Broadband Communities

JUL 2012

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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Page 38 of 94

This year's FTTH Top 100 list recognizes the shift of momentum from fiber-to-the-home deployers to communities. A BBC Staff Report T he broadband industry is growing and changing – and so is BROAD- BAND COMMUNITIES' annual Top 100 list. In fact, it has grown to two lists. Tis issue debuts the FTTH Top 100, which celebrates organizations for their contributions to "Building a Fiber- Connected World." Te October 2012 issue will present the MDU Top 100, which celebrates companies that provide technology amenities for multifamily housing. Te two lists will overlap, but separating them allowed BROADBAND COMMUNITIES to track the evolution of the industry in two different directions. In the FTTH industry, momentum is shifting from deployers to communi- ties themselves. Tis is occurring for two reasons. First, communities with- out fiber broadband see that "help is not on the way," as Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance put it in his article in the May-June is- sue of BROADBAND COMMUNITIES. Large deployers have reached the final stages of their planned buildouts, broadband stimulus funds have all been awarded and recent changes to the Universal Ser- vice Fund rules make FTTH financially challenging for small deployers. Second, communities have become aware – thanks to the broadband stimu- lus program, to Google's Fiber for Com- munities program and to some well- publicized municipal successes – that they can take active roles in developing broadband infrastructure. Tis doesn't necessarily mean building public net- works, a route effectively outlawed by a number of states. Alternative paths to FTTH involve forming public-private partnerships, negotiating with tradi- tional deployers in nontraditional ways and encouraging nontraditional de- ployers (rural electric co-ops, ISPs, tech companies and others) to build fiber in their communities. To tip the scales to- ward fiber, communities are also volun- teering to become test beds for advanced applications and services by using their broadband networks for smart-grid ap- plications (or vice versa), by sponsoring application development contests or by participating in broad-based efforts such as US Ignite. Because of this shift to community- led projects, the 2012 FTTH Top 100 list includes not only more community broadband networks than the 2011 BBC Top 100 but also more organiza- ABOUT THE AUTHORS Te FTTH Top 100 list was researched by Marianne Cotter, Rachel Ellner and Kas- sandra Kania and overseen by editor Masha Zager, with added research and analysis from corporate editor Steve Ross. To nominate a company for next year's FTTH Top 100 or for the MDU Top 100 in October, email 28 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | JULY 2012 tions that inspire and help communities to undertake such projects. Last year, one such organization, the Blandin Foundation, was added to the list. Tis year's list also includes the US Ignite Partnership, Gig.U and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, along with a law firm (the Baller Herbst Law Group) and a consulting firm (Gigabit Squared) that focus on helping commu- nities deploy broadband for economic revitalization. October's MDU Top 100 list, by contrast, will showcase the development of technology amenities in multifam- ily housing. Tough fiber to the home is steadily gaining a foothold in the MDU world – the reason for the overlap – the MDU Top 100 will include other broadband technologies as well as solu- tions for in-building cellular coverage, mobile-device connectivity, communi- cations with residents, home automation and other amenities that today's MDU residents demand.

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