A small Idaho town near Idaho Falls in the eastern part of the state, Ammon, is creating a new approach for a small open access fiber-optic network. When the vision is fully realized, all businesses and residents will have affordable, fast, and reliable access to the Internet and other telecommunications services via a multitude of independent service providers.
The town has adopted a new ordinance spelling out its vision and began building the backbone of the network. The purpose is well written and could serve as a model for others, excerpted here:
To protect the public right-of-way by improving both the management and regulation of competing demands through the elimination of duplicate fiber optic facilities within the public right-of-way.
To reduce the cost of maintaining the sidewalk, pavement and public facilities located within the public right-of-way by minimizing the number of pavement cuts and dislocation of other public facilities necessitated by the construction or installation of fiber optic facilities.
To foster competition among retail broadband service providers by providing open Access to the City Fiber Optic System.
Ammon had previously applied for broadband stimulus funds but was not awarded a grant or loan. Undaunted, they continued to examine how they can build the network their community needs to attract economic development and maintain a high qualify of life. An article in the Boise Weekly profiled the network and the man behind it:
Bruce Patterson is the one-man IT department for Ammon, a small town of 13,000 near Idaho Falls. He is fed up with companies overlooking the town when they discover the cost of Internet is prohibitive.
"The City of Ammon wants to be the road, not the traffic," Patterson said. "Nondiscrimination is what we believe is the right thing. We wanna be completely open to every consumer and provider."
As we see time and time again, this community has Internet access from at least one provider, but it does not meet the needs of the...Read more