Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 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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FTTH DEPLOYMENT | 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 | M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 9 Mahaska Communication Group Lights Iowa Towns Frustrated with its connectivity options, a manufacturer built its own fiber connection. One step led to another, and now the company is changing lives throughout a rural Iowa county. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities Y ou could call Mahaska Communication Group (MCG) an accidental ISP – but even though it started building a fiber network by accident, it doubled down on its investment and is now bringing world-class broadband to rural residents in south-central Iowa. Like several other competitive ISPs, MCG began as one company's effort to provide broadband for itself. Musco Lighting makes the equipment that illuminates everything from Little League fields and Olympic stadiums to the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Mount Rushmore. e company is a technology innovator whose lighting solutions reduce energy use and glare – and it executes complex projects worldwide from its corporate headquarters in Oskaloosa, Iowa, a town of 11,000 that Steve Burnett, assistant general manager of MCG, describes as "an hour away from anything." Musco Lighting needs to be in close contact with clients around the world, and it operates a remote facility management system for its clients. By the year 2000, it needed more bandwidth than it could obtain from the incumbent telephone provider. e owner of the company decided to build fiber to company headquarters, bypassing the incumbent. Stringing fiber, whether for direct connections or wireless backhaul, is relatively easy for Musco because it is accustomed to erecting poles for lighting; putting up poles for broadband, if necessary, is all in a day's work. When others in the community found out about Musco's fiber, they were eager to take advantage of it. Musco created a subsidiary, MCG, to serve customers, and over a period of several years, it connected a local college, schools, municipal offices and large businesses in Oskaloosa. Finally, between 2003 and 2005, it made fiber connections available to the entire town, less as a profit-making venture than to satisfy this underserved community. (is early FTTH deployment was featured in the September 2006 issue of Broad B and Communities .) A MUNICIPAL PARTNERSHIP In 2006, MCG partnered with the municipal broadband network in the nearby city of Indianola. Originally, MCG provided the fiber backhaul and internet services for Indianola Municipal Utilities' business customers. In 2010, the utility began an FTTH project that covered about a quarter of the city, and it opened its network to any service provider that wanted to lease fiber – but MCG was still the only ISP willing to deliver services. In 2016, the city commissioned a feasibility study, which recommended that the utility build out the

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