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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N O V E M B E R / D E C 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 | 3 1 opposition from incumbent Comcast in a local referendum. As Diana Nucera of Detroit's Equitable Internet Initiative (EII) points out in episode 323 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, she and her colleagues who lead the program are technically savvy, but some of the most important skills they offer involve community organizing. "...[T]he one thing that we've learned that kind of goes across the board is this idea of ensuring that community organizing is a large part of building infrastructure, and it's not just based in tech or tech heads, and that there needs to be a diversity of people at the table to build these systems." e project, which aims to connect lower-income neighborhoods left behind by big ISPs, partners with a range of stakeholders, including faith-based and community-focused organizations. e small, rural town of Leverett, Massachusetts, decided to fund and deploy a publicly owned network by imposing a modest property tax increase. To keep the public engaged and informed, it held many public informational meetings where residents could ask questions, comment, and share their own research. To be ultra-transparent and provide ample opportunity for public feedback, Leverett elected officials decided to hold meetings every week as the community considered funding the project. SIMPLIFY PERMITTING AND LEASING PRACTICES Complex permitting processes can be a roadblock to broadband investment. Confusing bureaucratic application systems and unpredictable waiting periods for approvals can discourage vendors and slow down investment. Communities that simplify and streamline this process provide vendors with the predictability that encourages investment. As vendors seek to deploy an increasing number of small cells in local communities, this preparation is especially important. Next-generation networks will require many small cells for every one macro cell tower relied upon by current fixed wireless and mobile networks, and cities across the United States are already grappling with an influx of permits. Creating a set of pre-approved small cell designs can expedite the approval and deployment process. e city of Huntington Beach, California, worked with providers to create four pre- approved designs for small cells. e city's sustainability manager, Antonia Graham, describes the benefit: "ese designs are now integrated into our permitting process, so if carriers' deployments fit one of the four standards, they are free to follow a streamlined, over-the-counter application process to receive permits from the city. As we developed these design standards, we had a few carriers push back with their own ideas, and we actually ended up incorporating their designs into our permitting process. Collaborating with carriers to develop these designs was integral to ensuring that the permitting process would work for not only the city but the providers as well." e city of Riverside, California, created a "one-stop permitting shop" to address complaints about its disorganized and confusing permit application process. e shop, located on one floor of City Hall, brings together representatives from all seven departments involved in city permitting, and a triage process ensures that applicants know exactly what steps they must take to apply for their permits. e shop uses customer data to ensure the process is as smooth and pain-free as possible. Lincoln, Nebraska, simplified the permitting process by breaking department molds and grouping together all city staff that work on locating utilities in the city rights-of- way. is method made communication easier among staff and cut a clearer path forward for wireless providers. Creating clear practices that simplify access to municipal assets also encourages investment and facilitates collaboration with partners. e city of Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, created a template lease agreement for leasing out its fiber assets. e template includes lease rates determined through a fiber study conducted by CTC Technology & Energy. e template agreement provides structure so that the city won't be caught flat-footed when approached by parties hoping to use its assets. e template is also flexible, allowing modifications to accommodate specific needs. Find the city's template lease agreement at https://tinyurl.com/y7ucdv6o. v Next Century Cities, a nonprofit organization, supports mayors and community leaders as they seek to ensure that everyone has fast, affordable and reliable internet access. Next Century Cities' upcoming toolkit was sponsored by Neighborly and the Internet Society (ISOC). FACILITATING 5G WIRELESS ROLLOUT As the conversation around 5G gains traction nationally, municipalities face increased pressure from wireless providers to deploy small cells. Additionally, state legislation and FCC actions have severely limited local control over small-cell installation. Communities of all shapes and sizes will benefit from proactively defining aesthetic standards, streamlining their permitting practices and simplifying leasing agreements. Clarity and communication will lead to the most mutually beneficial 5G partnerships. Find action steps that your community can take to facilitate rollout in Next Century Cities' guide to the FCC Order and in the upcoming toolkit.

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