After more than two years of remote learning and work, it’s clear that broadband infrastructure is sorely lacking for many—particularly in rural and underserved areas. In fact, less than half of all households around the world have a fixed broadband connection. Behind this number are people and communities that can’t connect to critical educational resources, telehealth appointments, remote work, the digital economy and one another.
High-speed internet access isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Fortunately, a growing initiative to bring fiber-optic broadband to everyone everywhere is occurring in developed and developing countries. Governments and municipalities worldwide are creating programs that offer funding to provide broadband for all residents, no matter where they live. Even with this influx of funding, service providers are having difficulty deploying fiber quickly because of supply and skilled labor challenges.
CommScope’s broadband for everyone initiative aims to encourage expansion of broadband availability through simplified fiber-to-the-x (FTTX) networks. CommScope is supporting service providers in a number of ways, including offering innovative fiber hardened connectivity that accelerates deployments by simplifying material planning, warehousing and field installation.
Prodigy—a smarter, simpler, universal fiber hardened connectivity solution
When service providers adopted hardened connectivity, they accelerated fiber deployments by speeding installation of customer connections. When the industry began using several different hardened connector systems, however, a logistics and planning challenge emerged. Having two—or even three—connector types in a single network adds complexity. Without a standardized system, service providers need to carefully manage material planning, warehouse inventory and distribution. That means ordering and stocking multiple terminal types and the correct mating cable assemblies, while ensuring installers have the correct components on hand when in the field.
Simply put, imagine you own two phones: one with an Android operating system and the other an Apple iOS. As a result, you need a different power cord with each phone. With a standardized solution, you could carry a single cable for both phones.
While working with our customers who use multiple hardened connector systems, we created a simple and efficient solution—Prodigy, the new small-form hardened connector system. Fiber cable assemblies with Prodigy connectors can use available converters that make interoperability with other systems possible. Instead of ordering and stocking multiple fiber cable assemblies with different connector types, service providers can use a single-connector approach. Prodigy eliminates 50-60 percent of SKUs and achieves a smaller warehouse footprint than ever before. Cable assemblies that use Prodigy can be connected to an estimated 80 percent of hardened terminals installed today, and they maintain optical and sealing performance.
Broadband for everyone brings us all together in solving industry’s challenges
CommScope is a proven leader in solving broadband infrastructure challenges. Our commitment to supporting the industry includes making CommScope products intermateable with hardened connectivity products from other vendors. Our vision is to embrace and promote technology that simplifies fiber-to-the-home deployments. Giving service providers the ability to multisource will help build a more resilient supply chain—especially now in the era of material shortages and transportation delays.
What’s next for FTTX networks and hardened connectivity?
During the past three years, consumer and business expectations for reliable, high-speed broadband access have skyrocketed with remote work, digital learning, telehealth and video meetings. FTTX networks are the preferred choice to provide services to meet these demands. FTTX networks will need to be simple, quick to install and efficient to operate. Hardened connectivity is one way to simplify fiber installations and improve efficiency.
Consumers are also demanding that service providers take a more sustainable operating approach. As a result, it’s now common for service providers to have corporate sustainability goals. Martin Creaner, director general of the World Broadband Association, discussed sustainability during his keynote address at the LATAM ICT Congress in Cancun, Mexico, in June.
“The next generation of broadband is going to be emerging between now and 2030, 2035, and sustainability is going to be hugely important,” he said. “We have to ensure the next generation of broadband is delivering against the sustainability goals of the world.”
Connectivity solutions that have a small footprint minimize material usage and improve density. Preferred solutions should reduce SKUs; eliminate single-use plastics; and feature zero-plastic, fully recyclable packaging. QR codes that let field technicians get everything they need electronically can eliminate paper waste that comes from documentation and installation instructions. Service providers should evaluate their connectivity choices with these considerations top of mind.
CommScope’s innovative plug-and-play approaches and technologies will help service providers deploy FTTX networks faster, farther and easier than ever. As broadband networks continue to scale up and roll out, CommScope will continue to innovate—developing solutions, like Prodigy, that will help service providers bring critical high-speed connectivity to all.
To learn more, visit us at booth #7122 at the SCTE® Cable-Tec Expo®, September 19-22, in Philadelphia.