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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28 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MARCH/APRIL 2016 FTTH DEPLOYMENT Gigabit Fiber Boosts Business In Rural City Henderson, a small city in rural western Tennessee, is discovering the benefts of ultra-high-speed broadband. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities R oughly halfway between Memphis and Nashville is Henderson, Tenn., a city of about 6,500 people. Tough far of the beaten path, it's a vibrant community. It has a downtown revitalization project and new businesses in the heart of town. It is home to a thriving arts community, an annual barbecue festival and beautiful parks. It has a low crime rate and good schools; educational institutions, including Freed-Hardeman University, line the city's Main Street. In the local public schools, students learn computer coding as part of a national pilot program for advanced manufacturing. Now Henderson has yet another asset: gigabit Internet. Until recently, Internet access in Henderson was mediocre at best. Te local cable provider ofered maximum speeds of 60 Mbps downstream and 6 Mbps upstream – neither fast enough nor reliable enough for most businesses. In January 2015, Aeneas Internet and Telephone, a competitive provider based in nearby Jackson, announced that it would build out a fber-to-the-premises network in Henderson and ofer gigabit Internet speeds. Aeneas, which began as a dial-up service provider 20 years ago, already had signifcant experience with FTTP; it was the original Internet and telephone provider on the municipal fber network that the Jackson Energy Authority built in 2004. (JEA now provides the retail services on its network.) Aeneas also serves some businesses over fber leased from utilities. However, it had never constructed a fber-to-the-premises network, and most of its services are delivered over copper infrastructure leased from incumbent telcos. By early 2015, says Jonathan Harlan, CEO of Aeneas, fber optic technology had matured enough and equipment prices had dropped enough that he felt confdent about investing in a network. In his view, Calix had emerged as the clear equipment leader, and he says, "We wanted to go with the industry leader when the price was feasible." CHOOSING A COMMUNITY Henderson was a good choice for a frst fber build for several reasons, Harlan explains. First, it was a lively, growing community. Second was its proximity to Aeneas's home base (Henderson is about 20 miles from Jackson, and some businesses were already Aeneas customers) and, even more important, its proximity to available middle-mile fber. (Aeneas uses a combination of leased and owned middle-mile fber.) Te key reason was the community's receptiveness. "Tat will be important for future selections, too," Harlan says. "We want community advocates. We want the support of the mayor and others – not fnancial support, but support as advocates for business development inside their borders."