Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 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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COMMUNITY BROADBAND 2 0 | 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 | N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 Cooperatives and Rural Broadband Underserved communities can provide broadband for themselves through nonprofit, cooperative entities. Many co-ops that were originally set up to provide phone service and distribute electricity now deliver broadband as well. By Lisa Gonzalez / Institute for Local Self-Reliance R esidents of U.S. cities typically have at least one and often two options for internet access. ough such a limited choice may not qualify as robust competition, it's often better than the options available to those who live in rural areas. Many national corporate ISPs have stated unequivocally that they will invest in rural regions only with subsidies from federal and/ or state sources. In sparsely populated areas, the amount of investment is too high to connect premises, and returns are too low to satisfy shareholders. People who live and work in rural areas, however, are following the example of farmers who wanted electricity in the 1930s and joined forces to form cooperatives to electrify rural America. is time, they have the benefit of established electric and telephone cooperatives that already deliver services and have infrastructure in place. Rural electric and telephone cooperatives are fiberizing rural America. Following are a few examples of the hundreds of successful cooperative projects. TAYLOR ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE LIGHTS FIBER Taylor Electric Cooperative, which serves members in the Abilene, Texas, region, commenced an FTTH internet access pilot project in December 2017. It plans to expand the service, called Access Fiber, to reach more members and possibly even premises where it doesn't provide electric service. e first of the cooperative's four phases brought service to an apartment complex and two residential subdivisions. One residential subdivision is located next to a Taylor EC satellite office, which is also used for network electronics. By beginning at this location, engineers could deploy at a low cost and on a short timeline. e co-op could also quickly discover and resolve issues with the service before moving on to the other phases. After finishing connections to the first subdivision, engineers focused on the rest of the first phase – aerial connections to the apartment complex and the second neighborhood. Lots in the second neighborhood are smaller, giving Taylor EC the opportunity to learn techniques for connecting a range of densities as it expands the project. Engineers decided to house the fiber for the second half of the first phase in underground conduit to protect it from the area's ice storms and tornadoes. e co-op is using CrowdFiber, a demand aggregation service, to determine where to deploy next. Members can express their interest Taylor Electric Cooperative started building FTTH adjacent to an office it used for network electronics. This allowed it to deliver quickly and at a low cost.

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