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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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 45 Gothenburg, Neb. T he ffth fber community, unlike the others in this story, didn't have to build its own network – in fact, because of Nebraska state laws, it didn't even have the option of doing so. Yet this overlooked community obtained adequate broadband service because of the perseverance of community leaders. Gothenburg is a town of about 3,500 in central Nebraska, far from any major population center. It had DSL, it had cable, it even had fber for business use, but broadband service was generally poor, and prices were extremely high. In recent years, the town's mediocre broadband options made recruiting new businesses difcult, says Nate Wyatt, a local banker who chairs the technology committee of the Gothenburg Improvement Company (GIC), a civic organization dedicated to improving the town's business climate and quality of life. Wyatt explains, "We had great schools, hospitals and churches that we could use to recruit people to come to town, but now connectivity is right up there along with them for a business or a family looking to relocate to the community." He knew communitywide fber infrastructure would be the only permanent solution to the ever-growing demand for bandwidth. Community leaders tried for about nine years to improve broadband in Gothenburg, and GIC was part of this efort for the last fve years. Te incumbent providers were not willing to upgrade their infrastructure nor were other nearby providers interested in overbuilding. Wyatt says, "I myself talked to eight diferent providers, and through that process I started to learn and understand … that a successful business model for an overbuild requires at least 30 percent penetration." Tis key insight allowed Gothenburg to alter its approach to service providers. Even if the town couldn't build a network, it could help create the business case for a private provider. Pinpoint Networks and GIC held a community event to get residents to preregister for gfber.

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