Small Fix – Big Success for Rural Carriers
Enterprises are always seeking to cut costs and optimize resource utilization. In today’s fast changing environment, the need is more compelling than ever. Distributed antenna systems (DAS) are one tool carriers have looked at in attempt to deepen their coverage without breaking the bank.
DAS is a shared-infrastructure for expanding a wireless network footprint by adding coverage in hard to reach areas. The results of DAS can be incredible; increased quality without the capital investment to build your own network system or manage additional infrastructure.
Miles of telecommunications fiber have been installed nationwide the last few years, much by rural telecommunication companies servicing their areas. While in many situations, a fiber deployment is viewed as competition for a wireless play, a rural telecom’s fiber assets can actually be a complement to its wireless network.
Here are two examples:
- Backhaul – the ability of a company to move minutes and megabytes over existing infrastructure, essentially paying themselves, can augment a rural Telco’s wireless business model tremendously.
- Distributed Antennae System (DAS) – allows an existing base station to feed additional antennae’s which can be located many kilometers away.
Developing cost effective DAS networks can improve signal strength, network capacity and coverage across rural areas.
DAS solutions provide pinpoint coverage and capacity solutions for rural carriers. One example of a successful DAS solution we worked on involved a cooperative in rural Minnesota that had an extensive fiber layout across its service area. A comprehensive road re-construction project was in place that would have decommissioned both internet and wireline phone service for several weeks along a 1 mile stretch. Obviously, customers’ service would have been affected during this time period.
The roadway was not yet covered by the telco’s existing 3G wireless coverage. The build-out for this area was months away. NewCore Wireless worked with the telco to develop a DAS, placing antennae assets on a telephone pole connected via fiber to an existing 3G node B in operation over 6 miles away. This allowed voice and data to be functional to the subscribers along the affected roadway using a modem capable of internet and voice. The homes were able to keep dial tone and internet, wirelessly, for the 3 weeks it took for the road project to be completed. A separate site or tower was not needed to be constructed and the temporary site was erected and connected to the fiber network in less than one day without a tower crew needed.
It was a win-win situation for all.
Yet another great example of a successful DAS solution we worked on involved a rural telecommunications company in Nebraska servicing a less populated area on the edge of its territory. This system is currently utilizing an existing tower asset and fiber facilities that are connected to the tower, extending 3G voice and data coverage to road miles and a minimal population base, without the capital and operating costs of an additional base station. Yes, future capacity needs and population growth may warrant a node b installed on site, but at present the distributed antenna is hosted by a 3G site that is 18 kilometers away.
This marks yet another great example of utilizing wireless to find and keep a subscriber base in an area where, due to the population, it may not be the most economical to employ FTTH.
Many rural telephone companies have existing assets that can be utilized in unique ways to leverage the success of its wireless operation. DAS is a great way for telcos to provide increased speed to market for rural wireless play; at the same time, reduce capital and operating costs.
The demand for DAS is growing. And by partnering with a wireless technology company, telcos do have options. By streamlining the complete process, they can decrease overall costs while improving network reliability.
Roger Schmitz, Controller, NewCore Wireless
Roger Schmitz is an experienced financial professional with over 17 years of diverse wireless telecommunications industry experience. Before joining NewCore Wireless in 2008, Roger held roles that included: audit manager for a CPA firm, controller for a wireless company, and CFO of two entrepreneurial telecommunications companies. Roger is recognized as a trusted, experienced advisor in the wireless industry with strong organizational, analytical and planning skills.