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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10 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 FTTH DEPLOYMENT The Westminster P3 Model The city of Westminster, Md., chose a three-layer, public-private partnership model for its fber-to-the-home network. Here's why. By Robert Wack / Common Council of Westminster, Md. L ook at a map of Maryland, and, right in the middle of the state, you'll see a town at the center of a spiderweb of secondary roads that radiate toward all points of the compass. A hundred years ago, before the interstate highway system was built, this web of roads put Westminster, Md., in the thick of all commercial trafc between Harrisburg, York, Gettysburg, Frederick, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Westminster is once again going to be at the central node of a network, but this time it's a network of fber optic lines that will connect every home and business in the city to deliver gigabit data service and more. Te Westminster Fiber Network is using an innovative public- private partnership (P3) model to build one of the frst gigabit networks in the Mid-Atlantic region. To fully appreciate how the Westminster model might be applied to other U.S. cities requires an understanding of how it difers from the many other possible P3 models. Public-private partnerships have a long, and by some accounts uneven, history in the world of public infrastructure. Tere have been some spectacular P3 failures, but no model is impervious to the universal human failings of incompetence and malfeasance. Te success or failure of a P3 project is a function of that project's specifc circumstances rather than of anything inherent to the P3 model. A successful P3 project is at its core a true partnership in which both parties achieve their goals while sharing the risks and rewards in ways they are comfortable with and can sustain over the life of the deal. Striking that balance requires each party to have a very clear idea of its strategic goals. Tose goals will, in turn, drive the decision making as the terms for the P3 are crafted. Te city of Westminster entered discussions with potential partners with three core principles: (1) public ownership of the fber network; (2) a multitiered service model that would partition risks and responsibilities to separate operational layers; and (3) a commitment to open access at the service level as the end state of the service environment. Each of these is important on its own and closely interrelated with the others. Westminster sits at the center of a spiderweb of roads.