Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 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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COMMUNITY BROADBAND Number of Municipal FTTP Networks Climbs to 135 More cities – including larger cities – are building fber to homes and businesses. Even more are considering the feasibility of doing so. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities B Communities' count of public and public private fiber-to-thepremises networks now stands at 135, a 15 percent increase from 2012. Te additions to the list include several new projects and a few older projects missed in earlier counts. One network on the list, iProvo, which was built by the Provo, Utah, city government, is about to be privatized for a second time; Google has agreed to purchase it later this year. (See the Q&A with Provo Mayor John Curtis on p. 40 for more details.) Many of these fber networks continue to expand or to add new types of customers and services. Often, a network begins in one community and expands by popular demand into neighboring communities, though in some cases, expansions requested by residents have been quashed by state legislatures. In addition, the number of new projects being planned appears to be higher than ever, with an announcement nearly every week that a community is considering deploying fber or has commissioned a feasibility study. (Of course, not every feasibility study results in a network deployment; see, for example, "Can FTTP Work in Palo Alto?" on p. 46.) roadband DIFFERENT APPROAChES As pointed out in prior years, there is no single model for public broadband. Each project takes a slightly diferent approach, depending on the 22 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com legal and political landscape, the availability of fnancing, the interest of potential partners, and the skills and assets possessed by public agencies. Communities have many options and should explore as many as possible before committing to a plan or deciding that public broadband is not for them. Political opposition to municipal broadband often constrains cities' options. State legislatures impose some constraints; in other cases, opposition comes from within a community. Because the pendulum of public opinion shifts constantly, a broadband project that proves legally or politically impossible one year may become feasible a few years later, even in a conservative community. In several cases, city leaders and broadband activists have succeeded in changing public opinion by educating citizens about the economic and social benefts of highspeed broadband. Some states now actively support municipal broadband projects. For example, in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn launched a competition that will award up to $4 million in funding to ultrahigh-speed broadband deployment projects as part of the Illinois Jobs Now! economic development program. Several awards have already been made. In New York, the Connect NY broadband grants are helping extend high-speed Internet services to unserved communities; some of its projects involve city or county governments as partners. | May/June 2013

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