Buckeye Cablevision has worked with Kabel-X to extract coax cable from some of its plant in its Toledo, OH system. The plan is to replace that coax with fiber without having to dig up the underground conduit. (For the original announcement, click here).
The fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) trial is being conducted in a subdivision with about 130 upper-scale homes in which Buckeye has about 80 percent penetration. The trial involves replacing about three miles of coax with new fiber.
“The coaxial extraction component of the project with Kabel-X went well for our first attempt,” said Jim Brown, Buckeye director of engineering. A reduction in construction labor costs and neighborhood disturbance as compared with traditional trenching are among the technology’s benefits.
"The nice thing is we’re not doing any service disruptions," said Joe Jensen, Buckeye’s CTO.
Jensen said the service provider originally built a dual coax network in the trial area in the 1970s and 1980s because it was the best way to get 60 channels at that time. When it upgraded in the 90s, the second coax pipe was abandoned.
Buckeye is using that unused coax for the FTTH test so that subscriber service is not disrupted.
"We’ve sent them letters," said Jensen. "There was an article in the Toledo Blade about the trial."
The first phase of the trial was to work with Kabel-X’s technology to extract the coax from the abandoned conduit. The next phase will involve pushing new fiber through the vacated coax and installing optical components.
"We’re looking at various alternatives to see the best way to get the fiber placed there," said Jensen.
For the FTTH service, Buckeye is working with CommScope and Alloptic. The operator plans to begin installing the optics within the next few weeks and have things fully operational in a relatively short time frame after the process begins, according to Brown.
Jensen said Buckeye is doing the test to see how cost-effective coax replacement is compared to trenching or boring. "We had a unique situation with this dual coax," he added.