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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46 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 COMMUNITY BROADBAND At a social event in the summer of 2013, Wyatt met Tom Shoemaker, VP of Pinpoint Communications, an independent telco based in southwestern Nebraska. Te two began discussing fber infrastructure and found that they seemed to be perfectly matched. Pinpoint had successfully built an FTTH network in two towns in its ILEC territory and hoped to bring this technology to other communities. According to Chris Karn, the company's chief operating ofcer, Pinpoint was looking for "a community that fully understood the benefts of FTTH, that would strongly back an efort to come in and be competitive with the incumbents and that was relatively close to our long-haul transport. … It was important to us to be able to carry our own trafc and to use our existing headend." Gothenburg was a community that needed a fber network, and it was only about 30 miles distant from Pinpoint's long- haul fber. But could Gothenburg guarantee the magic 30 percent take rate? SURVEYING THE COMMUNITY In February 2014, Pinpoint and GIC developed a survey to determine whether Gothenburg would be able to support a new communications company. GIC partnered with the city to distribute the survey; GIC paid for printing and postage, and the city inserted the survey into the electricity bill for every household and business. Tough the city's participation was limited by law, city ofcials were enthusiastic about the project. "We have always been a community that takes challenges head on," says Mike Bacon, the Gothenburg city attorney. "When we set a goal, we know the whole community will come together to achieve it." Te community responded as Bacon knew it would. "Initially we hoped to receive around 500 surveys back," says Karla Whipple, the sales and marketing manager for Pinpoint Communications. "Te number of responses just blew us away." Community leaders spread the word about taking the surveys. Tey attended local organization meetings, spoke after church services, held lunch-and-learns at work, posted on Facebook, published letters to the editor and gave radio interviews. Angie Richeson, the tech integration specialist for Gothenburg Public Schools, even made a video explaining the need to take the surveys. Business leaders strongly supported the project; even a physical therapist helped senior citizens complete the survey as he traveled around town to in-home appointments. Te result: More than 1,300 households and ONECOMMUNITY ISSUES A CHALLENGE GRANT Cleveland-based OneCommunity is the nonproft operator of a middle-mile fber network that connects anchor institutions in Northeast Ohio. It was in many ways the inspiration for the BTOP broadband stimulus program. Recently it spun of a for-proft service provider to serve area businesses, and in August it launched a new initiative that – with luck – will also inspire others. OneCommunity announced that it is ofering up to $2 million to municipalities in its territory as grants for municipally led, communitywide fber construction projects based on the OneCommunity network. It invited communities to be creative in imagining how they would best put its infrastructure to use by connecting "community anchor institutions, government facilities and business districts in an efort to attract and retain the innovative and entrepreneurial businesses of the 21st century." Applications are due by October 3, 2014. Funding will be provided through a public- private partnership approach, with the grant funding accounting for up to 25 percent of the total project costs. SEEKING CREATIVE PROPOSALS "We are excited to have the opportunity to engage with cities and municipalities across Northeast Ohio. We anticipate that the Challenge Grant will inspire and educate cities about the limitless possibilities available to them through OneCommunity's network," says OneCommunity CEO Lev Gonick. "The challenge is for them to get creative and explore and articulate the potential opportunities and relationships that are available utilizing our gigabit connectivity." Interested parties must submit a letter of interest detailing project goals, desired economic development outcomes and potential community anchor institutions involved to Liz Forester at Challenge@onecommunity. org. Videos and visual addendum items that cannot be emailed should be addressed to Liz Forester, OneCommunity, 800 West St. Clair Avenue, Second Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44113. "At its best, this challenge should inspire creativity," Gonick adds. "We are hoping that the cities have fun developing their concepts. We are looking for responses that extend beyond a written proposal, perhaps including video or other more unconventional means." A review committee of OneCommunity staf and a select group of industry partners will evaluate the fnal entries. Municipalities with proposals that advance beyond the frst round of the challenge will be invited to a one-day workshop to engage with OneCommunity's in-house design and engineering team. The team will provide technical assistance in the development of a vibrant, competitive and catalytic digital infrastructure proposal. Information and applications are available at

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