We often talk about customizing our approach to meeting a customer’s needs. Whether we’re deploying hosted phones or helping a municipality to develop a community fiber network, there is no cookie cutter approach. OTELCO’s own new FTTP infrastructure is no different.With operations and fiber build-outs happening in Alabama, Missouri, Vermont, and Maine, Otelco (our parent company) and OTELCO are using 3 different deployment approaches.
In the communities of Blackwater and Arrow Rock in Missouri, Otelco is retiring copper from its outside plant and replacing the entire copper infrastructure with fiber to every premise. With this deployment, the customer’s existing copper-fed voice and data service is simply replaced with fiber-fed service that mirrors the previous copper service.
In Alabama, Otelco is building fiber infrastructure with slack loops that will allow the installation of splicing enclosures to allow fiber to be cut and spliced as customers along the distribution route sign on for service. Until recently, Otelco was using outside contractors to run the distribution fiber and using in-house staff to do the splicing necessary to prepare the fiber network for service. That method was consuming a substantial amount of time for crews devoted to this network preparation. In an effort to increase the number of installs to keep up with demand, Otelco is using the outside contractor to perform the splicing to prepare the network, freeing up more time for Otelco technicians to perform customer installations. OTELCO is also using this deployment method in Cornwall, Vermont, where preliminary work has already begun on a 131 home fiber project near the Middlebury line.
In Maine OTELCO is using pre-connectorized splice enclosures with multiport terminals. This technology eliminates the need for cutting and splicing of the fiber when a new customer signs on as pre-connectorized drops to each premise are used. The projects in West Enfield and Alton Maine are serving as a beta test for this deployment method. It’s expected that the additional upfront expense of the pre-connectorized equipment will be offset by a cost savings on labor during installation to the homes.
There is no question that delivering fiber for high speed Internet to rural areas is a challenge. Population density, geography and geology all come into play. No matter how you splice it (yuk yuk), finding the most efficient deployment method for a particular geographic area is critical to getting the job done.