Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2017

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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64 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MARCH/APRIL 2017 TECHNOLOGY Data-Driven Fiber Projects An up-front investment in data can help cities build cost-efficient fiber networks that meet the needs of residents and businesses. By Fabion Kauker and Nick Guy / Biarri Networks F iber infrastructure is now mandatory for any modern municipality looking to improve social and business outcomes for its constituents. However, deploying an FTTx network involves many stakeholders, all of which have unique and complex requirements. Unless municipalities understand all their needs, time and cost blowouts will inevitably result. To overcome these challenges, municipalities have a critical need to invest in data to support planning processes and guide decisions at each stage of an FTTx build. A fully data-driven approach makes it possible to overcome the issues that inhibit network deployments and ultimately deliver • An asset that generates ROI sooner • A less expensive network • A more transparent, efficient end-to-end process. WHY BUILD A FIBER-POWERED GIG CITY? ere are many well-documented trends in technology uptake and bandwidth growth that drive overall internet consumption forecasts. However, it is important to define the primary need in the particular community to be connected. e primary need may be to create greater market competition, improve small- business investment, support critical social services or take a step toward the smart-city movement. In addition, determining core architecture and technology goals is critical, as they impact the timeline, cost, funding options and level of engagement required from the community. Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the first U.S. city to provide full gigabit speeds to the local community. Since then, economist Bento Lobo of the University of Tennessee has documented substantial social and economic benefits of the city's FTTH rollout. e fiber network has so far provided $865 million in benefits for Chattanooga and added more than 2,800 jobs. e ancillary benefits have also supported education, health, small business, the arts and municipal services. e nearby city of Huntsville, Alabama, which is also building out a fiber network, has seen an increase in competition, which ultimately supports more choice for consumers and delivers better overall service. Unlike Chattanooga, Huntsville is retaining ownership of the backbone infrastructure and leases network bandwidth on an open-access basis to providers such as Google Fiber. Other providers, such as AT&T, are building competing fiber networks in Huntsville. ough no two fiber projects are the same, key learnings can be applied, and a wealth of knowledge is available from those who have been part of previous projects. e list of municipal fiber networks on the Broad B and Communities database at provides a great starting point to research other projects. Data on projects' timelines, premises connected, take rates, budgets and geographies can greatly assist in drawing analogies.

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