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: