by cost-effective passive optical systems. This has kept most PON deployments at a relatively modest reach (<20km) and split ratio (<32 way). Currently, NG-PON technologies such as 10 Gb/s systems, TDM, WDM, and their hybrids are coming on the scene. These potentially could increase the bandwidth capabilities on a single access fiber to many times what is practical now. The distance capabilities of these systems are also significantly improved, reaching to 60km. This may be the trigger for serious convergence of the inter-office/metro and access networks. This paper will examine the current trends in NG-PON technology, and extrapolate how these will impact the overall telecom network.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.