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GPON (Gigabit-Capable PON) technology is based on ITU-TG.984.x standard integrated the latest generation of broadband passive optical access standard, high-bandwidth, high efficiency, large coverage, rich user interface and many other advantages, by large most operators as to achieve broadband access network business, comprehensive transformation of the ideal technology. Organized by the FSAN GPON first presented in September 2002, ITU-T on this basis, in March 2003 completed the ITU-T G.984.1 and G.984.2 development, in February 2004 and was completed in June G. 984.3 standardization. And ultimately the formation of a family of GPON standard.
independent telco Mahaska communication Group trumps incumbent by Going Gpon An Iowa-based lighting firm built broadband for itself, then the community By Frank Hansen ■ Mahaska Communications Group M usco Lighting Corp. didn’t high-speed Internet services. decided to offer a complete range of set out to create a local But that wasn’t the end of the voice, data, and video services to lo- service provider. The com- story. Once its own service was cal businesses and residents. pany is a leader in developing in- up and running, Musco Lighting Because we were new to com- novative sports-lighting technology, quickly realized that everyone else in munications, we didn’t have a good including solutions for permanent town faced the same problems it had, understanding of how to supply tele- and temporary lighting and sports and that Oskaloosa as a whole paid a phone, TV, and data services. We facility management. The firm is steep price for poor service. The in- knew we needed partners to expand headquartered in Oskaloosa, Iowa, cumbent telco and ISP realized $6 to into the community, and over the but operates around the world, with 8 million in revenues per year from years we’ve worked with a number offices in Australia, Canada, China, the town’s businesses and residents, of product vendors and service pro- Greece, Korea, and the U.K. Among but reinvested none of it in the com- viders to create our network. With its customers are NASCAR, the munity and had few local employ- their help, we’re now able to offer a NBA, major league baseball, the England and Wales Cricket Board, and major television networks. Once its own service was up and running, The firm may be world class, Musco Lighting quickly realized that everyone but back in 1999 the communica- tions services available to it definitely else in town faced the same problems it had, were not. Service was expensive and and that Oskaloosa as a whole paid a steep unreliable, and the incumbent telco showed no interest in upgrading its price for poor service. offerings or its deteriorating copper plant, which was 40 years old and in- ees. Musco Lighting thus decided to complete range of communications cluded wire wrapped in paper. form the Mahaska Communication services to every home in Oskaloosa Unable to find any alternatives, Group (MCG) to offer services to and have also moved into neighbor- Musco Lighting decided to make its businesses, local government offices, ing communities. own arrangement with Iowa Net- and local colleges. MCG decided that a Fiber to the work Services (INS), which teams Initially, MCG hooked up a doz- Premises (FTTP) network was the up with independent telcos in Iowa en business and municipal customers best way to go. The company started to provide access to fiber optic tech- to its own point-to-point network to its fiber build-out in Oskaloosa in nology to about 330 communities. offer data service; it offered no lo- 2003 and completed it in October The arrangement allowed the cal telephone or video. After several 2005; today, we are building out to company to create its own point- years in operation, however, MCG some of the denser communities out- to-point fiber network and develop was ready to expand, and in 2003 it side of the town. In all communities, 74 | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | www.broadbandproper ties.com | SEPTEMBER 2006 independent telco 200 Calix 400-Series ONTs. In addition, MCG has expanded its network to Indianola, a commu- nity about 50 miles away, where we have installed a dedicated FTTP platform, the GPON-based Calix F5 purpose-built GPON FTTP system, to backhaul services from MCG in Oskaloosa to the town. The Calix F5 is hardened and can be placed in a remote cabinet for servicing a com- munity miles away from the central office. We’ve been very pleased with the Calix products. The ONTs are very simple to install – it only takes about half an hour, reliability is excellent, and Calix’s support is really, really good. Brett Paulsen (seated), Outside Plant Manager, locating fiber routes When there’s a problem, Calix solves with Patrick Robinson, GIS Coordinator. it, even if the problem isn’t theirs. The company doesn’t finger-point; MCG has built fiber out to neigh- borhoods, where it passes homes and businesses. As subscribers sign on for service, MCG extends the network to their premises. Calix Role MCG’s partnership with Calix to supply FTTP technology enabled the company to start building the net- work we envisioned. Initially MCG installed the BPON-based Calix 400 System; it now installs the newer GPON-based Calix 500 System. The Calix 500-Series ONT for residential use enables subscribers to receive up to 40 Mbps symmetrical MCG’s team of installers. service for data, VoIP or TDM voice, and IPTV or RF video. The busi- ness/multi-tenant version provides MCG has expanded its network to Indianola, additional expansion ports to tailor a community about 50 miles away, where it services to business or multi-tenant applications as well as expansion has installed a dedicated FTTP platform, the ports for delivering additional POTS GPON-based Calix F5 purpose-built GPON (plain-old telephone service) and T1. To date, MCG has installed about FTTP system, to backhaul services from MCG 1,900 Calix 500-Series and about in Oskaloosa to the town. SEPTEMBER 2006 | www.broadbandproper ties.com | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | 75 independent telco it’s willing to step in and get the job done. It recognizes that our success Mahaska Communication Group Suppliers is its success. Calix, FTTP network technology www.calix.com Local Installers In addition to installing ONTs, in- Extreme Networks, video router www.extremenetworks.com stallers must also wire homes with Category 5 cable, which is required Iowa Network Services (INS), video content aggregator www.iowanetworkservices.com for the set-top boxes used to receive services such as IPTV. Wiring takes Mutual Telephone Co. (Mutel), telephone switching www.mutel.com about four hours and is the most time-consuming part of bringing a Myrio, video middleware (backhauls Internet traffic from router to NetINS via a gigabit customer onto the MCG network. Ethernet connection) www.myrio.com Initially MCG looked into contract- ing out wiring but we decided to hire Postini, spam filtering www.postini.com our own installers after being quoted a rate of $90-100 per hour for a team Zone Telecom, wholesale long-distance service www.zoneld.com of two installers. We can send out a team for half that amount, so we’re saving money. Using local installers has also programming to Iowa telcos. ter employees by benefiting the en- given us a good reputation. We felt Because MCG does not have a tire community and beyond. contractors did not have the incen- video head-end, INS delivers video Local businesses are saving an tive we did to always be courteous to content to MCG via a fiber connec- average of 39 percent compared to our customers and take care of their tion. All MCG needs on site is a rout- what they were previously paying homes as if they were our own. er from Extreme Networks to handle for service, and improved Internet Our installers are working with data and video, plus video middleware service has helped them grow by their neighbors, which makes for better from Myrio. MCG backhauls Inter- gaining business from outside the relationships. They’re polite, and they net traffic from its router to NetINS community. Residents receive so- clean up before they leave the home. via a gigabit Ethernet connection. phisticated services such as IPTV As a result, we’ve received numerous The relationships with INS and and broadband Internet access at an calls complimenting their courtesy. Mutel were a real benefit to us early economical price. Plus, our eight installation vans are on. We didn’t have to learn about the Economic development is the nicely painted and have our logo on video business, and we didn’t have to reason we got into this business in them, so they’re a good marketing make a large capital investment for a the first place. Our goal was not tool. If we had contracted with an in- video head-end and a Class 5 phone revenues – Musco Lighting benefits stallation contractor, its trucks – and switch. We were able to rely on the in a lot of ways other than mon- its name – would be on the road. expertise of our partners. etary – but our philosophy gives us a very large advantage in competing MCG Partnerships Network Benefits with the ILECs. We tell people they As a local provider, MCG relies heav- the Community shouldn’t be afraid to jump into this ily on partners to deliver services to its By creating its own fiber network, business. We employ 45 people who customers; for example, Mutual Tele- Musco Lighting benefited by gain- didn’t have any expertise in telecom- phone Co. (Mutel) of Morningsun, ing access to more reliable, higher munications before they joined us, Iowa, provides all telephone switch- quality services at a more affordable yet we’ve been very successful. BBP ing. Wholesaler Zone Telecom pro- rate. By creating MCG and an en- vides long-distance service. Postini tire FTTP system, Musco Lighting About the Author provides spam filtering. MCG also benefited by more than just revenue. Frank Hansen is the General Manager works directly with video content ag- The availability of a high-quality, of Mahaska Communications Group. gregator INS, which contracts with high-speed communications service Frank can be reached via email at content owners and delivers video has helped the company attract bet- email@example.com. 76 | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | www.broadbandproper ties.com | SEPTEMBER 2006
"Mahaska communication Group trumps incumbent by Going Gpon"