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A lit fiber network refers to a fiber optic infrastructure that is already equipped with the necessary electronics to transmit data, making it “lit” as opposed to dark fiber, which is unlit and inactive. In a lit fiber network, data travels over optical fiber cables that are illuminated by light signals generated by the installed equipment. This type of network is ready for immediate use by service providers to deliver internet, television, phone services, and more to end-users.

Lit Open Access Models

There are two primary models for lit fiber networks in the context of open access: Single Provider and True Open Access (Multiple Providers).

Lit Open Access – Single Provider

In the Single Provider Lit Open Access model, the community builds and owns the entire fiber network, including all the necessary electronics that extend to the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) in customers’ homes. The community may operate or lease the network to a neutral operations company. Service providers then resell services on a wholesale basis, maintaining equal terms for all. Customers can choose between providers but can only use one provider at a time.

Pros of Single Provider Lit Open Access
  • Low Entry Barrier: With the community covering the fiber and electronics investment, service providers can easily start selling services, shifting their focus from capital expenditures (CAPEX) to operational expenditures (OPEX).
  • Inclusive Service: Minimal investment for providers means even economically weaker areas can be serviced.
  • Competition and Choice: Reduced monopolistic tendencies since customers can switch providers if dissatisfied, leading to lower prices, better service quality, and a wider assortment of services.
  • Enhanced Take-Rates: Improved prices and quality increase customer adoption rates, boosting both revenue and network utilization.
  • Smart City Integration: The city can seamlessly deploy smart city services and manage which providers deliver these services.
  • Efficient Hardware Use: Electronics are installed based on demand, avoiding underutilized hardware.
Cons of Single Provider Lit Open Access
  • High Initial Investment: Significant upfront costs for the community, although partnering with a neutral operator can mitigate this.
  • Operational Demands: The community needs to develop and manage an operations organization.
  • Limited Provider Freedom: Customers can switch providers but cannot simultaneously mix services from multiple providers, limiting flexibility.

True Open Access (Lit Open Access – Multiple Providers)

In the True Open Access model, the community builds the fiber network and installs all necessary electronics, but customers can choose services from multiple providers simultaneously. This model offers maximum consumer choice, allowing users to customize their service bundles from various providers to best meet their needs.

Pros of True Open Access
  • Low Entry Barrier: Similar to the single provider model, service providers face minimal hurdles to start offering services.
  • Inclusive Service: Providers can serve even less profitable areas due to low investment barriers.
  • Full Consumer Choice: Eliminates monopolistic issues as customers can choose freely from a wide array of services and providers.
  • Broad Service Assortment: Encourages a diverse range of services, including those from non-traditional providers, enhancing the overall service offering.
  • Increased Adoption Rates: Competitive pricing, higher service quality, and extensive choices drive higher customer take rates, increasing revenue and network benefits.
  • Smart City Integration: The city can manage smart city services effectively and invite various IoT and smart city service providers to the network.
  • Efficient Hardware Use: Hardware installations are demand-driven, avoiding underused equipment.
Cons of True Open Access
  • High Initial Investment: The community faces substantial upfront costs for building and equipping the network, although partnering with a neutral operator can reduce this burden.
  • Operational Demands: Requires the community to establish and manage an operations organization.

How COS Business Engine Supports Lit Fiber Networks

Our COS Business Engine software enables communities to manage their lit fiber infrastructure efficiently. By providing a platform for leasing and managing access to lit fiber, it ensures that private providers can easily utilize this infrastructure to deliver high-quality services to end-users.

Learn More About Lit Fiber Networks

To explore the concept of lit fiber networks and their benefits for your community, check out our resources:

 

Dark Fiber Middle Mile refers to the segment of fiber optic infrastructure that extends from the main backbone network into local neighborhoods and communities but stops short of the final connection to individual homes or businesses. This unused, unlit fiber provides a crucial link between major data highways (the backbone) and the final distribution networks (the last mile), allowing private service providers to lease this infrastructure and extend their services.

Dark Fiber in Network Infrastructure

In network terminology, there are three main segments:

  1. Backbone: Comparable to highways, these are major routes connecting cities and regions.
  2. Middle Mile: These routes distribute data within a specific area, like city streets.
  3. Last Mile (or Drop): These driveways connect individual homes to the network.

Dark Fiber Middle Mile Open Access Model

In the Dark Fiber Middle Mile Open Access model, a community builds the fiber infrastructure in the streets (middle mile). It allows private providers to bring the necessary electronics to light up services and build the drops to individual homes and businesses. This model facilitates widespread access to high-speed internet and other services by leveraging existing dark fiber infrastructure.

Pros of Dark Fiber Middle Mile Open Access
  • Encourages Private Investment: With most of the infrastructure investment already made, private providers are more likely to invest in the community.
  • Inclusive Connectivity: By having fiber available in all streets, even economically weaker areas can potentially be connected.
  • Simplified Operations: No need for the community to have knowledge in network operations or invest in electronic equipment.
Cons of Dark Fiber Middle Mile Open Access
  • Selective Provider Investment: Providers may focus on areas with stronger economies to maximize profits, potentially neglecting less profitable areas.
  • Dependency on Providers: The community needs to reach agreements with private providers for using their infrastructure to deliver community services, which may not reach all residents.
  • Limited Customer Choice: High initial investment by the first provider in last-mile infrastructure can deter new entrants, potentially leading to monopolistic issues such as high prices and low service quality.

The Road System Analogy

To better understand the Dark Fiber Middle Mile model, consider the following analogy:

  • The backbone is like the highways connecting cities, ensuring regional connectivity.
  • The middle mile can be compared to the smaller streets in a city, where traffic is distributed.
  • The last mile is like the driveways at homes, connecting individual residences to the larger network.

Without the backbone, a city cannot effectively connect to the global network; without the middle mile, houses have nothing to connect to. In the Dark Fiber model, the community invests in the backbone and middle mile, enabling private providers to build out the last mile as needed.

How COS Business Engine Supports Dark Fiber Middle Mile

Our COS Business Engine software enables communities to efficiently manage their dark fiber infrastructure. By providing a BSS/OSS platform for leasing and managing access to dark fiber, it ensures that private providers can easily utilize this infrastructure to deliver high-quality services to their end-users.

Learn More About Dark Fiber Middle Mile

To explore the concept of dark fiber and its benefits for your community, check out our resources:

 

Dark Fiber refers to unused fiber optic cables that have been laid but are inactive. These cables are termed “dark” because they are not “lit” by the equipment needed to transmit data. Communities and organizations often invest in dark fiber as a long-term infrastructure strategy, anticipating future needs for increased bandwidth.

Dark Fiber in Network Infrastructure

In network terminology, there are three main segments:

  1. Backbone: Comparable to highways, these are major routes connecting cities and regions.
  2. Middle Mile: These routes distribute data within a specific area, like city streets.
  3. Last Mile (or Drop): These driveways connect individual homes to the network.

Dark Fiber Backbone Open Access Model

In the Dark Fiber Backbone Open Access model, a community invests in the passive infrastructure layer—primarily the backbone—and allows private service providers to lease access. This model ensures that the community has the necessary infrastructure to attract private investment without needing to manage the active network components.

Pros of Dark Fiber Backbone Open Access
  • Cost Efficiency: Minimal investment is required to improve broadband quality.
  • Simplified Operations: No need for network operations knowledge or electronic equipment investment.
  • Private Investment Encouragement: Potentially reduces costs enough to attract private providers to invest in the community.
Cons of Dark Fiber Backbone Open Access
  • Uncertain Provider Commitment: No guarantee that providers will build out the network.
  • Selective Coverage: Providers may only invest in profitable areas, leaving some residents without service.
  • Dependence on Providers: Community services may not reach all residents without agreements with private providers.
  • Limited Customer Choice: High initial investment by the first provider creates a barrier to new entrants, leading to potential monopolistic issues such as high prices and low service quality.

The Road System Analogy

To better understand the Dark Fiber model, consider the following analogy:

  • The backbone is like the highways connecting cities, ensuring regional connectivity.
  • The middle mile is akin to the smaller streets within a city, distributing traffic.
  • The last mile is like the driveways at homes, connecting individual residences to the larger network.

Without the backbone, a city cannot effectively connect to the global network, and without the middle mile, houses have nothing to connect to. In the Dark Fiber model, the community invests in the backbone, enabling private providers to build out the middle and last mile as needed.

How COS Business Engine Supports Dark Fiber Open Access

Our COS Business Engine software enables communities to manage their dark fiber infrastructure efficiently. By providing a platform for leasing and managing access to dark fiber, it ensures that private providers can easily utilize this infrastructure to deliver high-quality services to end-users.

Learn More About Dark Fiber

To explore the concept of dark fiber and its benefits for your community, check out our resources: