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#10: From HFC to XGS-PON – Insights into the mindset of a cable MSO with Zachary Cronauer

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Who is Zachary Cronau and Blue Ridge Communications?

Zac Cronauer is a U.S. Army veteran and fiber expert, who worked his way up to the Head of Fiber Initiatives at Blue Ridge Communications., where he is one of the main drivers towards their XGS-PON rollout. Zac started his career at Blue Ridge as a Fiber Optic Cable Engineer learning the basic skills needed to succeed at the job. He then broadened his knowledge and move towards the MSO’s head end as a technician.
Before becoming the Head of Fiber Initiative, Zac rounded off his skill set as a Design Systems Engineer, which helps him tremendously in his current role. Besides holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management, Zac has also the CFOT certification from FOA. You can hear more about this certification in Episode 2 with Jim Hayes.

Blue Ridge Communications serves over 300,000 household and B2B customers in northeastern Pennsylvania with high-speed internet, cable television, and phone services.
Since its inception, Blue Ridge Communications has been at the forefront of technology, making sure that its customers in both urban and rural areas have access to best-in-class services such as gigabit internet, HD content delivered via the latest TiVo, and feature-rich digital phone service.

Why is Zachary Cronauer Fiberminded?

Zachary held various positions in his extensive career, where he gained experience across the full network life cycle. Due to this Zac is very adamant about proper fiber training techniques. He is currently responsible for all the fiber technology training, as well as research of new technology and the design of their fiber to the home plant.
Similar to his career path, Zac’s training system is based on the Crawl, Walk, Run principle. This means you will start out with learning basic cable handling like cable stripping and ending at OTDR trace interpretation. The training is very thorough and covers the industry best practices. Zac and his team experienced actually the same as Brian mentioned in Episode 9, too much cleaning can actually be counterproductive to the optical performance.
During the XGS-PON rollout, Zac and his team are making sure, that the light levels are as expected to have the best possible end-customer experience.

Why should you listen to this episode around the migration from HFC to XGS-PON?

In this episode of the Become Fiberminded podcast, you will get intriguing insights into the mind of a cable operator.
Blue Ridge has an existing Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) network. This means, their end-customer are being served broadband through DOCSIS. The coax infrastructure however is limited in what it can provide in terms of bandwidth. Plus as we all know, fiber is the future!
Therefore the move towards FTTH based approach is understandable and welcomed.😉
Interestingly enough Zac and his team are going for a 1:96 split ratio leveraging XGS-PON. Zac is explaining in this episode, where the splitters are located, and how they deploy the network. He is also sharing how they made sure, that the technology migration is as smooth as possible.

Where can i learn more about Zac Cronauer and the topics discussed in this podcast?

Here is some more information about the topics mentioned in this episode.

Here are the social media links for Zachary

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