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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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 | www.broadbandcommunities.com | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 39 SandyNet Launches FTTH Services A community wireless network in Oregon takes the leap to gigabit fber. By Christopher Mitchell and Hannah Trostle / Institute for Local Self-Reliance M any of the most beautiful communities in the United States are in remote areas where incumbent cable and telephone companies have decided not to ofer modern, high-quality Internet connectivity. Sandy, Ore., is one of them. Some 10,000 people live there among the lush green forests and beautiful vistas of the "Gateway to Mount Hood," 25 miles east of Portland. But Sandy is bucking the trend by building its own gigabit fber network, now one of the fastest, most afordable networks in the nation. Sandy joined nearly 100 other local governments that have built municipal fber- to-the-home networks to give residents and businesses access to world-class Internet connections. However, the overwhelming majority of municipal fber networks were built by local governments that already owned their local electrical grids. Sandy has no power utility and instead used a successful incremental strategy to build a telecommunications utility. Te city started by reselling DSL and building a modest wireless network. Now it ofers symmetrical speeds of 100 Mbps for $39.95 or 1 Gbps for $59.95. Sandy's experience ofers lessons for local governments across the country. ORIGINS OF SANDYNET In 2001, when the local telephone company couldn't provide a DSL connection to city hall, city ofcials began to worry about broadband availability for local businesses and residents. To get the connectivity it needed to perform basic government functions, Sandy formed its own municipal Internet utility. Te city began providing DSL to residents and businesses over the phone company's infrastructure before beginning to invest in a wireless system that would ultimately stretch across and beyond city limits. In 2003, it named the Internet utility SandyNet. City government eventually came to the conclusion that the citywide Wi-Fi network was insufciently reliable and could not provide the high-capacity connections that were already becoming necessary in 2008. While investigating a fber network option to connect the fve municipal buildings, it realized the route for the fber should go through the downtown corridor. Recognizing the economic development potential of a fber network, city leaders developed a plan to provide fast, afordable, reliable broadband to businesses via municipal fber. By 2012, most of the larger companies in the downtown area had connected to the network. According to Joel Brache, program manager at AEC Inc., which produces technical manuals for the aerospace industry, the decision to switch to SandyNet was easy: FAST FACTS: SANDY, ORE. • Population: 10,000 • County: Clackamas • Network: SandyNet Fiber • Take rate: 60% • Symmetrical gigabit pricing: $59.95 • Financing: $7.5 million revenue bond • Design/build contractor: OFS SERVICE PROVIDER STRATEGIES