Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2018

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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M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 2 5 UBIQUITOUS FIBER e success of the downtown conduit project inspired city leaders to consider a citywide fiber build. Residents, like businesses, were complaining about the lack of broadband competition, and the mayor believed a gigabit option would benefit the city. In 2015, Allo Communications approached Lincoln with a proposal to lease the remaining space in the city's conduit, place additional conduit throughout the city and build out fiber to every home and business by 2019. Allo is a competitive service provider that operates in communities throughout Nebraska. (In its first out-of-state venture, it recently agreed to deliver services in Fort Morgan, Colorado.) Its philosophy is not to cherry-pick neighborhoods but to deploy quickly and serve entire communities with ubiquitous fiber. In return, it expects cities to help make deployment as "hassle-free" as possible. e city had a similar interest in getting fiber to all premises quickly, with a minimum of hassle. Young says, "Stop wasting time talking – just make the agreement and go forward. Cities waste an inordinate amount of time on studies, figuring out best deal. Getting the infrastructure deployed is the best deal!" Not surprisingly, the two parties quickly reached an agreement. Brad Moline, CEO of Allo, says, "We met with the Lincoln mayor; six months later, we had a deal, and 10 months later, we had customers. In some other communities, we've talked for five years and still have nothing." THE ART OF THE DEAL e 25-year agreement between Allo and Lincoln was designed to yield benefits for both sides. Allo leased about 1.7 million linear feet in the city's conduit – mostly in the downtown area and arterial roads, which would have been prohibitively expensive for Allo to dig – and is building another 6.5 million linear feet of conduit on its own. e lease amount was negotiated based on the city's capital and operating costs, on the one side, and the provider's cost avoidance, on the other, but unlike most leases, it is based on the number of customers served rather than on the number of feet leased. "Our incentives are aligned," Young explains. "e city wants Allo to supply service to as many people as possible … so it's a long-term win for both parties. If Allo is successful, so is the city." Because Allo's lease payments would be low during the buildout period, the city committed to investing $500,000 per year over four years to maintain the existing conduit – an investment it could finance within its existing operating budget. After the first four years, Allo's lease payments will begin to replace the city's maintenance contributions. Allo agreed to provide free gigabit service to 100 government buildings, free 10 Gbps service to 50 government buildings and gigabit service to 500 traffic lights for only an installation charge. Fifteen public virtual local area networks will be available at every connection and termination point on Allo's network. To foster digital inclusion, Allo agreed to provide a low-cost service tier with 20 Mbps broadband for $45 per month with discounted service for low-income residents. In addition, it pledged to provide free gigabit service to 75 nonprofits and to deploy three outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots. e city charges Allo its normal rates for using its facilities, permitting, inspecting and so forth, and it holds Allo to the same standards it would impose on any other construction company. However, it changed its business processes to effectively reduce Allo's costs and speed up construction without compromising safety. For example, it Allo is installing 6.5 million feet of conduit in Lincoln.

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