Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2014

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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46 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 COMMUNITY BROADBAND without sacrifcing localities' needs to simultaneously attend to other projects and priorities. All processes required for a broadband project should be formalized and well-publicized to the industry. Tese range from rights-of-way access to permitting to fnal inspection and approval. In CTC's experience, full transparency about these processes is the single most efective means by which to enable the communications industry to expeditiously plan and deploy networks. For example, however long a locality's process for reviewing and approving permit applications, that process and time frame should be publicized and then consistently met. Obviously, localities have limited resources – and sometimes many diferent companies and industries can simultaneously require local permit review and other types of local support. Tus, local needs and resources should determine how long the process will take, but transparency about the amount of time and a frm commitment to adhering to that time frame will meet the needs of the private entity. A private-sector deployer may wish for a faster process, but at a minimum it will have the beneft of a transparent, open process – with a predictable time frame under which it can plan its own project. Te need for transparency and communication is mutual: Much as the locality should be open with information about its processes, the private deployer should do the same and should adjust and stage its build plans to maximize cooperation with the locality. Preconstruction conferences, for example, allow private providers and localities to understand each other's plans and timelines and to plan ahead. Tis kind of cooperative planning enables a willing provider to stage permit and inspection requests rather than fling for hundreds or thousands of permits at one time and overwhelming the locality's existing resources. Cooperation in this example is of mutual beneft. ALLOW USE OF PREAPPROVED THIRD- PARTY INSPECTORS Unfortunately, attempts to streamline local processes frequently confict with the need for resources to enable the processes – particularly for massive, short-term projects such as broadband network deployments. Te need to issue thousands of permits and assess thousands of job sites in a very tight time frame can be challenging for local governments that do not have sufcient staf to support that enormous ramp-up on a short-term basis. One potential solution is for a locality to fnd means by which local processes are respected but the broadband deployer can use its own resources to supplement public-sector staf. For example, a locality can prequalify companies that private deployers can then contract to inspect new broadband facilities on behalf of the locality. Te locality can check the contractor's inspection eforts to verify quality, thereby incentivizing the vendor to work appropriately and enabling the locality to maintain quality control and quality assurance. IMPACTS ON NETWORK DEPLOYMENT COSTS In CTC's experience, the strategies described in this article can collectively reduce the cost of network deployment. Te following hypothetical illustrates how a community can impact network deployment costs. 10 Assuming construction of fber to each location in a medium-sized community of 250,000 homes and businesses (of which 20,000 are located in 500 large multidwelling buildings or multitenant ofce buildings), the total cost of cable plant and hub construction may be reduced by approximately 8 percent in the aggregate. Most of the savings results from use of the community's own fber assets; the next largest category of savings results from community assistance to the provider in reducing the provider's fees to private pole owners for make- ready. Additional savings results from the community's leasing space in its facilities and requiring by code that conduit and cable pathways exist from the rights-of-way into and inside ofce buildings and apartment buildings in new and renovated developments. 11 COMMUNITY EFFORTS TO REDUCE COSTS In this scenario, a community frst provides access to its own fber optic middle-mile network. Although some incumbent service providers refuse to use community-owned fber, many competing, smaller providers are very willing to lease public fber. Second, the community provides locations for hub facilities where a new broadband provider can locate equipment. Tird, the locality requires owners and developers of multidwelling units and multitenant ofce buildings to construct conduit for broadband providers from the rights-of-way to the buildings as part of construction or renovation. Fourth, in a related vein, the community requires owners and developers of multidwelling units and multitenant ofce buildings to construct indoor cable pathways for broadband providers from the rights-of- way to apartments or businesses as part of construction or renovation. Fifth (and most difcult), the community works with management of the companies that own utility poles – most likely an investor-owned utility and an incumbent phone company – to facilitate attachment by the new entrant. Te locality may need to use its infuence with state governments, state and federal regulators, businesses and other interests to make its case. In this scenario, the locality, through several years of work with the pole owners, ensures that there is adequate space on the poles for new attachments such that a costly make- ready process is not necessary on 20 percent of the poles, thus eliminating a cost of potentially $500 for each of those poles. As a result of these steps, the broadband provider is able to build a backbone network around BBC_Jan14.indd 46 1/27/14 1:46 PM

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