Clearfield and Midco Communications recently collaborated to bring fiber from the base to the top of tall structures such as grain elevators, grain legs and water towers to serve as signal hand-off sites to provide broadband to the communities it serves. Using the Clearfield YOURx Flex Box, Clearview Blue Cassette, FieldShield FLATdrop and fiber cables, Midco expanded the point-to-point wireless backhaul connections in its network.
Midco serves more than 400,000 customers across Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Its service area reaches many rural communities and geographical locations that are exposed to harsh natural environments such as blizzards and high winds. To deliver broadband services, Midco needed a connectivity approach to link places that could not be reached with fiber today and equipment able to withstand the harsh outdoor environments.
By listening to Midco’s needs, including working with components such as radios that were not specifically designed for fiber, Clearfield was able to produce custom, future-proof solutions that enabled Midco to place 24 fibers, nearly double the quantity in a traditional deployment, to the top of existing structures with one cable. To-date, Midco has installed Clearfield’s fiber solutions at fifteen sites with plans to continue deployment at additional sites, offering its subscribers in rural and farming communities 100 Mbps connections and enabling them to benefit from the lifestyle better broadband provides.
Jeremy Billings, GM-Regional Engineering at Midco, said, “We set a goal of getting the fiber from the top of a tall structure to the bottom in about 15 minutes, which seemed laughably fast to other people. Despite this being an unusual deployment scenario, Clearfield was able to cut that down goal to just five minutes, helping us exceed our installation goal and more quickly deliver services to customers within range.”
To meet the installation time goal, Clearfield’s YOURx Flex Box arrived at Midco with a 300-foot FieldShield FLATdrop pigtail. At the top of the structure, the Flex Box was mounted on a rail. From the Flex Box, the duplex assembly was installed onto the structure to the individual radios; one cable per radio. The radio side of the assembly used a specially designed protective sleeve and a collar to ensure network integrity. By using this approach and preconfigured solutions, Clearfield was able to complete this deployment in two hours, saving money and speeding time to service availability.
Kevin Morgan, chief marketing officer at Clearfield, said, “Rural America requires reliable connectivity just as much as urban areas in today’s environment. Our work with Midco is a demonstration of our commitment to helping service providers reduce the high costs associated with deploying, managing, protecting and scaling a fiber optic network to deliver the mobile, residential and business services customers require.”