Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2019

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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TECHNOLOGY | 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 | J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 Mapping as a Strategic Tool Kit Carson Electric Cooperative used VETRO FiberMap to reduce troubleshooting time and meet demand for new fiber broadband service. By Will Mitchell / VETRO FiberMap K it Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative that has served Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba counties in New Mexico since 1944. For the past 75 years, KCEC has provided electricity to more than 29,000 members. In the 1990s, the electrical deregulation movement brought unprecedented changes to the utility industry and opened the door for KCEC to offer new infrastructure services, such as propane and internet. In 2000, Kit Carson Internet was established to resell dial-up, DSL, satellite internet and line-of-sight wireless. In 2010, KCEC was awarded a $64 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, which it used to help build more than 2,900 miles of fiber optic cable main line on existing poles and rights-of-way. Kit Carson Internet has now installed more than 500 miles of drop fiber optic cable to the home. e cooperative serves internet to more than 7,300 customers, including members who reside in areas where broadband was not previously available or service was limited. Growth of the internet division created more than 400 jobs, of which 90 percent were sourced locally, thanks to the mandate of KCEC CEO Luis Reyes. He recognized that the ARR A grant and advancing broadband technology provided a unique opportunity to elevate the skill set of the local labor force in northern New Mexico. KCEC provided the training, certification and experience that contractors and laborers needed to deliver fiber- to-the-home services and help bridge the digital divide. is endeavor greatly added to the economic viability of the community. THE CHALLENGE: RAPID GROWTH As a fast-growing division of KCEC, Kit Carson Internet was challenged to respond to an overwhelming number of requests for service and new installations, as well as requests from existing members for immediate customer support. e cooperative needed to respond to nearly 14,000 new applications for fiber broadband and determine how to efficiently get fiber drops to these homes and businesses while minimizing costs for consumers. e mountainous geography of northern New Mexico added to the complexity of the project. e lack of a true, live mapping system was a major hurdle to efficiently providing service to new and existing members. If Kit Carson Internet experienced a light loss or network issue, an engineer needed to work across multiple systems to troubleshoot and determine how to fix the problem. is often required opening AutoCAD files, Excel spreadsheets for splice matrices and a Google Earth overlay to attempt to repair a line and meet service agreements. Although CAD was a helpful tool for design and construction, it lacked the mapping elements and troubleshooting features necessary to identify an issue and deploy a field manager to the correct location for repairs. Kit Carson Internet wanted its construction drawings migrated into a true network management system. To work more efficiently, the company needed field crews and staff to have

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