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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MAY/JUNE 2014 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 57 though network builders generally prefer to lease fber strands, which involves lower risk and responsibility than leasing wavelengths. (Better to be "fber rich and electronics simple," in Smeltzer's words.) Leasing conduit space is also possible and is sometimes the only option when network builders face legal or political obstacles to leasing fber or wavelengths – though Hovis called sharing conduit a "maintenance and operations nightmare." However, an audience member from a municipal network said his organization had mitigated this problem by using separate manholes. Will Aycock, manager of Greenlight Community Broadband in Wilson, N.C., spoke about Greenlight's approach to demand aggregation – which might be best described as organic growth. Greenlight began by connecting public facilities, both occupied (town ofces) and unoccupied (electric utility equipment, industrial electric meters, surveillance cameras and so forth). Once public agencies realized the benefts of the network, he said, they quickly added more endpoints. "Public safety folks love cameras," he said. Schools, libraries, community colleges and nonproft agencies were next on Greenlight's list. "Ten others see what you're doing and ask, 'When can I have it?' Major employers decided they needed diverse connections for redundancy, and so did health care providers. Ten people started asking us, 'Hey, do you have rack space available in your facility?'" (Greenlight didn't, but it's now expanding its headend to accommodate colocation.) By this time, residents began asking for connections, and Greenlight's biggest problem became how to prioritize all the requests. Public-Private Partnerships for Gigabit Fiber Businesses in College Station, Texas, had difculty recruiting technical workers because they lacked broadband capacity, said James Benham, president and CEO of JB Knowledge Technologies. However, the city municipal utility had many assets that were potentially valuable to broadband providers. It owned poles and conduits and had empty conduits, dark fber and splice points available. Te city decided it wanted a private partner to build and operate a network and was willing to ofer incentives. College Station raised $125,000, joined Gig.U and issued an RFP for a vendor to provide better broadband. It received responses from several vendors, the best of which, Benham said, were local ISPs that were already serving parts of the community. Te business community and chamber of commerce jumped on board, as did economic development ofcials. "We can get 100 Mbps to everyone pretty fast on copper," Benham said. "Ten we'll go to fber." Project funding will be in the form of economic development rebates and credits. "It's still cheaper than their cost of capital or debt," Benham added. C SPIRE FIBER In Mississippi, the initiative in public- private ventures is coming not from the public sector but from a private company – C Spire Fiber. Gregg Logan, senior vice president of C Spire, said his company began building fber to cell towers in 1999 and developed a backbone fber infrastructure as a result. Ten it started targeting nearby businesses that it could serve with fber and sold them services such as VoIP; it even built out a few small rural towns with residential FTTH. In December 2013, Logan said, Duncan Ramage, Macquarie Gregg Logan, C Spire Fiber James Benham, JB Knowledge Technologies BBC_May14.indd 57 5/29/14 9:18 AM

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