Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2016

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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14 | What Fiber Broadband Can Do For Your Community | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | FALL 2016 A gigabit (1 Gbps, or 1,000 Mbps) is about 100 times higher than the average downstream internet speed in the United States and many times higher than the average upstream internet speed. However, it will soon be the standard for both downstream and upstream bandwidth. Only fiber to the home (or fiber to the building with excellent inside wiring) can support symmetrical gigabit speeds consistently to multiple users. Google Fiber made "gigabit" a household word, but it was hardly the first to offer these speeds. Many providers now offer gigabit – or even 10 gig – speeds to businesses. Among residential providers, EPB Fiber Optics (the municipally owned network in Chattanooga, Tennessee) was the first to offer 1 Gbps access throughout a large service area. Other network operators, both public and private, quickly followed suit. By the end of 2016, large companies such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Cox had begun offering gigabit FTTH service in selected locations, and Comcast offers 2 Gbps FTTH service in some locations. So at least some residents in 500 communities or more have gigabit access today. e first residential 10 Gbps deployment was announced in late 2014 by US Internet, an ISP in Minnesota. Several others followed during 2015, including EPB Fiber Optics, Fibrant (the municipal utility in Salisbury, North Carolina) and Rocket Fiber, a new ISP in Detroit. Residential 10 Gbps service is still well beyond the "affordable" range, but some customers have already adopted it for home-based business use. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH A GIG (OR 10 GIG)? A survey by Telecom inktank and RVA LLC found (not surprisingly) that 1 Gbps subscribers are heavy internet users. ey are online an average of eight hours per day, compared with the overall average of 2.5 hours, and they have many networked devices. Some may be streaming movies and chatting on Facebook while participating in multiple online games through multiple consoles. In addition, many are content creators. Superfast connectivity also appeals to work-at-home professionals who need low latency and rapid file transfers. B roadBand Communities' interviews with gigabit users suggest that these speeds are especially useful for telecommuters who need to work without interruption while other household members watch videos or engage in other recreational uses. NEW APPLICATIONS Soon, gigabit speeds will enable entirely new applications. US Ignite, a nonprofit coalition of industry, academic and government partners, is promoting the development of new applications in health care, education, workforce development, energy, advanced manufacturing and public safety, and many of these – such as applications for managing smart cities and smart electric grids – are now reaching the stage of commercialization. Cities across the United States are holding "hackathons" – events in which software developers collaborate intensively over a weekend or other short period – to encourage the development of high-bandwidth applications. In just a few years, gigabit applications may revolutionize the delivery of government services, health services, education and more. v Gigabit (And More) To the Home Chattanooga STEM students access USC researchers, 4K microscopic images and knowledge from 1,800 miles away.

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