CDE Lightband taps Clearfield for FTTH rollout

MARCH 18, 2008 � "Our active Ethernet solution is different from most fiber solutions like this in the U.S. We're essentially building a gigantic metropolitan area network," reports Steve Hopkins, CDE Lightband's vice president of telecommunications.

MARCH 18, 2008 -- CDE Lightband, formerly the Clarksville Department of Electricity in Clarksville, TN, has selected Clearfield Inc. (search for Clearfield) to provide the fiber management platform for one of the largest FTTH (search for FTTH) initiatives in the country.

CDE Lightband's FTTH network is deploying 860 miles of fiber to deliver voice, video, and data communication services to the more than 54,000 electric customers in the 96,000-square-mile service territory in northwest Tennessee. According to CDE Lightband's vice president of telecommunications Steve Hopkins, the $28-million initiative was launched a year ago and is slated for completion in April 2009. Clearfield, one of a team of vendors currently supplying product and services on the project, is currently fulfilling its initial order totaling nearly $1 million.

Through its design-build contractor Atlantic Engineering, CDE Lightband selected Clearfield's FieldSmart Fiber Distribution System (FDS), which provides modular construction for scalable capacity in the central office. The FieldSmart FDS is ideal for broadband and enterprise connectivity applications, scaling from a 1-RU panel supporting 24 ports to what the company claims is the industry's densest frame solution--288 ports in 11 inches, delivering a complete frame of 1,728 ports of either on or off-frame splicing.

"Clearfield's splice and patch solution was very attractive to us," confirms Hopkins. "This was particularly significant from a cost savings standpoint. Our active Ethernet solution is different from most fiber solutions like this in the U.S. We're essentially building a gigantic metropolitan area network," he explains. "This fiber system is used to connect to each of our 54,000 customers. So the design is built around providing complete redundancy and a series of rings all throughout the city."

Under the FieldSmart system, CDE Lightband says it will reduce its cost of deployment as users are added using a "Plug & Go" approach--adding 12 ports of fully protected fiber at a time. With Clearfield's Clearview Cassette at its heart, all central office and outside plant installations are built from a single 12-port building block, scaling any environment from as few as 12 to as many as 864 users without cost penalty. Unlike conventional fiber management equipment where radius and physical fiber protection is met through an expensive fixed bulkhead design inside an overall housing, with FieldSmart, every 12-fiber increment is encased in its own module, note Clearfield representatives.

"This project is a result of our president's vision of how to use technology to be a better electric municipal," recalls Hopkins. "The idea grew and--because we were able to stick to the vision--the reality is now within reach. We are happy that Clearfield is a part of this historical project."


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