Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2014

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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18 | What Fiber Broadband Can Do For Your Community | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.bbcmag.com | FALL 2014 Q: Will a fber network help bring new business into my community? A: Tere's growing evidence that fber connectivity encourages businesses to stay, helps businesses grow and become more productive, and attracts new businesses, particularly in high-tech industries. FTTH supports home-based startup businesses and helps workers telecommute. It makes a community a more attractive place to live – especially for young people – which can stem the population loss that many small communities experience. If inadequate health care resources hamper economic growth, fber connections permit local health care providers to call upon specialists in regional health centers. And if an unprepared workforce is a hindrance to business expansion, fber connectivity can enable cost- efective distance learning. FTTH is only one component of an overall economic development strategy – but it's a vitally important one. Q: How can I get fber to my residents without building my own network? My town has too much debt now to borrow more, and we have no experience operating a municipal utility. A: Lobby the incumbents – the cable and telephone companies that serve your town now. Lobby competitive providers or even local businesses that need more bandwidth and have the capability to undertake such a project. Ofer such incentives as reduced franchise fees, access to public property or an accelerated permitting process. If you own an institutional fber ring that connects municipal buildings, schools and libraries, or if your trafc lights are connected by fber, you might be able to propose fber swaps to a potential provider. Take a fber inventory to fnd out whether there is abandoned or unused fber in your town that might either revert to the locality or be donated in exchange for a tax exemption. Educate residents about the value of FTTH, and encourage them to commit to taking fber services if and when a provider ofers them. Start a community fber campaign on CrowdFiber.com or a similar site so you can document the extent of subscriber interest in fber broadband. Alternatively, enter into a partnership to build a fber network jointly with a private partner. In Europe, such partnerships are common, and the approach has begun to gain traction in the United States. A variety Questions Municipal Offcials Ask About FTTH FTTH for Communities B y summer 2014, the number of public and public-private fber networks in the U.S. reached about 145 – and many of these serve multiple communities. Many communities are expanding the networks they started building in earlier years, thanks in part to stimulus funding, and are upgrading them to ofer gigabit-speed service. In 2012, Google launched gigabit Internet service in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. – locations it chose in large part because the city governments were willing to collaborate with it. In 2013 it expanded to Austin, Texas, and acquired the municipal FTTH network in Provo, Utah. It also announced that it would negotiate with localities about expansion in nine other metropolitan areas with 34 communities. All this activity has made municipal ofcials keenly aware of the potential for using ultra-broadband to promote economic development and enhance the quality of life in their communities. Tey are looking for new ways to encourage private providers to build FTTH networks, new partnership arrangements with telecom providers and new ways to leverage such municipal assets as conduit, utility poles and existing fber. And they are fnding takers – there are more than 100 networks ofering or soon to ofer gigabit services. Many are operated by small telcos, some of which have partnered with municipalities. Fiber to the home is only one component of an overall economic development strategy, but it's a vitally important one.

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