Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 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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26 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MAY/JUNE 2014 FTTH CONFERENCE & EXPO Fiber Is on Fire Fan the fames at the FTTH Conference & Expo, June 23–25 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. By Heather Burnett Gold / President, Fiber to the Home Council Americas F or years, companies, advocates and community leaders have worked to extol the benefts of fber-fed, next-generation networks for communities, businesses and economic competitiveness. Te more than 800 fber-to-the-home providers in North America have built business cases, established unique partnerships and funding strategies, planned networks and then literally laid the groundwork for the digital future in communities throughout the country. Now, interest in and enthusiasm for fber-to-the-home networks is at an all-time high, and fber is on fre. Tough it may seem that an unseen spark lit the idea of ultra-fast broadband supported by fber, the spark never would have happened without the prior work and preparation by those early adopters and visionaries. Now, communities are clamoring for world-leading bandwidth to support economic development, create jobs and maintain global competitiveness in the 21st century. Te most visible expression of this phenomenon was the 1,100 communities that responded to Google's initial ofer of its fber product. Since then, strategies have difered, but communities and companies are standing up and taking notice of the necessity of fber networks – from Los Angeles to Chicago, Seattle to Omaha, Raleigh to Quitman, Miss. More fber is still needed. In too many places, people worry whether they have enough bandwidth to power the devices they connect to the Internet at home. A TV in one room with a gaming console, a few laptops running online video or chat programs, a home ofce where someone might actually be trying to work – it adds up. Slow connections and aging infrastructure leave people unable to take advantage of broadband benefts. Tere are reasons to be positive about the possibility of communities' taking charge of their bandwidth destinies. And just as fber is on fre, so is the FTTH Council. Last summer, the FTTH Council proposed the Gigabit Communities Race to the Top – a plan for the FCC to fund experiments to bring cost-efective, next-generation fber to unserved and underserved rural areas. And the FCC agreed: In January, the Commission announced a program that will ofer grants to communities or providers that develop the best ways of delivering connectivity in unserved or underserved areas, providing world-leading bandwidth at afordable rates, increasing adoption and connecting public facilities. Approximately 20 states have laws that prohibit or limit municipalities' creating their own broadband infrastructures to compete against private companies. At the Fiber to the Home Council, we've long counseled against and fought against such restrictions. We want all entities to be able to participate in building leading-edge networks throughout the country – ILECs, CLECs, utilities and municipalities. Just a few weeks ago, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, "Removing legal restrictions on municipal broadband could enhance Internet access competition." He has committed to look for ways to use the Commission's authority to do away with those rules. Tough the private sector has undertaken the vast majority of all- fber deployments, communities need to be able to get this essential infrastructure where the private sector is unable to deploy. BBC_May14.indd 26 5/29/14 9:16 AM

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