Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2014

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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40 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 COMMUNITY BROADBAND Lessons From Fiber Communities There's no one-size-fts-all strategy for building a fber-connected community. Everything – from technology choices to the rollout strategy to the role of the community itself – depends on local needs, constraints and choices. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities L ike many Tennessee towns, Fayetteville has a municipal electric utility that distributes TVA-generated electricity to its residents and those of several surrounding communities. In 2001, Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) became the frst Tennessee municipal utility to expand its mandate and launch a broadband utility, delivering the triple play of TV, Internet and phone services – a move that many other municipal electric utilities would follow. Today, FPU provides about 3,300 homes with telecom services, better than half the 6,500 homes it passes. Because FPU entered the broadband business so early, it built a hybrid fber- coaxial network, then watched as other TVA distributors built FTTH networks over the next decade. In 2010, residents in an underserved rural area within FPU's electric service territory requested cable service. FPU surveyed households there to make sure there was sufcient demand; when it made the decision to overbuild, it looked at the possibility of using fber rather than coax. Because replacing the existing coax in Fayetteville wasn't an option – "We're not taking out a system that works," says Eric Reeves, FPU supervisor of telecom operations – FPU needed a fber access network that would be compatible with its existing HFC network. To solve this problem, FPU turned to CommScope, with which it had worked since 1999 and which specializes in cable-friendly FTTH systems. CABLE-FRIENDLY FTTH CommScope recommended its BrightPath Optical Solution (BOS), an end-to-end fber solution that includes laser transmitters and receivers, optical taps and splitters, fber cabling and RFoG micronodes needed for a complete fber-to-the-home solution. BOS network topology is similar to that used for traditional HFC networks, but it ofers many advantages over HFC – including the ability to simply hang a fber drop to remote locations, some of which are as far as 3,000 feet from the grid. "It allows us to install main throughputs within an area and easily connect homes and businesses there," Reeves explains. He adds, "I can place taps on the main highway and … just have the installer run the drop cable and splice it in. In the traditional coax world, you would have to design and place the cable and amplifer, [but now we] build the main structure down the street, and even for homes located 400, 500 or 600 feet of the road, we don't have to put coax or amplifers. So it's quite a bit cheaper to pick up customers with fber than to hang all those other pieces. Tere's a lot of farmland here, and people that live here can be quite a bit of the road. Te traditional coax customer would have to pay for a connection, but with RFoG, it's within design range." Fayetteville, Tenn.

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