The Middle Mile will play a critical role in helping to bridge the “Digital Divide” by providing the “backbone” for thousands of subsidized last mile buildouts across the U.S. The widely understood definition of the Middle Mile is that it comprises the high-capacity fiber lines that aggregate, manage, and carry large amounts of data at high speeds over long distances between local last mile networks and peering points that intersect with the global internet core networks. However, to service providers thinking strategically, it is much more than that.
The Middle Mile and its ultimate scalability dictates the future service capabilities of all of the networks it touches – If it is not architected to meet the needs of future services with agility and ease, the last mile service capabilities will remain limited. Additionally, the Middle Mile plays a key role in network latency and resiliency – careful consideration must be taken to ensure that its performance can live up to the increased bandwidth requirements of next-generation communications networks.
Lastly, and most relevant to service providers leveraging stimulus funds to build their Middle Mile for remote deployments, every community that is passed by this “backbone” as it connects to a given remote deployment has the potential to leverage this network in the future. This will only amplify the potential for the network to benefit a much wider footprint than the targeted subsidized deployment and create a multitude of potential strategic business, economic and social opportunities for these areas in the future.
U.S. government Middle Mile initiatives and other broadband stimulus funds are starting to roll out in a big way, with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently awarding $930 million to 35 Middle Mile projects across the country. But there’s even more money pouring into U.S. Middle Mile upgrades, starting with an additional $848 million in public and private matching funds from the NTIA awardees alone.
Middle Mile stimulus funds are also becoming available through several other U.S. government programs, including:
As state broadband offices, service providers, co-ops, utilities, municipalities, and other stakeholders gear up to build the Middle Mile broadband infrastructure needed to connect last-mile, rural areas, DZS has long been aligned with this wave. We uniquely support Middle Mile initiatives with three pivotal company strategies:
DZS is committed to helping current and potential award recipients evaluate the scope, costs, and community benefits of their Middle Mile projects as they take advantage of these newly available funds to bridge the Digital Divide.
I am thrilled to moderate an informative upcoming webinar that will highlight best practices and the latest technology that U.S. State Broadband Offices are leveraging for their Middle Mile initiatives to bring hyper-fast internet to their underserved residents and businesses on Thursday, June 29 at 9AM Central/10AM Eastern.
My co-presenters will include Donavan Spann, Broadband Infrastructure Coordinator, Tennessee Economic & Community Development and Eric Rajchel, Assistant Director of Engineering at telecom consultancy leader Vantage Point.
To register for the event, click here.
Despite the availability of over $150 billion in broadband stimulus funds globally, there has been no solution on the market that holistically addresses the top three issues that service providers face in delivering world-class broadband services to rural markets:
As a leading player in bridging the Digital Divide globally, DZS is once again delivering technology innovation that directly addresses our customers’ biggest challenges. We have created the industry’s first fully self-contained, environmentally hardened, end-to-end, next-generation broadband access solution for remote deployments, of which hardened optical edge Middle Mile transport is a lynchpin.
Our approach tackles the above and other major Middle Mile challenges head-on, offering unmatched operational agility, delivering highest-capacity hardened fiber bandwidth over long distances with Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexing (ROADM) support, and enabling the future flexibility and capacity for in-place upgrades to the next generation of 50G/100G PON.
While the government funding currently available for Middle Mile broadband investments across the U.S. is at an all-time high, there is considerably more money coming within a few years. For example, the FCC’s massive Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) has yet to finally award over $6.5 billion. This money will be allocated over the next ten years. Meanwhile, the BEAD and CPF funds are slated to be allocated by the end of 2026. Plus, don’t forget all the matching funds and private equity that will go along with these awards.
DZS technology and services are perfectly suited to respond to government broadband stimulus initiatives the world over, empowering service providers to deliver advanced, next-generation services anywhere. That said, for U.S. initiatives, DZS is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and fully aligned with anticipated BABA “Buy American, Build American” rules. DZS is fully committed to delivering the innovations our customers need to gain a Competitive Edge in their markets and for long-term sustained success. Our new optical transport platform, the Saber 4400, is the most compact and flexible available, ensuring the agility to quickly respond to ever-changing bandwidth, capacity, and service demands—while meeting government program requirements for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and long-term upgrade potential that fully leverages initial investments.