PCs for People picks InCoax Networks to ensure digital inclusion


PCs for People recently deployed InCoax Networks’ fiber access extension technology at Stoneridge Apartments, an affordable housing complex in Pflugerville, a suburb of Austin, Texas.

Stoneridge Apartments is a 256-apartment affordable homes complex spanning across 13 buildings. There are many recreational services and amenities within the complex, such as an outdoor swimming pool, playground area and on-site fitness center. To remain attractive to present and future tenants, something needed to be done to ensure digital inclusion to the families eligible for a lease at Stoneridge.

With the primary task to provide low-cost high-speed broadband to all tenants, the property owner looked to the non-profit organization PCs for People for the solution. Like many Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs) in the United States, fiber cables were not present or prepared for in Stoneridge Apartments’ 13 buildings. It immediately became clear that PCs for People needed to think outside the traditional box to make it happen.

By deploying fiber to each building and utilizing the existing and fully functional coaxial network, previously used for satellite-TV, PCs for People was able to provide a fiber-like broadband performance to the tenants.

“InCoax’s MoCA Access TM 2.5 based fiber access extension technology provides the tenants with the symmetric gigabit network connectivity they need for schoolwork, communicating with healthcare and community services, and the ability to work from home or apply for jobs remotely. Other activities, such as keeping contact with friends and family, do online shopping, streaming, and gaming, are of course also important for the overall quality of life,” detailed PCs for People’s Executive Director Tom Esselman.

PCs for People is a non-profit 501(c) organization focused on digital inclusion by providing low-cost computers and delivering affordable broadband connectivity to the homes of low-income families. Founded more than twenty years ago, it has distributed over 180,000 refurbished computers and it now has more than 70,000 customers connected to low-cost Internet. Tasked with delivering community-wide and in-home wireless high-speed broadband to Stoneridge Apartments with a limited budget, PCs for People needed to look beyond traditional Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) deployments to solve the problem. It found the solution halfway around the world, through Swedish company InCoax Networks, that shares its mission to provide cost-effective high-speed multi-gigabit networking solutions for streaming, working, and remote learning.

“We are impressed with the performance and how well the InCoax system offers a perfect tie-in with our mission to support digital inclusion and provide connectivity to all households regardless of income,” Esselman continued. “Efforts such as ours are essential today, where it is increasingly difficult to function in society without the best possible technologies and high-speed Internet connectivity. I’m told the building complex upgrade has had a remarkable impact on decreasing apartment vacancy rate, which has plunged from 50% to less than 11%.”

Early in the deployment process, PCs for People evaluated using the most advocated technology – fiber to every apartment. An all-fiber solution proved to be too expensive. Preliminary calculations showed an average in-building total installation cost drop from $440 per apartment with fiber, to $125 per apartment by reusing Stoneridge Apartments’ existing coaxial cabling infrastructure.

Through partnering with PCs for People, Stoneridge Apartments now has symmetrical high-speed Internet access of 1 Gbps, thanks to PCs for People’s application of InCoax Networks’ MoCA Access™ 2.5 fiber access system.

Installation details

The new incoming underground trunk fiber was extended through a centrally located fiber switch to each of the 13 apartment buildings. InCoax MoCA Access™ 2.5 Control Units were mounted in the buildings’ 13 outdoor wall cabinets where the coax cable networks originate. The fiber and coax networks were connected to the Control Units to extend the high-performance broadband capabilities to each apartment. InCoax’s MoCA AccessTM 2.5 modems and apartment routers allow Internet access through Wi-Fi in all apartments and social areas. The system is managed by the InCoax Manage software.

“The installation of InCoax technology acts as an expedient and cost-effective solution to the global MDU broadband access challenge of how to deploy high-speed multi-gigabit fiber broadband. InCoax is delighted with the successful deployment working with PCs for People on behalf of Stoneridge Apartments. This deployment has improved the quality of day-to-day life for tenants and demonstrated that re-using existing coax infrastructure and MoCA AccessTM can be a key complement to fiber in bringing gigabit and multi-gigabit networking to any MDU,” InCoax’s Head of Marketing, Sales and Product Management, Helge Tiainen said.

MoCA® is a global member-driven, non-profit trade association that develops the multi-gigabit broadband coax connectivity standards used in this application. MoCA members provide multi-gigabit coax connectivity products and services for Internet, voice, and video to homes and businesses worldwide. MoCA member companies include global multiple system operators, telcos, satellite companies, original equipment manufacturers and semiconductor companies.

“MoCA® industry standards let homes, apartments, flats, hotels, and buildings reuse their existing in-building coax as the last mile access and connectivity medium for broadband communities. MoCA standards can reduce broadband installation costs. We are honored with the adoption of the MoCA Access™ 2.5 technology standard by PCs for People through MoCA member InCoax Networks for equitable access to high-speed networking,” said Dr. Jim Crammond, President of MoCA.