RG Fiber to outfit Baker University with fiber

Baldwin City, Kan.-based RG Fiber plans to deploy fiber to Baker University, its first commercial customer, in early August.

The company is making fiber-to-the-premises a cost-effective alternative for small towns by using the network design skills of sister company Reflective Group to reduce the time spent planning and deploying the network.

In an interview with FierceInstaller, RG Fiber CEO Mike Bosch said that by using software developed by Reflective Group, the company not only saves time deploying the network but also saves on labor and materials.

Another key, Bosch said, is the company's ability to reduce the physical size and total expense of the fiber huts. A typical deployer of FTTP puts a wide variety of items in such huts, including an optical line terminal for transmitting signals over fiber, a UPS (uninterrupted power supply), a back-up generator and an HVAC system (heating, ventilating and air conditioning). Fully outfitting such a hut typically costs at least $750,000, Bosch said, and they typically serve far more homes than necessary in small Kansas towns.

RG Fiber, however, deploys a scaled-down version of such a hut that includes items such as a Calix GigaCenter chassis that has "grow as you go" capabilities. Unlike a traditional optical network terminal, the fiber is run directly into the home, terminating at the GigaCenter. From the GigaCenter, Wi-Fi or Ethernet cabling may be used to distribute the signal. Bosch indicated that RG Fiber plans to have two installers at each deployment, with one focused on connecting the GigaCenter to a customer's devices and the other focused on issues outside the home.

The company is also reducing expenses by deploying GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Networking), which includes optical splitters that do not require a power source. According to Bosch, GPON is less expensive than active Ethernet to deploy, although GPON bandwidth is generally shared. However, Bosch described RG Fiber's deployment as a "hybrid," because the network is deployed in such a way that unshared active Ethernet could easily be deployed to large business customers.

Having connected the university, RG Fiber will look to connect other businesses, government entities and homes in Baldwin City. This fall, RG Fiber will also be offering services in Eudora, Kan., and it plans to expand to Lawrence, Kan., in 2016.  

For more:
- see this article about FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai's visit to Baldwin City
- see this statement by Commissioner Pai about FTTP efforts in rural America
- see this article about the recent details of RG Fiber's deployment in Baldwin City, Kan.

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