Open-Access Fiber: Transforming how last-mile internet infrastructure is deployed

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The demand on data centers has never been higher, and it’s only going to grow. How do we build and run today — for tomorrow? The Data Center Tech Bytes podcast series features big industry conversations that take place in just a small amount of time. Join us as we begin to re-define the data center of the future, and get ready for smarter and more sustainable operations to support greater connectivity and capacity

In episode 12, Mark Hurley, Solution Architect at Schneider Electric and Jack Demers, CEO of Netly Fiber talk about the race to deploy fiber. “Bringing cost effective fiber deployments to a town or city puts them in the fast lane. It changes the way communities do business and helps bridge the world’s digital divide,” says Mark.

The U.S, however, lags behind other countries. In a large number of areas, we are still relying on on legacy copper at the edge of the network with slow speeds and limited options. According to Jack, “There is a huge gap in the last mile – that last connection from homes and businesses to the internet. Now, more than ever, we need to deploy fiber to replace old, end of life wires and cables.”

The Fiber Future

The history of telecom and cable monopolies has contributed to the holdup, but the future of fiber doesn’t belong to one company. The vision of connecting every home, business, school, library, etc. will be enabled by many service providers through a common layer of infrastructure. Mark and Jack believe from there we’ll see innovative uses and scenarios that before might have been inconceivable or unaffordable.

IoT solutions run on top of the platform, plus 5G and intelligent technology like smart grid monitoring. “With ubiquitous city-wide fiber,” Mark says, “many additional uses will be developed.” In fact, 5G depends on a fiber connection back to a central point in the city. Fiber will be necessary anywhere there’s a 5G node so that it will work seamlessly.

5G fiber optic network connectivityFiber will also level the playing field in that with one shared infrastructure, users have more choice. It will also keep pricing consistent and fair. A large ISP might be able to offer a reduced rate, which would be an inequitable advantage over a smaller ISP. In turn, costs to consumers are fairer and more people can have access.

Listen to the Episode for More Insights

Jack calls the need for bandwidth insatiable — even pre-Covid. But, inarguably, the pandemic has altered usage dramatically. How will fiber change the game, meet the new level of need and support digital technology — both today’s and tomorrow’s? Listen to the full Data Center Tech Bytes episode to find out.

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