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Utility FTTA/FWA and Small Cell

Broadband connectivity in rural areas is experiencing unprecedented growth. Wireless along with mobile connectivity is part of this expansion. Much of growth is fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), but in areas where it’s not economical, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology will be a common solution.

Did you know that wireless connectivity is driven by fiber? Each radio node needs a connection not just to subscribers, but also a connection to the rest of the world. No substitute for fiber to that connection exists. Even where the “last mile” is wireless, all the other miles will be over fiber.

Wireless connectivity is an opportunity for rural utilities and co-ops. In some cases, the utility or co-op may see a business opportunity to establish wireless service. Whereas other cases, a fixed or mobile wireless operator may seek to establish service. In the latter case, the utility or co-op is in a good position to benefit because they already have something of great value—a pathway to bring fiber cables to each of these sites. The utility gains revenue by providing fiber to the wireless operator, improving the ROI for a fiber deployment.

AFL’s full end-to-end product solution helps utilities and co-ops in these applications by providing expandability, flexibility and accessibility.

Expandability. Over time, bandwidth demand will grow. Wireless operators, especially mobile operators, will need to deploy more radio nodes to cover smaller areas with higher bandwidth. New parts of the wireless spectrum will drive new wireless opportunities. Utilities and co-ops must plan fiber networks to last decades into the future. AFL supports this by providing industry-leading solutions offering more fiber in less space and less weight, making it economical to deploy enough fiber capacity. AFL also provides solutions for increasing the amount of traffic over existing fibers.

Flexibility. Although overall bandwidth demands on the network will increase over the course of years and decades, it is difficult to predict precisely where and when new opportunities will arise. If another wireless provider overbuilds an area, or an existing one deploys more sites to increase capacity, where will new radio nodes be placed? What new applications will drive demand, and where might a new business emerge, requiring more bandwidth or perhaps even a dedicated fiber connection? AFL’s products allow for network designs that have the flexibility to accommodate new fiber demands wherever and in whatever volume.

Accessibility. Having the ability to expand throughput on a network and the flexibility to redesign it for new demands and opportunities is not enough if technicians cannot physically make these changes happen in the network. AFL’s product solutions take this into account and are craft-friendly, minimizing the time it takes to implement changes and maximizing the effectiveness of network installers. 

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