It’s All in the Network
After months of negotiating with the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, WK&T finally received approval to begin construction the first week of June, 2011. The company selected 2 exchanges in Kentucky and 1 in Tennessee to begin work. The project will have the following features, some which may be unique or certainly not common to other telcos.
WK&T’s FTTH project is underway. Pictured in the field, left to right, are: Tim Merrick, Bob Werling, Sam Stitcher, and Craig Sullivan of WK&T. (Photo by Shelly Miller)
The total route miles are still being calculated, but we expect the final distance to be approximately 2,200 miles, replacing 3,100 miles of copper. WK&T’s service area in Kentucky and Tennessee encompasses 1,250 square miles of rural service. We average approximately 1,000 ft. between subscribers.
The system design is an active, single-fiber-per-home design. This system is future-proof and allows WK&T to continue to expand broadband into the next century as electronics improve. Early on we compared active vs. passive design. For our size and the benefit of future-proofing, we found that active is the best long-term solution.
We will use Corning armored gel-free fiber cable. Cable sizes 144 to 576 will be ribbon fiber while the smaller sizes will be loose tube fiber. We have opted to have a 100% buried plant. Instead of pedestals, we will use round conical-shaped Highline and CDR model handholes. Due to ice storms, wind storms, and pole attachment costs, we will expect the buried plant to be the most economical design for the future.
Drops for the opposite side of the road from the main fiber will be fed from either Corning OptiSheath multiport terminals (MSTs) or OptiTap drops to PLPs state-of-the-art OptiTap splice case inside the handhole. This design takes a normal splice case and includes OptiTap connectors on one end. To our knowledge, we will be the first company to use this design with the smaller 1-4 OptiTap splice cases.
Because we will not remove the legacy copper system upon completion of the fiber build, we decided to use Corning SST single-ended OptiTap drops starting at 150 ft. up to 2,000 ft. in length. This method allows our installers to connect customers at a later date without them having to enter the splice case. Like the main fiber design, the drop fiber is a buried design and toneable. We expect to retire the copper system as quickly as we can based on several factors, but it may take 5 years to get completely off the copper.
We will run the system with Occam/Calix electronics. The house end of the OptiTap drops will be spliced into the Calix ONT by WK&T installation crews. We expect the first customers to have service on their new fiber system this fall.
We will migrate from more than 230 remote locations to a total of 31 plus our existing 22 central offices. We already have ring fiber between remotes and central offices but many of them will be beefed up considerably. We have installed buildings as needed at our remotes to handle our Calix OLT blades and Clearfield racks and panels. All CO/RST locations will have a handhole at the entrance for coiling extra cable. OSP cables will be grounded at the cable entry ground plate inside the splice case.
After much research, we decided to install Corning OSE splice cabinet at each CO/RST location where the cables enter the buildings. The Clearfield 288 SC/APC OSP panels will have MIT cables feeding the splice cabinet from the CO side. All splicing will take place inside the splice cabinet. Between the OLTs and the OSP panels, we will install Clearfield TIE panels. We will use 5m SC/APC patch cords between the TIE and OSP panels.
Sam Stitcher, P.E., is the engineering department supervisor at WK&T. For more information, visit www.wktelecom.coop.
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