In the Telecommunications Infrastructure Industry the Last-Mile deployment is the cabling that will link the Service Provider to the Customer. Services Providers typically provide pathway for broadband transmission from their Central Office to a Node located near the entrance of a residential or commercial neighborhood. The Service Provider then may or may not provide pathway utilizing copper, coax, fiber or wireless technologies for the “Last-Mile” to the end customer. Last Mile distances may actually range from 50-10,000 feet.
Changes in Franchising Laws across the nation and new technologies available have provided a situation where Service Providers may offer “Triple Play” Services. Triple Play services mean a provider is no longer limited to just Voice/Data (Internet Access) or Data/Video (including HDTV), but can now offer all three services in one package. In addition to our familiar Telephone and Cable TV companies, Service Providers may now be a power utility company, a municipal government, a Home-Owners association, or some other non-typical provider. The lure of profitability to offer Triple-Play (Voice, Data, and Video) Services in one package has created an environment for innovative methods to be explored to find a viable cost-effective solution. The Last-Mile quandary is finding a pathway that is able to provide the bandwidth demands of the customer while meeting municipal right of way requirements and keeping costs low enough that they can be recouped within a few years.
In order to provide the bandwidth demands of customers the “backbone” pathway to the node needs to be deployed over fiber cables as a primary solution or coax cabling as a secondary solution. The networks most of us use at home and at work employ twisted copper pairs for access to Voice, Internet and private data services. The root cause of the last-mile quandary is that the access network does not lend itself to the technical solutions that have made bandwidth affordable at the network core or customer premises.
Broadband Access to every enterprise establishment and residence is the goal of the Service Providers and the desires of local, state & federal governments. Networks at the customer premises, whether residential or commercial, are owned and operated by the customer or his agent. The customer simply constructs the network according to preferences and easily observed building codes. Political barriers are manageable for long-haul network operators that provide backbone networks to the node, since very little construction is required to serve thousands of customers, and the project's revenue potential greatly outweighs the costs of acquiring and permitting rights-of-way.
Neither of these conditions exists in the last mile. Pathway access is usually across public land and may be must be highly invasive. Fiber trenching involves securing permits (not always granted), substantial construction costs and indirect costs including disruption of traffic and surface restoration to the satisfaction of government and property owners. Overhead Cabling is less costly and more quickly deployed, however it is unsightly, trouble prone and prohibited in many communities. Wireless system solutions are limited by restrictions on tower construction, line-of-site access, and general lack of bandwidth spectrum for video access. However federal releases and reassignments of bandwidth combined with new technologies and are finding solutions to the wireless spectrum challenge. The advent of IEEE 802.16a (WiMax) standard for wireless metropolitan-area networks is likely to accelerate adoption of wireless, last-mile broadband access over the frequency bands below 11 GHz to connect homes, businesses and wireless LAN hot spots.
Since we have over 35 years experience in all aspects of copper, coax, fiber and wireless deployment and integration between the various disciplines, we have the ability of find creative solutions to meet the needs of “Last Mile” design and installation. We have long term established associations with manufacturers, engineers and distributors that offer many different solutions for the “Last Mile” Integration. We offer Vendor Neutral cost analysis and design/build to meet the needs of any size of customer base.