Tuesday, 11 May 2021

New markets, old copper: IMMCO’s CEO talks modernising the network

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 16 April 21

We caught up with IMMCO’s CEO Keith Hayes to discuss the company’s first forays into Europe and his thoughts on how 5G is changing the telecoms industry

In today’s world, data usage is increasing at a staggering pace, with operators hurrying to deploy fibre networks to meet the surging demand. But fibre is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each market brings with it a unique set of requirements, from difficult geographies to nuanced legislation, with the correct choice of equipment paramount to a successful and profitable network.   In the past two years, the US-based tech, engineering and design specialist IMMCO has been experiencing great success in their expansion into the European market, designing fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in Ireland and the UK for a Tier 1 operator…

In today’s world, data usage is increasing at a staggering pace, with operators hurrying to deploy fibre networks to meet the surging demand. But fibre is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each market brings with it a unique set of requirements, from difficult geographies to nuanced legislation, with the correct choice of equipment paramount to a successful and profitable network.
 
In the past two years, the US-based tech, engineering and design specialist IMMCO has been experiencing great success in their expansion into the European market, designing fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in Ireland and the UK for a Tier 1 operator, as well as providing a 1.2 GHz hybrid fibre coax design.
 
The key, according to CEO Keith Hayes, is to be confident in the strengths of your technological offerings and being ready to be flexible when presented with new demands.
 
“Telecoms networks all operate under the same laws of physics, which our team and tools are well versed in,” explained Hayes. “So, we just need to adjust for the specific requirements of any particular network operator.”
 

 

 
Part of the solution here is constant innovation in the face of shifting demand. As our lives become increasingly digital, especially following the coronavirus pandemic, the pressures on operators’ networks continues to increase exponentially. New solutions will be required to conquer this changing environment, especially as legacy cables are replaced with fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP). 
 
“I think the biggest challenge for the telcos is their legacy twisted pair copper networks,” said Hayes. “In most circumstances, those don’t support connectivity speeds more than a few megabits per second and they’re very expensive to replace with fibre. Even when that expense is borne, there’s little to no additional revenue coming from the home, which is driving significant losses in broadband market share for the telcos.”
 
In this regard, IMMCO has recently added capabilities to build efficient networks where twisted pair copper is being replaced with FTTP, as well as adding service capabilities to prepare municipal right of way permit exhibits and traffic control plans.
 
“Our flagship software field tool, Intelligent Broadband Information Systems and Solutions (also known as iBISS), has had new features added to support special requirements in areas such as historical districts, water boundaries, tribal lands, and environmentally sensitive areas,” explained Hayes.
 
Of course, one of the biggest driving forces for change in the telecoms industry right now is 5G. While the next generation of mobile technology has the capacity to unlock numerous exciting possibilities for operators, from virtual reality to smart cities, it is important to remember that its success will be underpinned by by robust fibre networks. 
 
Hayes himself has a wealth of experience in the small cell space from his time as a consultant, as well as his time as chairman of the Society of Cable and Telecom Engineers (SCTE), where he focussed on the need for wireless networks to be supported by fixed networks.
 
“Upon joining IMMCO, I worked with the team to quickly add tools and services to support that space,” he explained. “For example, designing services for strand mounted small cells with their power and connectivity supplied by the hybrid fibre coax network.”
 
“There are going to be tens of millions of small cell sites built across the planet over the next decade and IMMCO is well positioned to support operators as they expand and densify their mobile networks.”
 
Operators laying fibre today must not only consider the requirements of the present, but also of the future, if they are going to succeed. Hayes argued that these companies should be looking to deploy fibre beyond the minimum requirements in anticipation of the industry’s booming future demand.
 
“I would encourage the telcos to follow the US cable model of what we call FTWYMM – fibre to where you can make money! Make incremental extensions of fibre past where you would normally cut it off on the homes-per-mile basis, making provisions for future business opportunities like small cell connectivity.”
 
 
You can watch the full interview with Keith Hayes from the link above.
 
Fibre is not always the answer. At this year’s Gigabit Access event, you can hear Keith Hayes in discussion with a panel of experts to discuss the merits of 5G Fixed Wireless Access 

More information about IMMCO can be found at immcoinc.com
 
 
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