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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44 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | OCTOBER 2017 COMMUNITY BROADBAND Topics in Community Broadband C learfield's fiber management equipment is used in many community broadband networks, and the company is known for working closely with small deployers – municipalities, telcos and others – to solve specific problems. Recently, Broad B and Communities had an opportunity to speak with Cheri Beranek, CEO of Clearfield, about current challenges and strategies for municipal fiber deployments. Following are highlights of that discussion. BROADBAND COMMUNITIES: What's driving the current boom in municipal fiber deployments? CHERI BERANEK: We're seeing broad interest from municipalities that are not getting the service they believe their communities deserve – and require – for quality of life or economic development that will let them compete in national and global markets. BBC: What challenges do they face? CB: ere are many obstacles keeping them from making the leap forward from the "kicking the tires" stage. Two examples are financial obligations and technical competency. Even broadband service providers that are currently operating telephone or cable networks are not experts in this climate, and novices in the marketplace are definitely looking for help and assistance. ey're being cautious; they're not just jumping in with both feet. Clearfield actually views municipalities as similar to telephone companies, especially if they already operate utility infrastructure. ose that do are the best structured to build and operate networks. BBC: What does Clearfield offer in the way of " help and assistance"? CB: Clearfield College, which we offer at no cost, is a technical program run by some of our application engineers, who have built networks for telcos, cable companies or the military. We also have a program in which we sit down with municipalities and draw a small subdivision – say 288 homes – and show them how we would build an optimal network. We pay engineering firms to provide models as proofs of concept for the municipalities to work through viability and feasibility studies. en they can work with consultants to develop more specific plans and learn what they're doing without having to put out a lot of money up front. BBC: How does a municipal build differ from a telco build? CB: Really, building a network isn't very different for a municipality and a private enterprise. Municipalities sometimes get caught up in the idea of having to treat everyone equally, but we encourage them to think about it the way a private business would, by proving it out first. ey've received the idea of stepping stones really well. ey're much more viable entities if they can take it slow and prove it out. In fact, as long as a municipality owns the rights of way and controls the permitting process, it has an inherent advantage. e difficulty isn't so much how to build the network but how to operate it with all the nuances – and that information is more difficult for us to offer. BBC: Is that why so many municipalities are exploring public-private partnerships? CB: Yes. e limitation for private carriers is that there's only so much capex to Q&A with Cheri Beranek, CEO of Clearfield

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