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 | 55 in their planning area. A signifcant number of planners were also unaware of whether fber to the home or free downtown Wi-Fi services were available in their communities. One reason planners may lack basic knowledge about broadband infrastructure is that, unlike other infrastructure, such as roads, water, sewer and stormwater systems, telecommunications services are most likely to be owned and operated by private-sector enterprises. More than 95 percent of respondents indicated that private, for-proft companies were the providers for DSL, cable and wireless services in their communities. Local government, however, was more likely to be involved in providing downtown Wi-Fi service (42.5 percent of downtown Wi-Fi was provided by local government, compared with 46 percent by the private sector). Although private utilities may be the primary providers of services, planners must still be actively involved in broadband planning to advocate for community interests and coordinate broadband deployment with other capital improvements. INTEGRATING BROADBAND PLANNING INTO LOCAL PLANS Te second part of the survey was designed to assess whether and how planners were integrating broadband strategies into community plans. As part of the ARR A funding for broadband mapping, each state was allocated planning funds to promote broadband deployment and adoption. Te most common use of these funds was to conduct regional broadband planning meetings and establish regional broadband task force groups. In addition to these planning eforts, some local economic development agencies have also undertaken broadband planning eforts. When planners were asked about such task force initiatives, only 22 percent were aware of an existing task force in the community; 47 percent said they didn't know whether a task force even existed. Of those who were aware of a community or regional task Planners responding to a recent survey were largely unfamiliar with the broadband infrastructure in their communities.

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