Broadband Communities

OCT 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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MDU SERVICE PROVIDER STRATEGIES 4 4 | 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 | O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 GATOR NET is a winning brand in the Gainesville, Florida, market, where University of Florida students love their symmetrical gigabit service. By Heather Burnett Gold / HBG Strategies S ince the late 1990s, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), owned by the city of Gainesville, Florida, has successfully provided broadband services for University of Florida and Santa Fe College students. Recently, I caught up with Frank Latini, GRU's director of technology and services, to learn how the utility developed its GATOR NET business model and how it maintains its growth. HEATHER BURNETT GOLD: How did an electric utility get into the telecom business? FRANK LATINI: In the mid-1990s, two market events pushed GRU into the telecom business. Initially, GRU had a microwave system that it used to operate the SCADA communications network for its electric utility. When this frequency was reclaimed for use by the PCS cellular systems, the electric company needed to find a replacement communications system for its internal use. In response, visionaries within the company advocated building out a fiber system to GRU buildings. Simultaneously, the local hospital asked for access to rights- of-way and utility poles to build fiber to all its remote clinics. GRU offered to build the network for it instead, thus initiating the first bulk deal. Once all this new fiber was laid, the company noticed that its fiber passed a lot of office parks that needed high bandwidth. Where there was no last-mile access, GRU built fiber into the (then) BellSouth central offices and connected the parks via either Wholesale Strategy Succeeds for GRU Q&A With Frank Latini, Gainesville Regional Utilities Frank Latini, Gainesville Regional Utilities

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