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UTelco: Middle mile optical transport

High-capacity optical transport network infrastructure expedites broadband Internet access to rural areas


Transmission network operators, and generation and transmission cooperatives are in a unique position to supply a key part of the solution needed to offer reliable, high-speed Internet connectivity to unserved and underserved rural areas. The dedicated spare fiber capacity in the transmission network can be utilized to gap the “middle mile” between last-mile service providers and the Internet point of presence or major telecom carriers.

The availability of middle-mile connectivity enables last-mile service providers to focus their limited funding on the high level of investment required to construct connectivity to rural residences and businesses. Operating as a utility telco (UTelco), provides utilities a return on spare fiber investments for grid modernization, while further supporting communities in their service territory. It’s a natural fit.

The Nokia Middle-Mile Transparent Fiber solution gives UTelcos the high-density, modular network infrastructure and automated, service-enabled network needed to support this new revenue stream without increasing operational costs. This leverages spare capacity in their existing fiber infrastructure that supports communications for their power delivery.

The Nokia Middle-Mile Transparent Fiber solution:

  • Integrates easily into multivendor networks
  • Simplifies operations and maintenance
  • Offers guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs)

UTelcos have the flexibility to deliver middle-mile connectivity through neutral host or bandwidth provider business models. Typically, a separate subsidiary company is created to focus on generating additional revenue from existing utility fiber assets.

Use cases

The Nokia Middle-Mile Transparent Fiber solution opens the door for UTelcos to leverage their existing network and take advantage of government funding and development opportunities designed to support rural communities where they operate.

Improve quality of life in rural communities

  • Bring high-speed broadband internet services to more citizens
  • Extend access to healthcare and education through telemedicine and online education services
  • Allow local governments to automate services and accelerate service delivery extending coverage further, faster

Improve economic development

  • Help business in rural communities accelerate their digital transformation 
  • Make teleworking a viable option for more citizens and businesses
  • Open new economic doors for small businesses in your service areas
  • Connect data centers
  • Stimulate service breadth and competition by reducing the capital expenditure required by last mile service providers to connect to the Internet

Benefits and features

With the Nokia Middle-Mile Transparent Fiber solution, UTelcos can achieve operational and business goals:

Increase return on investment (ROI) from fiber transport networks by using them to generate additional revenue

Generate new revenues by diversifying their service offerings

Serve communities better, by helping to bridge the digital divide with broadband Internet connectivity 

Improve opportunity for power business by contributing to the longer-term economic health of communities in their territory

Accelerate fiber buildout for grid operations with revenue generated by middle-mile services

Network diagram

Related solutions and products

Our offerings for UTelcos provide the solutions and services utility broadband providers need for an end-to-end broadband Internet access service offering, along with mission-critical communications to support grid operations.

Contact us

To learn how we can help your UTelco benefit from our Middle-Mile Transparent Fiber solution, get in touch with our utilities team.

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