Broadband Communities

OCT 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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OCTOBER 2017 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 19 cases, state legislatures have quashed expansions requested by residents. Well-run community fiber networks are instrumental in attracting new businesses and retaining existing businesses. e most common rationale for building community networks is to provide businesses with affordable fiber connections; in fact, many networks are built or extended to accommodate specific requests by local businesses. However, community fiber networks do not lead automatically to economic development. ey succeed in doing so when network operators understand what businesses – including home- based businesses – are looking for (price-performance, redundancy, reliability, service level agreements) and when economic development agencies can communicate a network's capabilities to prospective businesses. Similarly, cities use municipal broadband networks to improve There are many ways to define a municipal fiber network. Even state legislatures that want to restrict such networks disagree about what they are restricting. Broad B and Communities identifies networks as municipally owned if a public agency undertakes most of the investment, incurs most of the risk and exercises most of the control over the network. All the MUNI network deployers on this list • Are public agencies, public authorities, public benefit corporations or consortia of public entities • Own all-fiber infrastructure that connects local homes or businesses to the internet (or are actively developing such networks). In most but not all cases, deployers also own the equipment that lights the fiber. In at least one case, Huntsville Utilities, the service provider owns the drop cable; this network could arguably be classified as public- private, but because the municipality is making the great majority of the investment, we classified it as municipal. • Make available – directly or through retailers – such services as voice, internet access or video (or are planning such services) • Are in the United States or U.S. territories. Excluded are municipalities that provide broadband services exclusively for municipal government facilities, schools and other anchor institutions; those that provide broadband services only over cable or wireless networks; and those that serve private customers only by leasing conduit or dark fiber to them. (A few, such as Circa and Huntsville Utilities, lease dark fiber to retail service providers that serve private customers.) This list includes only organizations that have either functioning networks or approved plans and funding. However, plans do not always materialize; every year, one or more listed projects fail to survive. Others, although partially deployed, have stalled. Multiple-municipality projects can achieve economies of scale in construction and operation and, by aggregating demand, can attract third-party service providers more easily. Examples are ECFiber in Vermont, SMBS in Minnesota and OTO Fiber in Maine. Even a network owned by a single town or city may provide service beyond city limits. For example, EPlus Broadband and EPB Fiber Optics in Tennessee both serve areas adjacent to the cities that own them – areas that were already served by their electric utilities. The city of Williamstown, Kentucky, used broadband stimulus funding to expand its community network beyond city borders. (Its original network was hybrid fiber-coax, but the expansion area is FTTH.) In Washington state, though each public utility district builds and operates its own network, most or all belong to the Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet), a coalition of public utility districts that linked their fiber optic networks to achieve economic feasibility in underserved areas. NoaNet offers long-haul transport and last-mile access to wholesale communications providers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Broad B and Communities maintains updated information about community fiber networks and other FTTP deployments in the U.S. on a searchable database at www.fiberville. com. The database field labeled "Community Benefits" contains a wealth of information on the economic development and other benefits of these networks. WHAT'S A MUNICIPAL FIBER NETWORK?

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