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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Virginia: Manassas Utilities uses FTTH products for BPL backhaul

In Virginia, Manassas Utilities is using AFL Telecommunications' EPON (Ethernet passive optical network) products for optical backhaul of broadband traffic from the nodes in the system where BPL (broadband over power line) traffic is injected on to medium voltage power lines.

BPL deployments should stimulate wider deployment of fiber optic cable by power utilities. There are limits to how many users can simultaneously share a BPL system's bandwidth without excessively slowing access speeds. As more customers sign up for BPL service within a given service area, BPL systems are likely to be broken into ever smaller 'cells', each fed by a fiber optic link back to the utility's servers. Over time, you can expect to see utilities pull fiber ever closer to end-users as their BPL systems become more popular.

AFL's EPON system was originally designed by Fujikura as a FTTH/FTTB (fiber to the home or fiber to the business) product for the Japanese market and is an interesting choice for this use, which is a trunking application rather than a FTTH application. AFL, jointly owned by Alcoa and Fujikura, is in an interesting position to capitalize on BPL since it is a major supplier of specialty fiber optic cables for power utilities such as ADSS (all-dielectric self-supporting), OPGW (optical groundwire) and optical wrap (a special dielectric cable wrapped around a conductor or groundwire by a remote controlled apparatus).


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