As a follow-up to our previous article on how to maximize funding from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, this week we dig a bit more into why one particular solution can be ideal for helping to bridge the digital divide.
My friend and neighbor has recently had two Internet outages, and was very upset. Given that he has three active Internet users at home during daytime, his frustration is entirely understandable. While my friend could barely withstand just two days with “no Internet,” it’s an unfortunate everyday reality for many Americans. According to a report from BroadbandNow Research, more than 41 million Americans don’t have any access to broadband Internet at all. Roughly 80 percent of them live in rural areas, according to FCC data.
The US Department of Agriculture’s “A Case for Rural Broadband” projects that the average global download speed will double from 39 Mbps in 2017 to 75 Mbps by 2022. What a gap!
In anticipation of this giant leap in speed, the FCC is making a strong effort to close the digital divide. The Commission has created a $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to bring high-speed broadband services to millions of rural homes and small businesses over 10 years. Prospective bidders will compete for awards from this fund in a series of reverse auctions.
The Challenge and the Solution
Among the several broadband technologies available for rural areas, fiber broadband Internet— as delivered over a traditional passive optical network (PON)— provides future-proof speed, bandwidth, and services. However, it also possesses a cost disadvantage for build and deployment in rural environments. Two characteristics of rural area broadband are its low network port density and slow pace of growth. Traditional chassis-based optical line termination (OLT) PON solutions do not match these characteristics well.
The good news is that FCC’s RDOF gives a priority on fiber deployment for fiber broadband access in rural areas, and Champion ONE offers a solution that’s a much better match for rural broadband access. Our TiBit XGS-PON solution integrates core OLT functionality into a standard based 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ optical module.
This pluggable OLT module can be deployed in a port of a standard 10GE switch to provide full OLT functionality. The technology provides unmatched scalability, so rural service providers can start deploying a few TiBit pluggable modules (or even a single module), and scale up as their rural business grows.
By eliminating the need for an application-specific OLT box, this technology helps save costs, space, and power consumption. It can also help you maximize port usage in existing 10GE switches. Deploying the MicroPlug OLT will enable winning bidders to close the digital divide while maintaining a sustainable cost advantage.
For more information on this industry-first solution, contact us today.