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Fiber becoming more accessible in rural regions

By Max Burkhalter
October 31, 2012
Fiber to the home is emerging as an important telecommunications network solution. The technology enables high-performance network connectivity for consumers, an increasingly valuable asset in a market that depends heavily on network services.

The benefits of an FTTH program can be considerable in a variety of locations, as the improved network performance gains pay dividends in a diverse range of areas. However, rural areas are especially likely to gain from the better network capabilities.

Considering networking in rural regions
In many rural parts of the United States, cabling investment to support connectivity has been minimal. The reasons are purely economic. The cost of installing and maintaining cabling is high. Maintaining consistent revenue is generally based on building infrastructure in regions where there are enough customers per mile of wire to quickly pay off the cost of developing the cabling setup and begin generating revenue. In rural areas, some towns and small cities may be populated enough to justify an FTTH installation, but the cost of running middle-mile fiber between such regions presents excess costs because population density in these areas is too low.

However, this challenge is being overcome, to some degree, by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. When the act was passed a few years ago, many middle-mile fiber installations were subsidized by the U.S. federal government. This opened the door for more FTTH installations in rural areas because telecoms were saved from the high costs of middle-mile network installation.

Depending on large government subsidies is not the only way to develop optical network infrastructure in rural areas. As fiber-optic cabling solutions become more advanced, innovative projects are looking for better ways to install fiber. In Oaklahoma, the Lake Region Electric Cooperative is experimenting with a new way of deploying FTTH infrastructure that uses less fiber without sacrificing the number of households reached with the technology, Utility Products reported.

Hamid Vahdatipour, chief executive officer of the Lake Region Electric Cooperative, told the news source that the new program will use distributed tap design to enable installation using less fiber and allow easier construction.

As optical network solutions become more prominent in rural areas, telecoms and utility companies installing infrastructure have to consider the need to invest in fiber to Ethernet media converters to support better interoperability. Most homes and businesses use copper for their networks, making media conversion vital to enable efficient FTTH installation.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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