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.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 44 of 100

COMMUNITY BROADBAND FastRoads Gathers Speed A stimulus-funded project gets ready to deliver fber services in rural New Hampshire. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities O ne of the few BTOP stimulus projects that include last-mile fber is New Hampshire FastRoads, a collaborative efort of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, Monadnock Economic Development Corporation and 42 New Hampshire towns. FastRoads is a subproject of Network New Hampshire Now, and its backbone consists of 48 strands of a segment of middle-mile fber constructed for that project. In the towns along FastRoads' route, which runs for 161 miles down the western side of New Hampshire, it is constructing laterals from the backbone to 235 community anchor institutions at 167 physical locations. It is also building out two residential areas with fber to the home. Te project is on track to be completed in September 2013, and tests with "friendly" customers will probably begin several months earlier. Two commercial providers are getting ready to serve the community anchor institutions. Even before the frst fber is lit, the network has had an impact: Te threat of competition has already reduced long-term prices for access. Residents of the two FTTH areas are looking forward to the project's being completed; more than 50 percent of the 1,300 households have already agreed to be connected (for the network to meet its fnancial goals, only about 32 percent must take services in the frst year), and some residential lot owners signed connection agreements even before constructing their houses. FastRoads is placing a Corning OptiTap connector at each pole and will build a drop to each household that signs up for services before the end of the grant period. 38 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | SOlvING ThE PUzzlE Broadband stimulus funding and good design aren't all that's needed to make a network successful. A recent conversation with Carole Monroe, FastRoads executive director, highlighted some of the challenges that FastRoads and many other grant recipients face – as well as the creative thought that goes into overcoming them. One major challenge was fnding residential retail providers for the FTTH areas, as the commercial providers that will serve anchor institutions are not prepared to ofer the technical support residential users require. FastRoads approached a wireless provider and an independent phone company in nearby areas; both of them have expressed serious interest in delivering services on this open-access network, and contract discussions are now underway. Another stumbling block is pole attachment rights. Te utility poles along the network backbone are owned by the incumbent telco and the electric utility, and the process for attaching fber to them can take a long time. "We're just getting licenses for poles we requested in 2011," Monroe says. "Te process has to be streamlined if we're going to extend the network." (New Hampshire is one of 21 states whose pole attachment rules pre-empt the federal rules, so any relief will have to come at the state level.) In the meantime, FastRoads will light sections of the network as they are ready rather than waiting for the entire network to be completed. Backhaul costs also pose a challenge. Tough prices have now fallen to between $10 and $15 per Mbps, Monroe would like to | May/June 2013

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Broadband Communities - MAY-JUN 2013