Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 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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COMMUNITY BROADBAND 4 2 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 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 | M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8 What Is the 'Ammon Model'? Ammon, Idaho, is treating fiber network infrastructure as a utility – to the benefit of residents, providers and the municipality itself. Is this small town demonstrating the future of broadband? By Bruce Patterson / City of Ammon, Idaho A sk four people familiar with the Ammon Model what it is, and you will get four different answers. Residents will tell you it is about cheap, reliable internet. Providers will tell you it is about commoditizing services. Municipalities will tell you it is a way to compete. Traditional wireline operators will tell you it is failing or impossible to replicate. Each of these varied perspectives reflects a viewpoint and some portion of the whole truth. However, as the Chinese philosopher Xun Zi once said, "In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of the truth." Ammon, Idaho, began building out its municipal fiber network in 2011, and residents in some parts of the city already are receiving services. Like several other cities, Ammon is using an open-access model – the city operates the infrastructure, and multiple providers offer services on the network. However, the Ammon Model has several unique twists. Describing the network from the viewpoints of all the various stakeholders will bring the big picture into focus. RESIDENTS e Ammon Model focuses first and foremost on the needs of local property owners. It starts with understanding their needs and desires. A simple survey process can easily determine how many properties use a wireline broadband connection, as well as the rates and speeds available. It also can measure the community's overall satisfaction. In standard business practice, this information would then be used to generate a feasibility study based on estimated take rates. is makes no sense with the Ammon Model as it is not a business but a municipal utility. It treats the fiber infrastructure as essential, just like sewer and water. It does not rely on achieving a specific take rate to break even, and it will never generate a profit. As a true utility, it relies on 100-percent participation to guarantee cost recovery for the installation and operation of the infrastructure. is requires the economic separation of installation, operation and services. Ammon fiber utility members invest in their properties by adding fiber connectivity. e Ammon Model provides property owners with the mechanisms to build and own their wireline connectivity. In Idaho, this is accomplished through the creation of local improvement districts (LIDs). Other states might call them community improvement districts, assessment districts or even special assessment districts, but they all serve one purpose: ey provide a group of property owners the ability to share in the cost of infrastructure improvements voluntarily. An LID is created at the request of the property owners in the district with the express purpose and necessary authority to finance and oversee a fiber construction project. Property owners receive cost estimates, and participation is optional within the district. Once construction is complete, the total cost of the project is

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