Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2017

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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96 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 TECHNOLOGY A New Technology Standard To Narrow the Digital Divide The L.1700 standard can help support rural communications in developing countries – and perhaps in the United States as well. By Pavan Shakya / FibNet I n 2016, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) developed L.1700, a technology-neutral recommendation that places priority on the affordability of a low-cost, sustainable telecommunications infrastructure solution for rural communications in developing countries. It recommends that the reliability of the solution be the most important attribute after affordability. L.1700 builds on established technologies to identify the founding principles for broadband backhaul infrastructure. It provides the framework for technology-specific standards, such as L.110, which covers fiber optic cables. Local communities and village development councils will be able to corral resources – that is, minimally trained human resources – to lay these cables with partial burial techniques or place them securely just beneath the ground surface along rivulets, on river banks and across tree trunks and to relocate, rewire and repair them with ease. e following information is based on FibNet's experience using L.1700-standard fiber optic cables in Nepal, but I believe this technology holds promise for rural areas worldwide, including in the United States. AN ADAPTABLE DESIGN Many buildings and office structures scattered across Nepal do not comply with international building standards. ey certainly do not qualify as earthquake resistant (seismic aware) structures. Many of these will be torn down and replaced in the near future – which means that any telecom cables laid to connect the buildings could potentially be stranded. However, L.1700 provides for an adaptable network architecture design because the cables can easily be physically rerouted between buildings and other locations within any community. Such rerouting would be cost- prohibitive if a deployer used traditional fiber cables. Moving traditional cables is labor and machine intensive and limited by terrain and weather. e Nepali communities we have initially targeted face multiple challenges, including lack of access to basic health care, lack of academic institutions, season-dependent transportation and extremely poor communications infrastructure. e federal government is generally apathetic about addressing these challenges. A low-cost, simple, DIY solution can transform entire communities. Cable and computing device installation jobs will appear, technical trainers will be required, local businesses such as honey producers will have access to markets beyond their limited borders, and there will be a sudden burst of commercial and academic activity. Banks and other financial institutions will be willing to give out loans more easily. ose who know Nepal even minimally will by now be shaking their heads. Why? I have

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