Rural Telecom Networks: Opportunities & Challenges

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According to the Federal Communications Commission, about 10 percent of Americans (a little more than 30 million people) do not have access to the internet. Most of those people live in rural areas – areas where the larger telecoms have little financial interest in building out the necessary broadband infrastructure.

While the economics of bringing high speed broadband to sparsely-populated regions holds little appeal to the LECs, smaller technology companies are jumping in to fill the gaps and reap some of the (albeit smaller) profits.

Financial incentives for these companies are coming from a wide variety of sources. In some cases, there are healthy government grants and incentives available to telecoms willing to fill in the last mile; in other cases, small municipalities are funding their own private fiber nets. In some cases, spec housing developments that are too far from the grid are shouldering the costs in order to make their properties more attractive to potential buyers. Whatever the means by which they’re being funded, these alternative networks are growing fast.

From what we’ve seen, in an effort to reduce costs and maximize efficiencies, many of the smaller service providers are beginning to standardize their networks around a fixed set of hardware devices and networking equipment. For example, the Adtran Total Access 5000 has become the standard bearer for FTTH solutions in smaller residential markets – rural areas, areas left behind by the LECs, and so on. Other hardware and network solutions that the smaller carriers seem to be rallying around are the Cisco ONS 15454 and Calix Networks E7 and E7-2 products.

So how does UAF fit into all of this you might ask? First, we support fiber rollout for all network types in all locations by supplying thermal management solutions to OEMs like Adtran, Cisco, Juniper and Calix. However, rural networks in particular pose unique challenges that UAF is uniquely positioned to address. In short, rural networks get dirty. Rural POPs are typically located in remote locations – locations that often lack proper ventilation, adequate HVAC and are otherwise more exposed to contaminants. Because of our close relationships over the years with the OEMs (from management to field technicians), we believe our air filters are uniquely crafted to handle the kinds of challenging conditions encountered by network providers operating at the edge.

    If you’re interested in learning more about why you should be using UAF filters, please contact us for more information.  
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