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Fiber to the Meter

4:45 PM -- One of the more interesting fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) announcements made in recent weeks came on Monday, when World Wide Packets Inc. announced that it is going to be deployed in Clarksville, Tenn., as part of a quad-play service initiative put forth by the Clarksville Department of Electricity (CDE). (See WWP Deployed in TN.)

Quad play?

Sure, but it's not what you think. The power company isn't going to be offering wireless services anytime soon.

As a matter of fact, the fourth service is the one from which the utility company derives its name, and it's the other three services -- voice, data, and video -- that are add-ons.

What makes the Clarksville deployment so unique is that the electric company decided it could justify the cost of running fiber to 50,000 homes in the municipality on the opex savings that it would generate by being able to remotely monitor the electricity for the town.

According to Stephen Hopkins, VP of communications at CDE, by deploying fiber to every meter, the utility can take electricity readings remotely -- up to every fifteen minutes -- without the cost of a truck roll.

It can also be proactive about customer service by monitoring the electricity that is reaching each house and deploying service trucks when necessary, without customers having to call to report that their power is out.

The CDE estimates that this will reduce overall truck rolls by 90 to 95 percent, and cut down a significant portion of operating expense as a result.

But while the utility was at it, it said, "We have the fiber -- why not offer other services on top of it?"

As a result, CDE will begin offering voice over IP (VOIP), high-speed Internet, and IPTV over fiber beginning next week.

And while the extra revenue that can be generated from these services will be nice, Hopkins says it's not essential. "We have 100 percent penetration. The take rate [on IPTV] is not important for us, because we will be at every meter in Clarksville."

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 2:59:09 PM
re: Fiber to the Meter I wonder if the really big power companies will notice this (and drop all this BPL nonsense).

They have access to the house, even into the house, and they have a way to pay for it (in cost savings).

If PG&E or the various Edison's try this out then we'll see some really interesting competition.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 2:59:08 PM
re: Fiber to the Meter I wonder if the really big power companies will notice this (and drop all this BPL nonsense).

Maybe check with Seaport Capital and see how the Everest buy is going. Aquila (ILA) divested them about 18 months back (as a non strategic asset). Sprint sure would have had an interest in having their neighborhood served by a new entrant. It looks like that part didn't work out.

Read the following for some lessons learned the hard way:

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiaho...

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