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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Page 49 of 70

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 41 Te new fber network costs much less to operate than the HFC network. Maintenance costs are lower (Reeves comments, "I can see just where the RFoG is by looking at the maintenance logs"), there is little or no powered equipment in the feld, and the expensive cumulative leak index testing mandated for coaxial networks is not needed for fber. Te RFoG micronodes that terminate the fber at customer premises also ft comfortably into an HFC network. Te cable modem termination system sees them as ordinary HFC nodes, and FPU can manage them along with the rest of the cable network using DOCSIS. NO ADVERTISING NEEDED Te response in the newly served area was immediate and overwhelming. Even though FPU didn't advertise, about 30 percent of the 500 households signed up for services in the frst eight weeks. "You do one hookup, and they tell all their neighbors," Reeves says. Currently, the take rate is close to 60 percent. FPU is considering expanding its network – again using fber – into additional parts of its electric utility footprint where residents have requested telecom services. In June 2012, FPU decided to use fber to serve some commercial enterprises within its existing HFC footprint. It chose CommScope's BOS solution again, this time with EPON electronics rather than RFoG. EPON, unlike RFoG, isn't subject to DOCSIS capacity constraints, but it can still be managed through DOCSIS, using a protocol called DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON, or DPoE. FPU rolled out new commercial IP services beginning with one local hotel. Less than a year later, it was serving 10 business customers with upstream and downstream data speeds of 20 Mbps. Tis added capability gives FPU a unique play with business customers. Residential users are not yet demanding speeds higher than RFoG can deliver, but if they do, FPU has a simple option. "We can ride RFoG out for quite a bit longer," Reeves says. "But if a customer demands additional upload speeds, we can put in a diferent optical network unit at the home and upgrade to EPON. We can even run EPON and RFoG together. Tere's a local business in town where we use RFoG for TV and EPON for Internet across the same fber." Even though FPU didn't advertise, about 30 percent of households passed signed up for services in eight weeks. "You do one hookup, and they tell all their neighbors," says Reeves. Loma Linda, Calif. N early a decade ago, Loma Linda gained national attention when it enacted foresighted legislation requiring developers to outft all new housing developments with fber-to-the- home infrastructure and then turn that infrastructure over to the city. Eventually, the city began to look for ways to extend the network to existing housing and commercial properties. Loma Linda, which covers 7.5 square miles in the San Bernardino Valley of Southern California, is a community of 21,000 people. Health care dominates its economy – it has fve major hospitals and a health care–focused graduate university that has 15,000 medical, dental and other health care students. Up to 100,000 people visit the city every day to be treated. Te need to support these health care institutions drove Loma Linda to build fber infrastructure. As medical facilities became increasingly data driven, they required higher- capacity connections than they could obtain from incumbent carriers. Te possibility of health care institutions' relocating to other cities threatened the entire local economy. THE LAST FEW HUNDRED FEET Rolling out a backbone network was relatively straightforward, but the cost of running fber over the last mile – or, more typically, the last few hundred feet – to the customer premises posed big challenges. Te city considered using a combination of trenching and blown fber, but, at an average cost of $50 per foot, this was too expensive. Trenching also threatened to create costly, disruptive road closures. Te solution Loma Linda eventually adopted was to use microtrenching, then to fll the trenches with m2fx's ruggedized Tuf Duct microducts and its Minifex pushable fber cable. Microtrenching involves cutting a 1-inch-wide trench, installing microduct and rapidly restoring the roadway. Tough many municipal ofcials once viewed microtrenching with suspicion, a "mentality change" is now occurring, according to Larry Malone, m2fx president for the Americas (the parent company is British). Te microtrenching process and the materials used have improved so much in recent years that many cities now welcome this option, Malone explains. For example, fll (SuperGrout in Loma Linda's case) is more structurally stable, saws are more precise, the plastic used for ducts has a higher melting point and installers' skills have improved. City engineers who once voiced concerns that microtrenching saws would cut into utility pipes or that ducts would melt are now convinced

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