Networking

Why fiberless technology could be the solution to high-speed connectivity in NYC

"We believe, as does the CTO of New York City, that the future of ubiquitous connectivity is through wireless, coming off of fiber," said Louis Slaughter, chairman and CEO of Fiberless Networks.

Fiberless Networks is one of three finalists in the NYCx Governors Island Connectivity Challenge to bring bring high-speed, low-cost wireless service to Governors Island in 2018. Louis Slaughter, the company's chairman and CEO, spoke with TechRepublic's Dan Patterson about the potential of fiberless connectivity in New York City. Here's part of their conversation:

Slaughter: "Our company has wireless at the speed of fiber in a metro network, and that's why we call ourselves fiberless. We believe, as does the CTO of New York City, that the future of ubiquitous connectivity is through wireless, coming off of fiber.

And our company has, as I said, wireless with the speed-of-fiber in a metro area, and to cover a city and have ubiquitous high-speed communications, wireless is really the only option. And our company has led the rule making, and the opening up of very high- frequency spectrum.

Between 71 to 76, 81 to 86, and that's commonly known as e-band. It's 10 gigahertz of spectrum. It represents more than 20% of all the authorized spectrum, commercial spectrum in the world.

SEE: 5G mobile networks: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Because of that huge block of spectrum, you can transmit data, voice, videos, all at very high speed. So it's really a middle-mile solution, as well as a last-mile solution. You have Miguel Gamiño, the CTO for New York City talk about the opportunity for the city.

He's talked about the diversity between people, the industries here, the opportunity for connectivity, hence the Moonshot Challenge, which is going on right now with this test here. And they're all precursors to the future of telecommunications in this city, which he has enumerated extremely well in his interview with you.

And we believe, he's on the right track. So how it will change, is that wireless will fill in the voids in connectivity, if you will. The solution of wireless provides two things. It provides both the qualitative and quantitative connectivity, but also the economic solution.

To have ubiquitous communications, the only way forward to this date, has been putting in fiber. Even the cell systems and we're now replacing one macro cell with, say, ten micro cells. You need more and more fiber, and that's very expensive. So that's where wireless comes into play, as has been recognized by the CTO of New York City.

And so, as I said earlier, we opened up the e-band spectrum. And I actually petitioned the FCC to open up the spectrum. And with this huge block, we can now transmit at very high speeds. So we, for New Yorkers, we can take connectivity out to remote areas of the city, Brooklyn, Red Hook, and do that very cost effectively.

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

And in fact, one of the exciting things about the Moonshot Challenge, which we're participating in on this island, is not only do we have the high speed transmission to connect the island to Brooklyn or Manhattan, we're deploying Wi-Fi and we're working with Green Zebra. Green Zebra is one of our subcontractors, and they bring to the table two important elements.

One is the high-speed Wi-Fi, but there's a marketing element too. They're bringing sponsored advertising and we've already signed up the first $300,000 for the first year of sponsored advertising. We have another $300,000 that we're in negotiations with. So actually, this whole connectivity for the island, we totally paid for, and we'll save the taxpayer having to spend on this.

But that decision is up to the island management, the trust to decide how to work with that. So the future is bringing gigabyte speed, but also solving the economic challenge, which is what we do also. We can, with our technology, put a big loop through five boroughs. We actually have shown one to the city through four boroughs, at tens of gigabytes of speed, our cost is the order of $1 million.

To do that with fiber would cost $200 million. That's why fiberless, our technology, is such a good solution. And that we believe is the answer to, as I said earlier, ubiquitous coverage, but as Miguel Gamiño referred to it, as a smart city. And that's what New York is doing. With all the diversity of people, industries and the future of connectivity, the IoT videoconferencing, and all of that, you have to build the backbone that will carry all of the that. And that's what we can do.

So we see the opportunity here on the island, as a stepping stone, as the city has recognized, to deploying a ubiquitous network across the city. And because it's wireless, it can happen very quickly. You know you trench fiber in, you've got to get all the permits, machines lined up, rights of way, police details. It takes years just to put even one strand of fiber a mile.

And we can do it, within months. So we see this as the future, and we're very hopeful that we can work with the city and make New York City the first smart city in the world. And there are many cities around the world, talking about Smart City, but they don't have the tools in their toolbox to make it happen.

And we believe with New York City, we've got a very smart leader in Miguel Gamiño and the mayor, wanting to make it happen. And we're now at the juncture where we have the technology to make it happen."

Also see:

About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox