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What is the Middle Mile?

According to the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the U.S. Middle Mile Grant Program (MMG), Middle mile infrastructure means any broadband infrastructure that does not connect directly to an end-user location, including an anchor institution; and includes— (i) leased dark fiber, interoffice transport, backhaul, carrier-neutral internet exchange facilities, carrier-neutral submarine cable landing stations, undersea cables, transport connectivity to data centers, special access transport, and other similar services; and (ii) wired or private wireless broadband infrastructure, including microwave capacity, radio tower access, and other services or infrastructure for a private wireless broadband network, such as towers, fiber, and microwave links.

Middle mile infrastructure does not reach the end user’s location, but typically aggregates large quantities of traffic for carriage between networks. The variety of middle mile arrangements is broad. Middle mile infrastructure might carry traffic via undersea cable to remote locations such as Hawaii or American territories and possessions elsewhere in the Pacific, may “backhaul” wireless traffic via a fiber-optic link from an antenna mounted on a tower to the provider’s wired network, may bring the internet to previously unserved Tribal or Native lands, or may simply connect neighboring towns.

Middle mile service, moreover, might be offered by a wide range of entities, from traditional retail Internet Service Providers, large technology companies that do not offer retail broadband at all, or electric utilities that increasingly recognize their capability to transform the communications market. Regardless of who deploys and operates them, middle mile connections are crucial to connectivity and competition. 

Middle Mile diagram

Contact us to learn more about our DWDM Saber solutions that address the Middle Mile needs for cost-effective, quick and easy optical edge deployments with an environmentally hardened, compact and modular coherent optics platform with a multi-degree CDC flexgrid ROADM.

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