Fiber Connectivity to Historically Protected Buildings with Corning Evolv™ | Corning

Bringing Connectivity to Historic Properties While Preserving their Look and Feel

By Ian Cowser
Published: September 29, 2022

Fiber is bringing the benefits of connectivity to everyone, from dense urban environments to rural regions. A January, 2022 study from the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) found the number of homes in the U.S. connected by fiber is more than 60 million—a 12% increase from 2021.

But there are places where running fiber cabling is challenging, such as homes and businesses designated as historically important places. These are often protected by limits on construction, renovations, or governed by a strict permitting and approval process. Corning’s suite of Evolv™ Terminals and small-form-factor connectors can be a solution in these situations, with a slim, unobtrusive design and simple interface that enables faster deployment with reduced installation costs.

Historic properties require a delicate touch

In the US, The National Register recognizes more than 90,000 properties for their significance in American history, architecture, art, archeology, engineering, and culture. Beyond individual structures, federal, state or local restrictions can also apply to entire districts, like the historic areas of Montreal, Canada.

Wiring historic properties is difficult everywhere, but is a particular challenge in the UK, where there are approximately 10,000 conservation areas, ranging from historic fishing and mining villages to 18th, 19th and 20th century suburbs. Securing permission to make changes, such as infrastructure upgrades like fiber optics for hardwired and mobile Internet, requires permission from the property owner and local authorities.

Historic areas are often cramped quarters and there are deeply held concerns surrounding aesthetics. Still, bringing connectivity through fiber to these areas is important to allow residents and businesses access to the Internet and digital tools for work, education and entertainment. Additionally, fiber can be critical in older structures where construction materials can hamper Wi-Fi reception.

Technicians in these areas often find themselves using concealed holes, street hardscapes, lamppost monopoles or building façades to install cable. But these can present difficulties in zoning and access at the best of times without the additional pressure of building in a conservation area where any installations will be subject to close scrutiny.

Corning’s Evolv™ terminals and drops with Pushlok™ technology were introduced recently after an intensive research and development period focused on decreasing the device’s size without compromising on connectivity. A breakthrough came when the team reorganized the terminal ports and input stub to align in a single row on the bottom of the device, helping reduce the size of the unit and reeling in congestion from slack coils. This makes it easier for the devices to “go anywhere,” especially along façades and aerial routes like light fixtures.

Smaller size, less impact means easier permitting

In the UK, the operator Openreach is using this equipment as a “last drop” to get fiber from a distribution point to individual homes and businesses. In the market town of Ludlow, Openreach installed Evolv equipment on historically protected buildings, bringing high-speed Internet to residents and businesses in a bustling market town.

In the historic city of Salisbury, home to an ancient cathedral, the existing copper network is being replaced with fiber in a seamless and unobtrusive way using Evolv™ terminals. Having an extremely discreet solution that didn’t compromise the appearance of the landmark buildings was instrumental in securing permissions from property owners and the local government.

In addition to easing the process of securing permission for connectivity infrastructure upgrades, there’s also a variety of ways that money can be saved in the placement of these terminals. In particular, smaller terminals can be installed on congested poles and chambers where conventional terminals won’t fit—significantly reducing the need for expensive network adjustment upgrades in the future.

Bringing connectivity to historic properties – and beyond

Fiber is going to be key to bringing connectivity to everyone, including those who live in historically important areas, closing the digital divide and bringing the wealth of educational and commercial opportunities the Internet can provide to all. The FBA notes that fiber continues to score higher than any other broadband technology—such as cable, satellite or wireless—in terms of capacity, reliability, latency and customer satisfaction.

Solutions like Evolv™, and continuing innovation that makes terminals and other equipment smaller, easier and faster to install while blending in seamlessly with existing infrastructure will be key—not only in historically protected areas but in rural and other areas where traditional methods of passing fiber are difficult. Together, we can modernize connectivity while preserving heritage.

Learn more about EvolvTM and other FTTP solutions here.

Ian Cowser is a Carrier Networks Application Engineer for Corning based in the UK, taking care of carrier network operators in EMEA. Ian started his career in telecoms in 1993 in Project and Services, but has held various roles in sales, business development and product line solutions. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and external project management qualifications.

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