Last April at the Broadband Properties show in Dallas, Verizon executives talked about the benefits of laying fiber all the way to each home of a multiple dwelling unit (MDU). (For more, click here).

Verizon also touted its desk-top optical network terminals (ONTs) at the April show and also later in the summer (for more click here). But the company doesn’t seem to have made much progress with the pint-sized ONTs in the past year, deploying only a few hundred in New York City so far.

Meanwhile, a smaller telco – Cincinnati Bell – is deploying fiber to MDUs in an innovative way.

Not wanting to emulate Verizon by re-wiring whole living complexes with fiber, Cincinnati Bell takes fiber to the building and then employs the existing twisted pair and coax infrastructure.

"Instead of using an all IP solution, we do GPON with RF overlay for the video portion," said Brian Schrand, outside plant manager for Cincinnati Bell.

"We have the MDU ONT: It does our voice and data," he said. "We use a separate device from Alloptic; a micronode that strips off the RF signal and provides video across coax."

The micronode lets the operator disconnect the coax from the cable feed and hook it up to Cincinnati Bell’s fiber feed. (For more on Alloptic, click here).

Schrand said one of the biggest hurdles with this method of deploying fiber to multiple-unit complexes wasn’t a technical issue but a question as to who owns the cable and twisted pair infrastructure within MDUs.

It was determined, at least in Cincinnati Bell’s footprint, that the infrastructure in the walls and up to 18 inches outside of the building belongs to the building owner, he said.

The operator has been deploying fiber to MDUs with this method for about 18 months.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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