Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2019

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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FIBER DEPLOYMENT | 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 9 internet solution and signicantly less robust shared Wi-Fi. With proper design, a building can accommodate multiple ISPs in the future, each serving a dierent niche. Switching providers could be as easy as moving an Ethernet cable in the server closet from one switch to another. •ese buildings are expected to last for decades, so any assumptions about their residents' being less technically sophisticated because of poverty will not stand the test of time. WIRELESS BACKHAUL At rst, Monkeybrains used its hybrid wireless and ber network to backhaul access from HPEW to the rest of the internet. Specically, it used xed wireless on HPEW rooftops to connect HPEW to its local network. Two types of radio dishes were used for the HPEW uplink: •e airFiber24 has a link distance range of around 8 miles, and the Siklu EH 1200 can link with dishes about a mile away. In general, Monkeybrains uses a combination of ber optic and xed wireless technology because of the cost and permitting issues associated with installing ber to every location. In a 2017 interview on ILSR's Community Broadband Bits podcast, Carroll noted that part of the benet of wireless in a fast-moving city is its ease of installation. "In a matter of 48 hours, if necessary, we can come out, install a licensed radio link in a point-to- point topology, and deliver full gigabit speed really, really quickly," Carroll said. Some customers asked for a ber connection but changed their minds after experiencing the wireless service. Monkeybrains sometimes decides to take ber to a building if it uses a lot of capacity or is geographically well-suited to feed nearby radios. Building ber is expensive – rarely more so than in a crowded city such as San Francisco – and the uncertainty of permitting time is a challenge. Wireless capacity can be diminished by interference from other radios, heavy precipitation or the construction of an inconveniently tall building between two radios. To avoid the latter, Monkeybrains continually tracks large new buildings in the vicinity of its network. CITY FIBER Drawing on the momentum from the success of the HPEW project, the city began a pilot program to improve digital access in aordable housing complexes elsewhere in the city, starting with the Robert B. Pitts housing complex, which has 203 units in 34 buildings. •e public safety team in the San Francisco Department of Technology (DT) recognized the benets of connecting these facilities directly with the city's ber for backhaul. •e Oœce of Housing and Community Development approached DT and Monkeybrains about working on Robert B. Pitts and Hunters Point West (one of the buildings in the HPEW complex); the city planned to build out the ber to the buildings and needed an ISP partner. Hunters Point East eventually received ber as well. •e city contributed signicant resources to replace the faceplates at HPEW so each unit could have at least 100 Mbps. DT rewired Robert B. Pitts to allow gigabit internet connections. Monkeybrains donated all the hardware, switches and core equipment required to light the ber as well as the labor to bring the households online. Monkeybrains estimates that its costs of setting up Robert B. Pitts, which it donated, were approximately $20,000, split approximately evenly between hardware and labor. One challenge of keeping operating costs low for low-income households is keeping track of devices, such as the home routers used to create local Wi-Fi networks. Monkeybrains did not want to have to track these devices as families moved in and out, so DT and the Oœce of Digital Equity set up a program to give routers to residents. Google donated 100 Wi-Fi routers, and Monkeybrains donated 132 routers. Making router management easy can KEY TAKEAWAYS To get a program like this one going in your city, • Find a local champion who either understands this technology or is excited to dive into it. • Find good partners with the right incentives. Some ISPs will be enthusiastic about projects like these, and others (from small to large) may pass. Understand what motivates your potential partner. • Research funding options. Plenty of states have created programs to subsidize internet access, but few of these programs are available for urban residents. Consider reaching out to foundations to explain that smart, one-time expenditures can create ongoing, self-sustaining, high- quality internet access. ILSR and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance can o‡er help for those who need additional information. The city of San Francisco is bringing city-owned ˆber to a‡ordable-housing complexes so residents can access high-speed internet. The inside wiring is provided by private ISPs.

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