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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58 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 TECHNOLOGY Planning for Gigabits A new generation of network planning software reduces the time, efort and cost of planning community fber networks. By Kermit Ross / Network Design Decisions Inc. T he Internet and its underlying technologies will defne and shape the society and the economy of the United States in the 21st century. Broadband connections to support high-speed Internet access will be vital to the success of the communities where citizens live and work. Te nation's commitments to equal economic opportunity, educational advancement and democratic participation can be realized only if everyone has high-speed access to the Internet and the information and services that it delivers. In the fercely competitive global market, consumers and businesses can purchase a broad range of telecommunications services – voice, Internet access, HDTV, streaming video, online gaming and so forth – from a local telco, a cable system operator or any of several wireless operators. Tis doesn't mean that high-speed Internet connections are available to everyone or that the ones that are available are fast enough for the demands of the future. Te United States ranks 16th in the world in Internet penetration, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Many countries have better and faster Internet connections, and many international cities have Internet connectivity superior to any U.S. city. Te United States needs high-speed Internet connections for homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces. In an Internet-driven world, the better the network, the better the prospects for economic development. Speed defnes what is possible on the Internet and will be the measure of the 21st-century networks needed to create the jobs and support the innovation a growing economy requires. How much speed will we need? Te consensus is that we need to build networks capable of delivering up to a gigabit to anyone who needs or wants it. In the 21st century, high-speed Internet access will be a critical resource that people and businesses consume just as they consume water, electricity and other public utilities. In the 20th century, cities and towns assumed responsibility for the public infrastructure for streets and sewers, clean drinking water, electricity for lighting, public safety and other utilities. In the 21st century, many cities will choose to take responsibility for the infrastructure that ensures that citizens, businesses and institutions have high-speed access to the Internet. Te bottom line is that, in the future, fast and inexpensive Internet access will be a key determinant of a city's economic health and quality of life. Te infrastructure needed for citywide Internet access will take time to build Find out more at the Summit about planning for community fber networks. BBC_Jan14.indd 58 1/29/14 10:31 AM