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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64 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | OCTOBER 2014 MDU REPORT Taking Fiber to the Living Unit – Visibly A new crown molding technology allows fast, easy fber installation and has an attractive appearance. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities I n the last several years, 3M, OFS, Samsung Fiber Optics and TE Connectivity (see p. 60) have all developed technologies that make fber easy to install in MDU hallways and living units and difcult to see afterward. Crownduit, named one of this year's Companies to Watch in 2015, chose to swim against the tide. Not that Crownduit makes fber hard to install – its technology is just as installer- friendly as the others. In fact, many residents could perform the installation themselves without any problem. It's on the subject of aesthetics where Bob DePaul, Crownduit's CEO, begs to difer. Rather than hiding fber, DePaul prefers to make it an eye-catching feature, covering it with crown molding inspired by classical designs. DePaul, a master-of-all-trades, was working as a molding contractor several years ago when he helped a friend with a fber installation job in Virginia. At one apartment building he visited, he was asked to repair an existing installation that had gone awry. "Parts were popping of," DePaul recalls. "Te fttings were squeezed in, and they were falling of. It was very hard to get the centerpiece into the track." A group of residents walked down the hall while DePaul was working and complained about the appearance of the molding. "We don't want that here," one resident said. "Tese are beautiful hallways and expensive apartments. Isn't there anything better available?" Tere wasn't, but DePaul was sure he could make something better. He spent the next several years developing a molding system that would improve on the one he helped install in Virginia, and he launched his product, Crownduit, at the FTTH Conference and Expo in June 2014. A MULTIPART MOLDING SYSTEM Te Crownduit molding system has several parts. A patented PVC backtrack, which attaches to the wall with two screws, has a built-in wire chase that is part of the extruded form. (Although DePaul conceived of the product with fber optic cable in mind, the wire chase actually has plenty of room for low- voltage wire or coaxial cable.) Te molding faceplate is made of medium- density fberboard (MDF), an engineered wood product that is stabler and more attractive than plastic, and it snaps easily onto the backtrack. Tis allows an owner to replace either the molding or the cable without using tools. In a typical crown molding installation, the molding must be cut on-site to ensure that the joints and seams ft tightly. Te Crownduit system, by constrast, uses snap-on covers for the joints and seams – which means the backtracks and faceplates can be cut to length of-site. Tese covers are made with the same materials and the same fnishings as the faceplates, so they can be guaranteed to match.