Most cities and towns that build their own broadband networks do so to solve a single problem: that residents and businesses aren’t being adequately served by private cable companies and telcos.
But there’s more than one way to create a network and offer service, and the city of Ammon, Idaho, is deploying a model that’s worth examining. Ammon has built an open access network that lets multiple private ISPs offer service to customers over city-owned fiber. The wholesale model in itself isn’t unprecedented, but Ammon has also built a system in which residents will be able to sign up for an ISP—or switch ISPs if they are dissatisfied—almost instantly, just by visiting a city-operated website and without changing any equipment. Continue reading
By MARC BROWN
Westerly’s Town Council is currently considering whether to enter into a contract with SIFI Networks of London to build a $30 million fiber optic network. SIFI is proposing to build the network and the town would lease-purchase it from the company at an annual cost of $1 million to $2.5 million over 30 years. SIFI has promised that a third-party internet service provider will sell broadband packages on the new network, sharing revenue with Westerly to cover the town’s lease cost. SIFI has “guaranteed” it. That guarantee is only backed by the word of the company — a company that hasn’t actually built a single mile of fiber anywhere in the United States. The town can supposedly back out of the contract at any time — but SIFI would then retain ownership of the network, and would be free to use it as they see fit without town involvement.
Steve Blum, a broadband consultant hired to study SIFI’s contract in another community, recently told The Westerly Sun that the town “should assume it will have to be subsidized by some other source, whether it’s a tax or a utility fee…They will not make enough money from operation of the system.” Even a cursory look at the numbers should raise a red flag. Using SIFI’s assumption of 36 percent penetration, the average monthly household bill would have to exceed $200 per month for the town’s revenue to cover the $1.5 million annual lease commitment. Continue reading
The city is actually building infrastructure and not becoming a service provider. They will offer access to other service providers.
English: A fiber optic splice lab being used to access underground fiber optic cables for splicing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The city council of Fairlawn, OH, approved four ordinances on April 4 that will kick start the launch of FairlawnGig, a municipal broadband project. Through a combination of wireless and fiber-optic network infrastructure, the project aims to make gigabit broadband services available to all residents and businesses in Fairlawn, as well as to the Akron-Fairlawn-Bath Township Joint Economic Development District (JEDD).
The votes came after the completion of an RFP process that explored the feasibility of the project as well as potential partners. The city plans to have Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc. design, build, operate, and maintain the fiber to the premises (FTTP) and wireless networks. Extra Mile Fiber, LLC, of Dayton, OH, will serve as FairlawnGig’s anchor service provider. Continue reading
Finally the concept of open-access last mile networks is getting more attention. We could debate the motives behind Comcast’s usage caps, but there is a good chance that they would disappear if there was service-level competition. Even in the wireless market where bandwidth resources are limited, carriers like Sprint still offer an unlimited data package. They do this to compete against Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless; it is a product differentiator. The open-access model does work and more cities should implement a variation that works best for their community. The infrastructure could be city, third-party, or carrier consortium owned or a combination of any of those options. In any case the most expensive part of the network will be a shared resource that will be economically justified because its’ usage will be maximized. Offering open access to all service providers on a non-discriminatory price basis will allow multiple service providers to enter a market to offer differentiated and competitive services.
We’ve long made the point that Comcast’s usage caps are just a symptom of the overall lack of competition. The caps, which even Comcast itself has indicated really aren’t financially or technically necessary, are little more than a glorified price hike designed to protect the company’s TV revenues from Internet video. And if customers in Comcast markets had the choice of other ISPs, they’d be able to flee to unlimited offerings. Continue reading
A push by cities across the country to get into the business of the Internet is raising concerns that local governments, with Washington’s blessing, are meddling where they are not needed — and wasting taxpayer dollars in the process.
The push was fueled earlier this year, when President Obama in January introduced a plan for municipal broadband projects which, according to the administration, would encourage “competition and choice” while offering a “level-playing field” for high-speed Internet access. Continue reading
Lake Oswego is taking the right tact here by considering a public-private partnership, but the should structure it in such a way where other service providers, even Google, can access the network to sell competitive services. By doing this they reduce the risk by spreading the infrastructure costs over more service providers. After a while even the incumbent providers will take advantage of the infrastructure. The private partner would build, operate, and maintain the fiber network so they would be adequately compensated for their efforts.
Drew Clark, Publisher, BroadbandBreakfast.com
LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon, October 14, 2015 – This suburb of Portland, a potential candidate for Google Fiber’s Gigabit-speed internet service, has said it isn’t willing to wait around for the search engine giant. Continue reading
Optic fiber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
BOULDER — The city of Boulder announced on Thursday that it has hired a consultant to conduct a broadband feasibility study, which will assess the technical aspects of building out municipal broadband services, as well as engage community members about what services they might like to see the city provide.
The goal is to have the study completed by May or June of 2016 so that, if the city council does decide to move forward with providing certain services, there would be time to place an initiative on the November ballot, if needed, to ask voters to fund such efforts. Continue reading