The multiple dwelling unit (MDU) market is in play, with competitive service and technology providers alike converging on the opportunities it presents.

“Our initiatives in the MDU space have increased significantly,” Verizon SVP Technology Mark Wegleinter said at the Broadband Properties conference back in April. (For more, click here). Cable operators are in this game, too.

Bulk account revenue already is a large number, amounting to tens of millions of dollars at one large MSO, according to an insider. Setting up these revenue streams is not necessarily easy, however, especially where old buildings are concerned.

“That’s a tough one,” ADC Principal Senior Systems Engineer Doug Ellens told attendees at a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) conference session this morning in Houston, referring to a typical case of existing infrastructure.

“There is a pathway, but more than likely it’s copper,” Ellens said.

Getting in at the building stage of MDU construction helps, but even that proactive approach can run into the “copper mentality” of electricians that typically pre-wire these buildings, he said.

As a result, retrofitting is common, even when fiber is part of the picture. One of Ellens’ examples involved installing connectorized boxes for fiber that had been fed through two-inch ducts into rafters of a low-rise garden style complex.

In another example of a 12-story building, Ellens showed how a metal flex duct, plug-and-play multi-port connectors and forced access through a garbage room and concrete walls were part of solving the challenge of vertical transport from the equipment room to multiple floor closets.

“A pretty tough scenario,” Ellens said.

Using pre-connectorized products that reduce splicing is one component of these solutions. Reduced-bend radius (RBR) fiber is another. (Some bendable fiber arrived on the scene last year. For background, click here).

RBR fiber also figured in a unique deployment that used molding to hide and route fiber optic cable through multiple 90-degree bends in an MDU’s hallways.

“Not everything is cookie-cutter,” Ellens said.

—Jonathan Tombes

The Daily

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