BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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MAY/JUNE 2014 | www.broadbandcommunities.com | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 15 of potential broadband partners. It is critically important that technology innovation come from the customer in partnership with a motivated and experienced facilities provider." Once the plan was agreed to, MDG issued a request for proposals, asking service providers to install and operate future-proof broadband networks in the new communities and deliver services at attractive prices. Te RFP covered about 6,000 single-family lots; if the project meets expectations, the networks could eventually be expanded to reach as many as 30,000 single- family and multifamily units. Te responses to the RFP were not overwhelmingly positive. "We got a lot of noes," Singleton says ruefully. However, one response was exactly what the company hoped for: Bright House Networks, the sixth-largest U.S. cable provider, proposed to deliver broadband, video, Wi-Fi and smart- home services over EPON networks, operate a dedicated customer-care center for ULTR AFi subscribers, and help ensure that builders could construct the inside wiring required to distribute ULTR AFi services within homes. Beyond the content of its proposal, Bright House Networks had a great deal to ofer. MDG placed a high value on dealing with an established, experienced provider, and Bright House Networks has approximately 2.5 million customers and a major presence in Florida. It has also been the top-rated video provider for the last three years in the Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual ranking of companies based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers. Over the months spent negotiating the contract and fnalizing the plans, "Bright House was fantastic," Singleton says. "Senior people were involved in the meetings. Tey were great partners, they had suggestions … they had their sleeves rolled up." With this contract, Bright House Networks becomes the frst major MSO in the United States to make a large-scale investment in fber to the home. Previously, MSOs deploying residential fber have favored Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG), a cable-friendly fber technology whose endpoints emulate HFC nodes and are easily integrated into DOCSIS- managed networks. Te price of such easy integration is that RFoG networks are subject to the same bandwidth limitations as HFC networks. Te ULTR AFi networks will be based on passive optical network (PON) technology and thus capable of much higher speeds than DOCSIS networks. AN EVOLUTION FOR BRIGHT HOUSE NETWORKS Kimberly Maki, Bright House Networks VP for corporate communications, describes ULTR AFi as an evolution rather than a revolution for Bright House Networks. "Bright House has been deploying all-fber solutions fueled by investment in EPON starting in 2006," she notes. "Tose solutions have been deployed to the enterprise business, including schools and health care facilities. We've also done testing of EPON for residential customers. So this build is an extension of that investment." Maki emphasizes that Bright House Networks proposed the EPON solution specifcally to accommodate MDG's planned services and applications for the ULTR AFi communities and that it would need to reach similar agreements with developers before undertaking any other residential EPON projects. She comments, "From our projections, it will take quite some time for the average consumer to need gigabit speeds. In some ways, we are ahead of the game, and by pursuing EPON in a focused area we can work more with the potential new use cases that MDG has planned." In general, cable companies have had difculty building residential FTTH networks because their investors have been reluctant to fnance them. (Unlike many telephone companies, cable providers can remain competitive or dominant in most localities by simply upgrading their HFC networks.) However, the real-estate revival and the development of new master-planned communities may ofer more opportunities for cable companies and real estate developers to collaborate on FTTH. Te economics of greenfeld development favors fber both because ULTRAFi communities will be blanketed with fber and Wi-Fi connections. BBC_May14.indd 15 5/29/14 9:15 AM