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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98 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 TECHNOLOGY will be success stories, pitfalls and new challenges will appear. is is unavoidable. However, the fact that L.1700 is a DIY technology means that local community leaders and the public will remain involved in the minutiae of network maintenance, security, deployment, training and so forth. is will help people capitalize on the initial burst of activity and eventually ensure that one of their major economic drivers – telecommunications infrastructure – remains functional and utilized at capacity. In L.110, ITU standards experts have put forward a solution expressly targeted at narrowing the digital divide, providing the groundwork for local optical cable installation, maintenance, security and repair. WHY L.1700 IS BETTER THAN CONVENTIONAL FIBER SOLUTIONS Two singular features of L.1700 and its supplements are the ease of deployment and the short learning curve of the "technicians." ere is no requirement for deep trench burial. Shallow burial or simple surface layout is sufficient. e cable consists of a tenacious metal tube that protects optical fibers from on-surface disturbances, such as foraging animals. is cable has been deployed in commercial settings for the past 20 years, and more than 12,000 miles (20,000 km) of it have been deployed in the Japanese market. e most affordable way of installing and maintaining this cable is to hire local community members. Installers can choose to lay the cable on the surface, direct bury it, submerge it in water or suspend it aerially, depending on the terrain, and they can relocate lines as necessary. e fiber is weather and terrain agnostic and does not need manholes or special underground pipes. Local community layout teams can work throughout the year in any terrain. Deployers can find technology- specific best practices in supplement texts – for example, ITU-T L Supplement 22 specifies the design of a low-cost, terabit-capable optical cable that can be deployed on the ground surface with minimal expense and environmental impact. e L.110 optical implementation based on the L.1700 framework has proven to be reliable, robust and cost-effective. Reliability is only the second most important attribute of L.1700. is reverses the common approach to fiber optic cable design – reliability is usually the primary focus, but with L.1700, affordable implementation is the top priority. NEPAL ELECTRICITY AUTHORITY e Nepal Electricity Authority is the only supplier of retail electricity in Nepal. Until recently, customers' only payment option was to stand in queue every month at local NEA offices. Tempers flared over parking, pushing and shoving was common and the tellers never seemed fast enough or interested enough to accommodate or ease the payment process. e last few months have brought a revolutionary change. A third-party financial technology company started an online bill payment system for NEA, and the monthly surging crowds slowed to a trickle. e apathetic tellers now have bored expressions as they wait for their shifts to end, as if they almost miss the shouting, heckling and unwarranted comments from the crowds. What will happen if this is replicated across Nepal? Is it possible? Can a villager who lives a three-day walk from the closest urban center afford to make a monthly trip just to pay his nominal bill? Millions of Nepalis face these real- life questions. e terrain is difficult, and the weather is unforgiving. When the two intersect – as when people need to cross near-flood-level rivers during the monsoon season – life is impossible. ese difficulties weigh heavily on the rural psyche. With no life insurance, or any type of insurance, a typical villager makes countless life-threatening journeys over the course of his or her lifetime. CAN L.1700 BE USED IN THE UNITED STATES? In the United States, the Appalachian region might be a good candidate for L.1700 technology. Largely bypassed by the interstate highway system, the region has suffered economic depression over several generations. Despite the efforts of the Appalachian Regional Commission, much work remains to bring Appalachia up to par with rest of the country. Appalachia lacks a robust telecommunications infrastructure, resulting in loss of economic power, academic opportunities, medical services An aerial installation of L.1700 fiber in Bhutan makes use of a conveniently located tree.

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