Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2013

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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Editor's Note The Gigabit City Challenge CEO & EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Scott DeGarmo PREsIDEnT Jeffrey M. Reiman PUBLIsHER Nancy McCain CORPORATE EDITOR, BBP LLC Steven S. Ross EDITOR Masha Zager ADVERTIsInG sALEs Irene G. Prescott MARkETInG sPECIALIsT Meredith Terrall OnLInE nEws EDITOR Marianne Cotter DEsIGn & PRODUCTIOn Karry Thomas COnTRIBUTORs Joe Bousquin David Daugherty, Korcett Holdings Inc. Joan Engebretson Richard Holtz, InfiniSys W. James MacNaughton, Esq. Henry Pye, RealPage Bryan Rader, Bandwidth Consulting LLC Robert L. Vogelsang, Broadband Communities Magazine BROADBAnD PROPERTIEs LLC CEO Scott DeGarmo PREsIDEnT Jeffrey M. Reiman VICE PREsIDEnT, BUsInEss & OPERATIOns Nancy McCain AUDIEnCE DEVELOPMEnT/DIGITAL sTRATEGIEs Norman E. Dolph CHAIRMAn OF THE BOARD Robert L. Vogelsang VICE CHAIRMEn The Hon. Hilda Gay Legg Kyle Hollifield BUsInEss & EDITORIAL OFFICE BROADBAnD PROPERTIEs LLC 1909 Avenue G Rosenberg, Tx 77471 281.342.9655, Fax 281.342.1158 Broadband Communities (ISSN 0745-8711) (USPS 679050) (Publication Mail Agreement #1271091) is published 7 times a year at a rate of $24 per year by Broadband Properties LLC, 1909 Avenue G, Rosenberg, TX 77471. Periodical postage paid at Rosenberg, TX, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Broadband Communities, PO Box 303, Congers, NY 10920-9852. CANADA POST: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Copyright © 2013 Broadband Properties LLC. All rights reserved. 20 FCC Chairman Genachowski issued a challenge to the nation's mayors to build at least one gigabit community per state. Will they be able to meet it? I n January, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski issued a gigabit city challenge. Addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors, he called for at least one community per state to build a network that ofers 1 Gbps Internet access to residents by 2015. At gigabit speed, he said, "Networks cease to be hurdles to applications, so it no longer matters whether medical data, high-defnition video or online services are in the same building or miles away across the state. Gigabit communities spur innovators to create new businesses and industries, spark connectivity among citizens and services and incentivize investment in high-tech industries." A critical mass of gigabit communities, he said, would provide an impetus to application developers to create the next generation of broadband applications. I applaud Chairman Genachowski for recognizing the importance of ultrahigh-speed broadband networks and urging local leaders to rise to his challenge. Te technical support he promised – a clearinghouse for best practices and workshops to disseminate knowledge – will surely be valuable. However, I question whether the goal of one gigabit community per state is ambitious enough and whether the FCC could do more to promote the buildout of gigabit networks. Te chairman glossed over some important distinctions. Is a gigabit network one that has the capacity to deliver gigabit speeds to residents? If so, his goal has long since been met. Twenty-four million households in thousands of U.S. com- munities have access to fber to the home, and the great majority of FTTH networks can easily deliver gigabit speeds to consumers – sometimes with no changes at all, sometimes with the replacement of inexpensive optical network terminals in consumers' homes. Is a gigabit network one that actually ofers gigabit speeds to residents? If so, the number is much smaller – about 25 providers ofer gigabit speeds in 42 communities, according to the FTTH Council's estimate. Is a gigabit network one that ofers gigabit speeds to residents at prices comparable to what most U.S. households pay for broadband? If so, the only three such networks I am aware of - though there may be others – are operated by, Google Fiber and CityLink Fiber, competitive ISPs ofering 1 Gbps service for less than $80 per month. Yet gigabit-speed broadband won't have the impacts Chairman Genachowski speaks of unless most households can aford it. Why do only a few thousand U.S. households have gigabit-speed broadband today? In brief: lack of competition, short investment time horizons, regulatory hurdles and uncertainty, lack of next-generation applications and the high cost of Internet bandwidth. I'll address these in later columns – but the chairman's gigabit challenge does little or nothing to remove any of these obstacles. See you at the Summit! | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | January/February 2013

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