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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RURAL BROADBAND 4 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 | J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 Building a Community Vision The technology challenge for a rural community is closing the gap between the digital infrastructure that is profitable for commercial providers but serves only part of the community and the infrastructure necessary to serve all community members. Local leaders, driven by a clear, aspirational vision of their community's future, can proactively address this gap. By Michael Curri / Strategic Networks Group C ommunities face many challenges. at is nothing new. However, the increasing breadth of the challenges and the accelerating pace of change are new. ese stresses put more and more demands on community leaders to lead and keep pace in an ever-changing world, often with limited or decreasing budgets. Standing still will not solve these problems, yet a vision for moving forward is not a given, and developing one is no simple task. Adapting to and embracing change requires a vision of the future to overcome inertia. Change will happen, either on your terms or on others' terms. is is especially true of changes in technology and, in particular, broadband, which is essential digital infrastructure for any community. Like many cities today, Sanford, Florida, frequently receives requests from multiple service providers for access to rights-of-way and pole attachments for small-cell deployments. Dealing with such requests piecemeal places additional demands on municipal resources and is potentially disruptive. Worse, it forces officials to make decisions without the context of a broader strategy and vision. In the absence of a vision for a community's digital infrastructure, technology choices will be imposed by residents' demands and commercial pressures from service providers. is can result in an uncoordinated patchwork of solutions that the community must react to at an accelerating pace rather than an integrated platform of solutions that places the community in control of its future. It is up to local leaders to create a clear, aspirational vision for their community's future. To help the city address these concerns, Strategic Networks Group and its engineering partner, Neel-Schaffer, reached out to Sanford's planning director, Russ Gibson, who is now considering workshops with the city's planning, permitting, and engineering groups about small cells, wireless technologies, and broadband and the FCC's recent actions on these subjects. e goal of the workshops is to provide city leaders and staff with a better understanding of where these technologies and policies are headed, how new technologies can benefit the city's businesses and residents, and how to mitigate any negative impacts to the community. e city is also implementing a new permitting system to streamline the application and review process for any site development. rough these actions, Sanford is taking the first steps toward developing a vision that ensures its digital future. BUILDING BLOCKS OF A VISION Each community needs to develop a set of guiding principles for its approach to

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