BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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40 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 COMMUNITY BROADBAND Facilitating Broadband Construction In the last few years, many communities have experimented with policies to reduce the costs of building next-generation networks. Here are the strategies they've found to be successful. By Joanne S. Hovis and Andrew Aferbach / CTC Technology & Energy L ocal governments can encourage broadband expansion – and facilitate construction of gigabit-capable networks through technical and process strategies that support such network deployment – whether they build networks themselves or work with private partners to do so. High-quality broadband services, both wireline and wireless, require wired infrastructure in the form of fber optics. To deliver gigabit-and-beyond services to every household and business, a network operator must build fber to every home and business. Even services that do not deliver fber all the way to the premises, such as high-speed wireless, still require physical fber construction to hub facilities and wireless antennas. Construction of these facilities is costly and time-consuming. Fiber to the premises, in particular, requires a massive construction efort – building fber optics down every major and minor street where service will be ofered as well as from the curb to each user's home or business. When the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted, policymakers anticipated that most of the United States would shortly have multiple facilities-based providers competing to build better networks, deliver better services and reduce prices. Nearly 20 years later, it is clear that robust, facilities-based wireline competition did not emerge – in part because constructing large-scale networks is such a formidable economic challenge, particularly for a competitive provider that does not have the benefts of incumbency. Facilitating that construction is one way a locality may help bring new broadband networks and competition to its community. THE ROLE OF LOCALITIES For more than a decade, local governments across the country have pioneered public projects and public-private partnerships designed to meet community needs for broadband. Local eforts to enable broadband have ranged across communications technologies (fber optics, wireless, satellite) and business models (public ownership with private operation, public ownership with public operation, public support for private owners). Tere are hundreds of community fber networks, tens of thousands of public wireless hotspots and more than half a million Americans whose direct fber connections to their homes and businesses would not exist absent local government broadband networks. Now the range of potential models for local broadband is expanding, which will beneft everyone. Among the new approaches to expanding broadband locally is a model in Joanne Hovis will speak in the Summit economic development program. BBC_Jan14.indd 40 1/29/14 10:29 AM