An Economic Assessment Of AM Fiber Optic Applications (1989)

By Lemuel A. Tarshis, Robert E. Young, Jerrold - Applied Media Lab

Recent technological advancements in fiber optic hardware have moved this technology to the forefront of attention for utilization in Cable TV distribution plants. FM fiber optics is well on the way to replacing AML (microwave) sites and/or RF distribution supertrunks. AM fiber optics is under consideration for replacement or supplementing the standard RF distribution trunks. The application of fiber optic technology is viewed as being consistent with future bandwidth expansion requirements of high definition television and increased system reliability. The purpose of this paper is to review only the economic aspects of fiber optic applications. Based on present AM fiber link performance versus typical RF CATV equipment, three practical distribution system scenarios are examined. In each scenario an economic assessment of an AM fiber node approach is assessed by comparison to a typical RF distribution plant. The scenarios presented in this document were selected from a lengthy list of actual system upgrade/rebuild analyses which Jerrold's System Design and Proposals Department has performed over the last 18 months. These specific examples were chosen as being representative of the type of system expansions being considered most prevalent. It is not the intent of this paper to conclude whether AM fiber or typical RF distribution plant is an appropriate economic decision. Rather, it is intended to highlight those areas where each has its advantages and to stress the importance of giving appropriate consideration to the application of a hybrid architecture for CATV systems.

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