Adtran unit targets 'ultra-low-density' broadband markets

Rural broadband
Adtran is leveraging Combo PON technology to allow broadband operators to easily upgrade to multi-gigabit services.

Broadband equipment vendor Adtran today announced its 10G Total Access 5004 (TA5004) Micro-Cabinet, a compact, modular fiber access platform aimed squarely at the “ultra-low-density” deployment environments of rural markets, the company said.

Adtran said the platform is purpose-built to expedite gigabit broadband coverage, lower the cost-per-subscriber and support multi-gigabit service introduction as demand is rising fast in rural communities for better broadband to support agricultural, remote work, remote learning and telehealth applications, among others.

The announcement comes as President Biden was set to outline details of a massive U.S. infrastructure revitalization bill, which includes commitments to “reach 100 percent coverage” of high-speed broadband, while promoting pricing transparency and competition, and looking at ways to reduce the cost of broadband to end users in need. Also, prior to this week, more service providers have launched plans to access newly-available funds from government broadband programs, such as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and the Emergency Broadband Benefits program, among others. For example, Windstream’s Kinetic unit earlier this month announced its plans to leverage both RDOF and EBB for its ongoing rural broadband expansion.

“Tens of billions of dollars in funding in the form of RDOF, Rural Reconnect and private equity funds have been made available to expand rural gigabit coverage,” said Jeff Heynen, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group, in a statement included in Adtran’s press release announcing the TA5004. “A comprehensive portfolio of broadband solutions is critical in helping any service provider achieve international broadband goals, regardless of network architecture, OSS/IT framework or choice of PON technology. Furthermore, flexible, low-density FTTH solutions will ensure that service providers in the most remote and underserved communities can quickly and cost-effectively rollout gigabit services.”

The company’s press release said the product leverages its Combo PON technology, which combines GPON and XGS-PON transceivers into a single pluggable offering, enabling service providers to more easily upgrade to multi-gigabit services as the need arises. 

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"With our innovative Combo PON technology (which is built into the Micro Cabinet), service providers can start with residential gigabit and seamlessly add capacity to deliver multi-gigabit services at the turn of a dial," Adtran said in an email to FierceTelecom. "This allows service providers to deliver a mix of service offerings based on the market, customer mix and demographics."

The TA5004 Micro-Cabinet also is small and light enough that it can be pole-mounted or wall-mounted, and comes with integrated cooling and remote powering options to accelerate deployment. In addition, the platform’s software allows operators to extend service out to 60 kilometers to fully serve users in very widespread, low-density areas. 

Robert Conger, Senior Vice President, Technology and Strategy at ADTRAN, said in the company’s statement that while low population areas present cost and deployment challenges for broadband operators, “The data is overwhelming in terms of the value that enhanced broadband brings to communities, homes, businesses and people, and low-density, remote fiber access platforms help our customers reach everyone, everywhere.”