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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90 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 COMMUNITY BROADBAND imbalance in the ecosystem; it just makes the whole ecosystem faster. Large cloud companies could also lease dark fiber and serve individual homes. Google Fiber could lease the entire network, as it did with the open dark fiber network in Huntsville, Alabama. Large cloud companies should see the strategic advantage of being the gateway for all their customers' communications needs. e big cloud companies certainly have the resources to light open fiber networks. If the future of broadband is just high-speed, best-effort internet access, does it matter whether a telco, a cable company or a cloud company provides that access? e only differences among them are price and brand strength. Given the current challenges of lighting a network at this scale, the dark fiber model is likely to be limited to a few large providers. us, the dark fiber model could lead either to a faster version of today's broken broadband market or to a market dominated by large national brands that have the wherewithal to light the fiber at scale. Still, there's nothing too dark about this model; it's a lot better than today's. OPEN ACCESS TO LIT FIBER e key benefit of the lit model is that it eliminates the barrier of obtaining the skills and resources to light the fiber. Rather, the network operator (the city's private partner, in the case of San Francisco) lights the fiber and offers lit connections to service providers. In this model, a service provider just needs to peer or interconnect with the city. It doesn't have to purchase and operate the last-mile optical equipment. e lit model (Figure 4) enables multiple service providers to serve the same home or business over the same fiber at the same time with guaranteed quality of service and security. By contrast, in the dark fiber model, only one service provider at a time can use a fiber and serves as the gateway to all other service providers, as shown in Figure 1. Switching service providers requires physically disconnecting the fiber from one service provider and reconnecting it to another. e lit model creates a level playing field in which all service providers have equal access to all customers. It eliminates the disadvantage cloud companies face in today's ecosystem – namely, that their success is determined by broadband providers' willingness to upgrade and those providers' interpretations of net neutrality. is disadvantage is increasing as broadband providers offer more content and cloud services. INNOVATION CITIES Many cities claim to be or want to be "innovation cities." A big benefit of the lit open-access model is that it is an innovation platform. With the lighting barrier removed, anyone can become a broadband service provider. Figure 5 shows several possible future service providers. Public cloud companies, such as Microsoft and Amazon, can offer secure, very high-speed and low- latency connections to customers attached to the network. ey and IoT companies will have a platform for edge computing as well, as the broadband data center should be locally situated. Colleges and universities can offer 4K video lectures and immersive learning experiences directly to all residents of the community. Gaming companies can become service providers and offer their customers a new level of experience with ultra-low latencies and gigabit speeds. City governments can become service providers, offering every resident e-government services securely and at high speed and keeping all local data local. ey can also utilize the ubiquitous fiber network as a platform for smart-city and public-safety Figure 4: Lit-model broadband ecosystem

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