Broadband Communities

OCT 2018

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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MDU DEPLOYMENT 4 0 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 Fixed Wireless to the MDU – A Case Study in Detroit In an effort to deliver gigabit service to Detroit MDUs distant from its fiber backbone, Rocket Fiber experiments with millimeter-wave wireless delivery to the building. By Marc Hudson and Emily Dabish / Rocket Fiber A ll things innovation resonate with our team at Rocket Fiber. e company was founded in 2014 to bring Detroit the fastest internet in the country. Our mission is to advance the internet experience for all with dependable, unrestrained connectivity and helpful, authentic client service. is means we are constantly exploring new technology that can support that mandate. rough our journey, Rocket Fiber has come to understand the benefits of hybrid deployment methods as well as the power of fixed wireless access to multiple-dwelling-unit properties (MDUs). Despite having "Fiber" in our name, Rocket Fiber is committed to outstanding client service, no matter the method or technology. From day one, Rocket Fiber's mission has been to be a for-more-than-profit company by providing an outstanding product to the Detroit community as well as spreading information nationwide about the benefits of fiber. Our residential clients receive 1 Gbps service to the home. Rocket Fiber intentionally offers only gigabit-level service to residential clients, which we initially provided exclusively via our pure fiber network. However, as we sought to rapidly expand our service availability, we began to explore the possibility that fixed wireless access could help provide service outside our current fiber footprint. Although we were bullish on the underlying technology, we believed it was paramount that the wireless radios and unlicensed spectrum provide the same level of consistency as our traditional fiber- to-the-home product. TAKING DETROIT FROM LAST TO FIRST Rocket Fiber has consistently faced challenges involving legacy infrastructure when delivering service to MDUs. e lack of fiber infrastructure in Detroit served as a catalyst in forming the company. In a city where fewer than half the streetlights were operational in 2014, gigabit service delivered over a high-tech fiber network would be Detroit's version of a moonshot infrastructure upgrade. When Rocket Fiber began to lay its network four years ago, the company sought to access MDUs of all sizes and types in the footprint. Not all builds to MDUs were economically viable at the outset, but network upgrades had not been made in some areas of the footprint for decades. is had to change. e company's desire for unparalleled, future-proofed service led us to seek a creative strategy to deliver gigabit service to the home for Detroiters. e strategy of working with property owners large and small, without considering only the raw economics, heightened Rocket Fiber's ability to create strong partnerships and lasting relationships with property managers that helped pave the way for future experimental deployments, such as fixed wireless.

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