Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2017

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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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 | www.broadbandcommunities.com | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 33 Slovin explains: "When providers initially launched gigabit speeds over fiber, they were training the market [to expect 1 Gbps service] – but the ROI for fiber to the unit is hard to justify. … So when we launch DOCSIS 3.1 in a market, it allows every property to say, 'I'm now competitive.' Our conversations with customers are about how we can help them offer these speeds and market the fact that they're a technology leader." Comcast's gigabit DOCSIS 3.1 service, unlike its fiber service, is asymmetrical. However, Slovin says, residential traffic is heavily asymmetrical, and upload speeds can be customized based on usage. In exceptional cases (for example, medical- student housing, where residents upload huge files), DOCSIS 3.1 might not fill the bill, but in nearly all apartment communities, it does. Some service providers that have not proactively invested in their backbone networks are willing to do so at a property owner's request – for example, by splitting a DOCSIS node or even bringing fiber all the way to the basement. However, if a service provider is unwilling to upgrade its network, an owner may be able to invite a competitive provider into the building and allow it access to inside wiring. is may require the owner to invest in a neutral lockbox – a significant expense but not as significant as rewiring the building. In other cases, the problem is the property owner's responsibility but can be solved relatively easily. Sometimes only switches or wireless access points need to be updated. Sometimes the problem is outdoors; Coco cites the example of a property whose frequent outages were caused by a problem in the distribution cable between buildings. Even an inside-wiring problem may be limited in scope: One property owner with a high rate of trouble tickets determined that a few home- run wires caused the bulk of the tickets. After testing all the wires in the building, the company replaced only the few faulty ones. In-unit wiring may need to be expanded to comply with regulations or meet market demand. For example, older properties often have a single coax outlet for each unit, but residents today expect an outlet in every bedroom. Again, this expansion can sometimes be done at less cost than a full renovation. REWIRING BUILDINGS Sometimes the best – or only – remedy for slow or unreliable internet service is to replace the infrastructure altogether. To minimize construction costs and disruption (and tap into more favorable financing), owners often wait until buildings are being rehabbed to rewire them. But Coco lists several circumstances in which owners may replace their broadband infrastructure in the absence of an overall building rehab: • e wiring is obsolete or poorly designed. RG-59 coaxial cable or old twisted-pair copper may not support the wired or wireless internet speeds that residents demand; daisy-chained wiring can cause problems to cascade through a network. In old buildings wired for cable after they were built, unprotected cable may pose aesthetic or safety problems. • e owner needs to install a separate network for building operations such as security, access control and life safety, and a new resident network could be installed along the same pathways. • e building is being repurposed and needs more (or differently located) infrastructure. For example, some apartments are being converted to retail spaces. • e service provider is a telephone company that is retiring its old copper network and replacing it with fiber. CHOOSING A NEW INFRASTRUCTURE If a building is to be rewired, what type of infrastructure should be used? For future-proofing, everyone agrees fiber optic cable is the best bet. Slovin says MDU owners across Comcast's footprint now commonly use fiber in new builds and rehabs, and Comcast is willing to leverage that fiber-to-the- unit infrastructure. Municipal Broadband Distribution Solutions TRUE ™ Tier 15 and 22 Underground Enclosures ANSI/SCTE rated handholes constructed of advanced composite materials; stackable and up to 75% less weight than similar volume Tier 15/22 enclosures DAS & Small Cell Concealment Shrouds Aesthetically pleasing curved shrouds for outdoor concealment of radios, power supplies, diplexers/combiners and associated cabling

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