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Next-generation optical access networks will deliver substantial benefits to consumers including a dedicated high-QoS access to bit rates of hundreds of Megabits per second. They must also deliver significant benefits to network owners/operators to justify the needed infrastructure investment expected to reach billions of Euros. Benefits to network owners/operators are expected to include reduced total cost of ownership, due to higher reliability, lower energy consumption, better flexibility and efficiency, and a smaller number of sites needed to support network operations. This paper will describe recent progress toward that goal including R&D efforts in Europe under the FP7 projects ALPHA and OASE and in the US at Stanford University under the SUCCESS and DAN projects.