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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A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 | 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 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 5 9 Fiber. We pulled 3-GIS in before we started any new fiber construction. But we have not even migrated our legacy fiber over to the system because we have not had time. We have been focused on getting the new stuff built. BBC: Was Google Fiber happy with your choice? SC: It has gone well. We have had a few bumps. e fiber build has been a new process for both of us. Most important, we had to work through ways to exchange information in ways that made sense for both parties. BBC: For that legacy 100 miles, how much detailed information did you have? SC: In the original fiber build, which supported our electric grid, we did not formally document even the number and location of hubs, poles and so forth. Some staff members had the information in their heads, but the organization did not. We have been far more careful with the new build, thanks to the 3-GIS software. Every enclosure, every item in the network we are building requires a lot more than just the 96-count fiber or whatever. ere is other fiber connected to that, cabinets with splits, and the numbers and types of splits (four- way or eight-way). ere are no splits in the legacy network's 100 miles. BBC: Have you had the need, or even the time, to use the more detailed data you are collecting on the new build? SC: No need yet. But eventually, we, Google Fiber and any other tenants will be able to lower costs and improve service as we analyze sources of trouble and predict staffing and budgetary needs more accurately. Remember, we are essentially leasing dark fiber. BBC: Is there any additional functionality you would like to have? SC: We struggled to produce constructible prints to provide to contractors. We want to do better there. BBC: Is 3-GIS working on this need? SC: Yes. 3-GIS is aware of the problems with construction prints and is trying to improve the output. And as more contractors do more construction, we have been focusing on construction documentation, especially for bigger projects. BBC: Where do the outputs go? SC: Into Google's system as well as into our GIS. We use Bentley and Microstation for our CAD needs. BBC: Is Google Fiber using the data you supply, maybe combining with their demographic data for marketing? SC: ey are committed to serving the entire city and have been marketing in Huntsville for a long time, so it doesn't matter in our situation. ey do not have full access to all the data we collect, but they do need all the port assignments for houses passed and all the fiber routing, the fibers on the poles and in the ground. ey do not directly link into our system, either. We send them files. We do coordinate with them, giving notice of areas we are about to turn over to them and the predicted date they can start serving. BBC: Are they sharing their data with you on what they are doing? SC: No. Our agreement with Google is that we will build out to the target number of households passed. But we try to tell them what we will be ready to turn over months in advance. ey don't tell us where to build. BBC: What's next? SC: Our goal when we finish and migrate our systems is to have everything on the same platform to truly connect the legacy network and what we have been adding to fulfill our commitment to Google Fiber. Now we are still, in effect, running two networks. BBC: Has this experience helped on the electric side and with other users of your poles? SC: Yes, absolutely, especially in pole attachment tracking. ere are lots of new communications with other users of the poles. BBC: Huntsville has a lot of diversity in premises to be served, more than normal for its size. It is also growing fast. Any feeling you are having trouble keeping up? SC: Yes, but we have stabilized. e model here has been unique, in the way we are partnering with Google Fiber. We knew how to build good plant, but we did not know how to do this. e consultants and contractors we have worked with have been great, and everyone has come out better. v Editor-at-large Steve Ross can be reached at steve@bbcmag.com. Huntsville Utilities installers can update the fiber asset database in the field.

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