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 | 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 AT&T Expands Fiber Broadband Options For MDUs A new technology standard proves capable of accelerating the rollout of gigabit broadband to more MDU residents, extending fiber broadband speeds. By Gary Bolton / ADTRAN T oday, according to the U.S. Census, 35 percent of all U.S. households live in multiple-dwelling-unit properties (MDUs) – apartments, condos, town houses or high-rises. at is about 44 million households and growing. Low vacancy rates are driving demand for new MDUs. According to the Freddie Mac Multifamily 2018 Mid-Year Outlook, 350,000 units were added in 2017 alone, an increase of 12.3 percent year over year. It is no surprise that more than 50 percent of MDU inhabitants are 30 years old or younger. ey grew up as digital natives and are always connected. ey tend to use Uber and Lyft rather than owning cars or even having driver's licenses, and they are the "renter generation." "ere's a lot of demand coming from millennials," notes Ed Balcerzak, senior vice president of commercial and connected communities for AT&T Inc. "ey seem to be staying in apartments longer than previous generations." AT&T has taken on the mission to be the leader in delivering gigabit connections to MDUs via fiber optics and is extending its gigabit fiber network to millions of customer locations. Coupled with the scale in TV service provided by DIRECTV and the substantial, untapped MDU market, this provides an outstanding opportunity for the company. So far, AT&T has delivered fiber to MDUs with a total of more than 1.5 million customer locations and continues to expand its all-fiber reach. "We're all in," says Balcerzak. "We certainly characterize it as a fast- growing segment of the market." MDU HEADWINDS Although MDUs provide tremendous demand with a strong concentration of bandwidth- hungry digital natives, installing fiber services within existing (brownfield) buildings can be extremely challenging and, in some cases, cost prohibitive. It is relatively easy for AT&T to install fiber in a new building while it is under construction, but the company faces a challenge in delivering gigabit services in existing buildings that do not have fiber, or even an existing pathway, to each living unit. In these cases, in which rewiring existing buildings with fiber is prohibitive, there is typically already some type of phone or TV wiring infrastructure to every living unit – twisted pair, coaxial cable or both. In buildings that AT&T currently serves with DIRECTV service or in which cable TV is available, coax already connects to every living unit. Phone or data wiring connections are also available in most MDUs. G.FAST TO THE RESCUE is a next-generation broadband access technology based on an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard and designed to deliver gigabit speeds over existing copper wiring or coaxial cable for applications up to 100 meters. Tom Starr, a lead member of technical staff at AT&T Labs, is the chairman of ITU-T WP1/15, which has helped guide development of the standard. is new

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