Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2015

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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14 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 COMMUNITY BROADBAND Census of Community Fiber Networks Rises to 165 A spate of new projects increases BroadBand Communities ' list of community networks by 15 percent over last year. Many more fber networks are being planned. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities B roadband Communities ' count of public and public-private fber-to-the- premises network projects now stands at 165, a 15 percent increase over last year's count of 143. As usual, additions to the list include a few that should have been included on earlier lists but were overlooked. However, the great majority are new projects – some pilot deployments in single neighborhoods and others more comprehensive. Fourteen new community fber projects have been announced in 2015 alone. More potential community fber projects appear to be in the works than at any time in history. As many as 200 communities are actively exploring the possibility of building fber to homes or businesses. Some initiatives will fzzle out, and others will spur incumbent providers to upgrade their existing networks. However, some will likely result in the creation of municipal or public-private networks. Indeed, a few initiatives are almost ready to launch. For example, WiredWest, a coalition of several dozen Western Massachusetts towns that has been planning for fve years to build an FTTH network, is very close to pushing the "go" button. Twenty-three WiredWest communities have already passed bond authorizations totaling $36 million, which will qualify them for $19 million in state funding. In addition, more than 7,000 would-be subscribers have put down deposits for service. A year ago, reporting on several cities that had sold their networks to private entities, I wrote, "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." Tis prediction was not entirely borne out. To the best of our knowledge, no community networks have been fully privatized in the last year, though some fnancially struggling communities continue to look for help from the private sector. North Kansas City leased its network to a private company, and Burlington sold its telecom assets to a private company and leased them back again. Both cities remain involved with their networks. Te UTOPIA communities' negotations with Macquarie have not reached any conclusion. Recently, Tacoma, Wash., began considering a public-private partnership for its underperforming Click! Network (which is mostly HFC but ofers some fber connections for businesses). Despite the well-publicized fnancial difculties some community broadband networks have encountered, the majority of community fber networks appear to be self- sustaining or even proftable. Many continue to expand year after year or to add new types

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