Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 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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10 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 COMMUNITY BROADBAND Number of Community FTTP Networks Reaches 143 Despite the privatization of several community broadband networks, the number of public and public-private fber networks continues to climb. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities B roadband Communities' count of public and public-private fber-to-the- premises network projects now stands at 143, a 6 percent increase from 2013. Tis small change in the total count masks larger changes in the composition of the list. Additions to the list include a number of new projects as well as a few older, under-the- radar networks that were missing from earlier lists. Tese older networks identifed for the frst time were typically built strictly for municipal purposes – that is, to connect municipal ofces or substations of municipal electric utilities – and later extended to connect a few nearby businesses. Networks of this type attract little attention outside or even inside their service areas, so it's possible there are many more that we haven't yet discovered. Deletions from the list include several pending projects that were abandoned when their anticipated fnancing failed to materialize. Two of these, in Seattle and Chicago, attracted quite a lot of attention both when they launched and when they fzzled, and these projects may well be resurrected in some form. Also deleted from the list were several functioning fber-to-the-home networks, built by municipalities, that were sold and are now being operated by private companies. iProvo, built by the Provo, Utah, city government, was privatized for the second time when Google bought it in 2013. In addition, community fber networks in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Virginia and Wisconsin were sold. Typically, communities sell their fber networks because they lack the managerial or fnancial resources to operate them professionally, market them adequately or keep their technology up to date. Not all these projects can be considered failures, even if they were sold at a loss. Sometimes building a fber network and then selling it to the private sector is the best or even the only way for a community to acquire adequate broadband infrastructure. Additional networks are likely to be privatized in the near future to access more secure funding streams for growth and upgrades. As of press time, the cities of North Kansas City, Mo., and Burlington, Vt., were considering seeking buyers for their networks, and several UTOPIA communities were negotiating with Macquarie Capital for a long- term lease arrangement. Despite these sales, the majority of community fber networks appear to be self- sustaining or even proftable. Many continue to expand or add new types of customers and services. Often, a municipal fber 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. More important, well-run community fber networks are instrumental in attracting

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