Big Light in a Small Town: Connecting Rural America

Over time, much of America’s rural landscape may not have changed physically, but communications needs have certainly changed. The need for reliable fiber optic broadband networks has virtually exploded in rural areas. However, the deployment of these high-speed networks has not kept pace with the needs. One of the main reasons for this is the distance between dwellings in rural areas and those in more urban areas. Placing fiber along routes where the number of households ranges from 1-5 per mile versus 1-5 per block poses unique considerations for broadband providers.

The weighting of the investment costs of deployment against the return on investment (ROI) has a significant impact on a supplier’s decision to place fiber, and in particular in the rural environment. This impact includes a planner reviewing a fiber deployment, especially mindful of considering future ownership/route changes that may occur. A great example of an unforeseen scenario would be a landlord who later chooses to sell an area for development (industrial or residential). Satisfy that kind of capability and flexibility with the FieldSmart® FDH (Fiber Distribution Hub) cabinet and the Open view® Cassette enables scalable connectivity beyond the needs of the initial release.

Typically, in a rural road, most of the outdoor telecommunications installation is aerial. The reason for this is historically linked to rural electrification. Since the primary utility is electricity, the most cost-effective way to develop telecommunications is to use existing utility poles. Place it high.

In today’s world, DSL and other copper technologies struggle to provide even a basic “high speed” connection due to the long distances between a central office and these outlying rural properties. Providing fiber connectivity meets the high-speed broadband demands of today and tomorrow. Fiber is the most reliable medium and the only one truly capable of providing these homes (and businesses) with reliable high-speed Internet for decades to come.

As noted, a successful outdoor plant fiber approach relies on the ability to distribute fiber to homes along the route, but also the flexibility to scale to meet the needs of commercial development or an industrial park if it happens in the future. The most popular way to meet these needs is with the FDH firm.

In urban areas, FieldSmart FDH cabinets are sized from 288 to 1172 ports to support higher population densities. This is not the case in rural America. As a general rule, 96 ports or even less will meet most needs in these areas. So finding an FDH cabinet that scales from 12 to 96 ports over time is an optimal solution.

This is where the mounting post FieldSmart 96 Port FDH PON Cabinet comes into play. This pole-mountable FDH offers the outdoor plant designer twelve power fiber ports (which can also be used as business express ports if needed), a variety of splitter options, and up to ninety-six distribution ports. Vendors need only install the appropriate amount of Clearview cassettes and splitters to meet their customer’s needs, 12 ports at a time per cassette. As local demand increases, the supplier only needs to install additional cassettes in the product.

This model allows for the greatest flexibility while providing a better return on investment by giving the supplier the ability to “pay as you grow” without tying up fiber assets. So we can meet today’s residential broadband demand, and if a landlord decides to put their land with a developer, the broadband provider can easily expand and absorb the added homes or businesses. If a business customer needs more bandwidth, the provider can use one of the express ports to give them what they need. It’s as simple as installing a jumper in the correct port.

If you are looking for a flexible, perfectly sized FDH solution for your rural application that can offer you scalability and a significant improvement in return on investment over other types of FDH cabinets, contact your Clearfield representative today.

By Scot Bohaychyk

Scot Bohaychyk (Market Director, Wireless) has nearly 40 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Scot’s experience includes service at the White House Communications Agency, providing communications infrastructure support. Scot’s experience in the private sector includes OSP field and engineering experience, as well as market development and sales work in the areas of blown and pushable fiber for long-haul fiber installations…both at United States and abroad.

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