Broadband Communities

SEP 2018

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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TECHNOLOGY | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 3-GIS Helps Enable Huntsville Build Huntsville Utilities supplies electricity, gas, water and dark fiber, which it leases to Google Fiber for a gigabit FTTH network. Here's how it uses software to track its fiber assets. By Steven S. Ross / Broadband Communities T he publicly owned utility in Huntsville, Alabama, has embarked on an ambitious project to bring fiber to the city's fast-growing population and its business and commercial centers. Its business plan has never been tried at this scale. As described in the October 2017 issue of Broad B and Communities , Huntsville has committed to build 1,000 miles or more of new fiber, and Google Fiber has committed to lease it. e lease improved the return on investment for Huntsville's build and shifted most of the risk away from the utility. e plan required a large step up in the sophistication of the utility's approach to facilities management. To manage its fiber assets more effectively, it turned to 3-GIS, headquartered conveniently nearby. But convenience was not a major consideration in the decision. When it comes to keeping track of telecom assets, getting organizations to change established ways of doing things is not easy. 3-GIS is one of many firms that base their systems on software provided by Esri – accessible both on the web and with desktop software, ArcGIS. Other vendors partner with other mapping software suppliers. ese are almost all mature, cost-effective solutions easily used by technicians in the field and by management specialists. But all require some getting used to for fiber deployers that have relied on older tools such as computer-aided design (CAD) software or even spreadsheets. Broad B and Communities interviewed Stacy Cantrell, Huntsville Utilities' vice president for engineering, to get the details about her organization's experience. BROADBAND COMMUNITIES: How big a system is Huntsville Utilities building, and where do things stand now? STACY CANTRELL: We started with about 100 miles of what we call legacy fiber. e system will be 1,000 to 1,100 miles when finished, and we are now about 30 percent complete. e first broadband customers were served in May 2017. BBC: Had you used 3-GIS from the outset? SC: No. We started with 3-GIS only in fall 2016 when the deal closed with Google Stacy Cantrell

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