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The growing popularity of mobile data services necessitates a rapid rise in network capacity not only on the air interface to the end user, but also in the backhaul network. The latter is quite important for the mobile operator business model, affecting capital investment, operational expenses, service deployment, and customer experience. Fiber infrastructure is inevitably the only long-term solution, and the deployment of passive optical networks presents an opportunity for a cost-effective, scalable, and future-proof solution. In this article we investigate the use of PONs for mobile backhaul and propose a resource allocation framework building on the efficiency of PONs to share resources, dynamically allocate bandwidth in real time, and enhance efficiency by improved statistical multiplexing. The main objective of this work is to exploit existing standardized technologies, and provide design and deployment guidelines regarding PON MAC operation, enabling a gradual and future-safe infrastructure upgrade of mobile backhaul systems.