Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2019

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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J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 | 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 7 the stakeholders are, how people want to use broadband and where the pain points are takes time. Local electric utilities are uniquely positioned to solve the rural broadband problem. Every electric utility and electric cooperative needs to consider broadband. Electric utilities own poles and conduit, they have experience working in and maintaining public rights-of-way, and they already connect and maintain wired infrastructures into all homes and businesses. With an understanding of local policies and a long track record of customer service and community involvement, local electric utilities need to be involved with broadband in the communities they serve. Utilities that have not yet considered providing broadband or have decided against broadband often justify the decision by saying "We're an electric company, and that's all we do," or maybe, "We don't run a technology company." All that is fine and is the prerogative of each utility, but at its core, every utility is a poles-and-wires company that is heavily involved with public infrastructure and maintains the public rights-of-way. ese are all important community assets and are the fundamental building blocks for broadband infrastructure. PARTNERSHIP MODELS Providing broadband should not be an all-or-nothing proposition. Broadband- averse utilities can continue to be infrastructure-focused public entities in partnership arrangements and, if necessary, involve private partners to handle the broadband business and customer management. For a utility averse to broadband, this model allows it to maintain its familiar role of taking care of poles and wires, with a private partner to manage every other aspect of the broadband service. Some partnership efforts are too broadly based and fail to get off the ground. Communities talk about broadband for years and do the studies, yet discussions continue. A community suffering from paralysis by analysis can simplify the process by considering the utility as its core infrastructure partner, perhaps identifying an operations partner, and then considering everyone else a customer. e broad-based broadband partnerships advocated through the last decade tend to confuse potential partners with potential customers. Sure, community anchors, institutions and government entities are community partners. All rely on broadband and will put it to its highest use. But at the end of the day, community anchors need to be considered key customers. Over the long term, they will be counted on to help drive revenue to sustain the business plan. KEEPING EARNINGS IN TOWN When communities debate whether to involve utilities in broadband offerings, they might consider utility participation as an economic development activity. People often bemoan the fact that corporations Total Households Subscribing Households Total Subscribers Average Monthly Cost Estimated Yearly Leakage 52,309 88.7% 46,387 $127.02 $70,705,932 AT&T (DSL) 8,463 $115.54 $11,733,780 Charter (Cable) 19,783 $125.86 $29,878,661 Comcast (Cable) 8,356 $135.38 $13,574,823 TDS (DSL) 6,428 $147.09 $11,345,934 WOW (Cable) 1,893 $99.61 $2,262,741 Satellite 1,464 $108.72 $1,909,993 Table 1: Estimated broadband expenditures in a two-county rural area Ready Solutions for Residential Fiber BDO Fiber Distribution Pedestals Non-metallic ber splice pedestals for both green eld and brown eld FTTP, with a variety of sizes supporting 48 to 576 bers and ber-only or copper/ ber splice points OHC288 Outdoor Fiber Hub Cabinet Flexible ber distribution to up to 288 subscribers from a compact pad, pole or wall mount cabinet. Front splice compartment and rear distribution compartment accessible through separate doors Charles Fiber Flexibility Points Scalable, low cost alternative to placing a large cabinet ber distribution hub in the outside plant. Available in 72, 96,144 and 288 ber counts with support for ribbon or loose tube ber

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