Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2017

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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MARCH/APRIL 2017 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 33 frequencies has not been able to overcome line-of-sight challenges, the high cost of building towers in areas with low customer density, and the higher maintenance and repair costs of wireless broadband networks, compared with the more reliable technology and lower maintenance costs of fiber networks. But regardless of where broadband is deployed, both fiber and wireless providers are carving up service areas to create mini-monopolies. In the fiber business, the rule of thumb is that whoever builds fiber into a neighborhood first "wins" because building two fully duplicated fiber networks to compete for the same customers is simply not economical. Similarly, wireless internet service providers (WISPs) make efforts not to offer service in any area where there is already a competing WISP, for the same reason that fiber providers avoid areas where competitors are established: It is costly and yields low customer take rates. e effect could be called the balkanization of American broadband. e main effect of telecom deregulation has been to break up large-service-area monopolies into many smaller-service- area monopolies. ough there has been some limited progress in terms of competition, the on-the-ground reality for many broadband users, both residential and business, is a continued lack of service alternatives and ever- increasing prices. In communities in which there has been some local investment in broadband infrastructure, ranging from empty conduit all the way to a fully provisioned network, the effects have been advantageous. When useful portions of infrastructure are no longer owned exclusively by telecom providers, service quality usually improves, prices stabilize or decrease, and incumbents begin to spend more on upgrading their infrastructure. DISTRIBUTED OWNERSHIP e key to obtaining improved availability of broadband, increased range of service options and competitive pricing is to distribute ownership of Competition for useful portions of infrastructure improves service quality, moderates prices and spurs investment.

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