Fiber’s Sustainable Advantage – #Fiberconnect2023

Sustainability – whether economic or environmental – is center stage as it relates to broadband deployments, particularly those that receive federal monies. The challenge is to balance the drive to bridge the digital divide while managing the accompanying energy consumption that this entails. At Fiber Connect 2023, OMDIA’s Julie Kunstler led a track on sustainability.

One of the highlights of that track, as heard in the above interview with Kunstler, is the inherent sustainability of fiber as a medium for bringing broadband to the home. Derived from glass, fiber not only presents minimal environmental challenges but also offers a wide range of advantages:

  1. Passive Optical Networking (PON): Most fiber-to-the-home-based broadband employs PON. This technology does not consume energy over its point-to-multipoint design, making it efficient both in terms of fiber and optics.
  2. Reliability: Fiber offers unparalleled reliability and troubleshooting when there is a problem. This reduces the need for physical interventions, such as truck rolls. The preliminary estimate of RVA’s Michael Render is that an FTTH network emits just 35 and 54% of the C02 of DSL and HFC networks, respectively.
  3. Efficiency and Scalability: Kunstler points out that the industry is improving efficiency by taking advantage of multiple wavelengths to transmit more data over the same media. Vendors are also looking at how to make the equipment more space-efficient and lighter (to reduce the impact of shipping). AFL’s Marketing Manager, Joshua Simer, calls this “Sustainability from Gate to Grave.”
  4. Battery Backup Innovations: Kunstler also cites George Concalves’ presentation on hybrid supercapacitors, as promising more efficient and sustainable power backup solutions (stay tuned for an interview with ATX’s Concalves). Finally, one of the biggest contributions FTTH can make to sustainability is that it allows a robust work-from-home experience. Michael Render estimates a net 17.3k grams reduction in C02 in the analysis he presented at Fiber Connect 2023. So, kudos to those of you who are reading this post and watching the above video via a fiber network while working from home.

Interview Highlights

ViodiTV coverage of FBA’s Fiber Connect 2023 courtesy of Calix.

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