Optical Communication Transceivers for Affordable Broadband Deployment in Rural Communities

Award Information
Department of Agriculture
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
90 ARNOLD PL., SUITE D, Goleta, CA, 93117-3119
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Milan Mashanovitch
(805) 277-3031
Business Contact:
Daniel Renner
Vice President Business Development
(805) 729-0514
Research Institution:

1. Need and Purpose Rural areas of the United States have always been economically disadvantaged relative to urban areas. In rural areas, average incomes have been lower, poverty rates higher, and unemployment and underemployment have been more extensive. At present, with the advent of broadband communication technology, internet access offers the opportunity to break away from this rural disadvantage. Availability of information, education, business resources, e-commerce and health resources should be independent from location in this new broadband world. Unfortunately, many rural residents do not have broadband access because vast distances and a smaller population base makes broadband provisioning not economically feasible. This program will develop innovative optical communication technology that will enable affordable broadband deployment in rural communities. 2. Project Objectives The main objectives of this project are: a. Explore the primary obstacles to higher levels of rural internet adoption and make projections of internet adoption at various costs of provision. b. Based on the previous study, define broadband system requirements for rural communities in different geographical areas. c. Research and design Free-Space Optical (FSO) communication transceiver technology to meet the broadband requirements identified in objective 2. d. Build a prototype FSO communication link and demonstrate its performance. 3. Methods to be used The first objective will be accomplished through data analysis and surveys to understand the specific broadband needs of diverse rural communities and the socio-economic impact of this project. With this understanding, the team will define the characteristics of a FSO link that meets the rural broadband needs, in cost, performance and reliability. The FSO transceivers will be designed to meet or exceed these requirements and will be demonstrated to establish feasibility of the project prior to defining Phase II tasks. 4. Outcomes/Impacts We expect to gain a deep understanding of broadband requirements in rural areas of the United States, corresponding to different geographical conditions. As a result of this understanding, we anticipate developing FSO technology and products that will offer practical and affordable broadband access to rural communities in the country. 5. Anticipated benefits The primary focus of this program is the deployment of these FSO transceivers in rural communities to overcome their broadband access problems. These FSO transceivers also have many other applications such as in satellite communications, military communications, intra-campus links and home-to-network ("last mile") connections.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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