Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2014

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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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 41 which localities and companies partner to speed new construction. Tis public facilitation of private investment requires not only a willing locality but also a true partner from the private sector – a partner that is willing and able to invest in state-of-the-art networks. 1 Indeed, the single most important factor to make a strategy of private investment in broadband viable is a willing, able private partner – and in the event such a partner emerges, a range of measures exists to facilitate that partner's investment. Even if no willing and able private partner exists, a community can choose to build and perhaps operate a network, subject to the authority granted by its state. Strategies that advance broadband deployment can be grouped into three general categories: • Ways to facilitate access to key assets such as fber, conduit, utility poles and real estate • Ways to make useful information available to potential broadband service providers • Ways to streamline and publicize essential local processes. Tis list is not exhaustive nor are these strategies guaranteed to result in new construction in a community, but they have the potential to reduce deployment costs for either the community or a private partner. LEASE ACCESS TO KEY ASSETS Every community owns assets that can reduce the need to construct some elements of new networks and thereby reduce total up-front capital costs. New network deployments can beneft enormously from access to existing community fber strands located both underground and on utility poles, underground communications conduit in which fber can be placed and real estate where equipment or exterior huts can be located. Community fber and conduit represent valuable assets, particularly where construction is costly or difcult, such as in urban areas; at crossings of bridges, waterways and rail lines; at key building entries; and alongside major roads. Because each fber cable has dozens or hundreds of separate fber strands and each fber optic strand has enormous capacity, a community can sell or lease excess strands within a fber bundle without compromising the original purpose of the fber (such as internal communications or trafc management). Excess strands in a local network can help a provider establish a network backbone. If the locality's fber covers the key parts of the community, it can provide an immediate way to establish a point of presence in those key areas. 2 A locality's available conduit can also assist in broadband deployment. Placing fber cables in existing conduit can reduce a provider's need for construction – lowering its capital costs and time to build. In leasing its existing fber or conduit, the community benefts by speeding deployment, reducing damage and disruption to rights-of-way and obtaining lease revenue. 3 Although not all communities have built their own fber or conduit, almost all localities own real estate in locations that can help make a new network more feasible. Tey can enhance network deployment by providing access to secure spaces for network equipment and operations. Secure spaces can be used for a regional or communitywide central data center or network operations center. Communities can also host the network equipment that must be placed in or near the neighborhoods where homes and businesses will be connected to fber – areas in which localities frequently own real estate and secure buildings. In CTC's experience, access to these assets can decrease the cost of initial buildout of physical infrastructure, potentially reducing total outside-plant and hub construction costs by up to 8 percent, depending on how far the community's infrastructure extends. FACILITATE CONSTRUCTION To help build key assets such as conduit and fber, consider enacting policies that facilitate and encourage their construction. "Dig-once" policies open streets and rights-of-way to utility construction when related projects are underway, thus realizing efciencies in network construction by giving multiple entities the opportunity to place their facilities – resulting in a more uniform and efcient means of constructing network infrastructure. Such policies also protect roads and sidewalks from frequent, life-shortening cuts and minimize trafc and other disruption from utility construction. Dig-once opportunities are frequently followed by a moratorium on further construction for a year or more to incentivize providers to build together and realize these efciencies. Even if private partners do not place conduit, a locality can use dig-once opportunities to install its own conduit and fber – which can be made available to private entities in the future. Tis outcome is particularly valuable in areas where construction costs are high or in highly congested rights-of-way where construction can be more disruptive. Construction of public fber and conduit entails costs for a locality, as does efcient administration of a dig- once policy. However, the resulting beneft can be dramatic. FACILITATE ACCESS TO UTILITY POLES A critical item for any government or company building new broadband facilities is access to utility poles. Optimally, the network builder will secure efcient access to the poles and Use of existing public conduit or fber can reduce up-front construction costs for outside plant by as much as 8 percent. BBC_Jan14.indd 41 1/27/14 1:45 PM

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