The Municipal & Utility Guidebook to Bringing Broadband Fiber Optics to Your Community is a free, comprehensive guide to the economic and quality-of-life benefits of robust fiber infrastructure. It examines in detail four communities that have successfully deployed fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services to their citizens and businesses. “This guidebook helps government leaders build a strong case for investing in FTTH infrastructure,“ said Alan Shark, Executive Director of PTI. “With thorough analysis, interviews and painstaking research, it sets forth strategies that, if followed, will help American communities whose broadband needs are not being met by current market dynamics to prosper in the information age.“
The United States, creator of the Internet, increasingly lags in access to it. In the absence of a national broadband strategy, many communities have invested in broadband infrastructure, especially wireless broadband, to offer broadband choices to their residents.
Newspaper headlines trumpeting the death of municipal wireless networks ignore the increasing investments by cities in Wi-Fi systems. At the same time, the wireless focus by others diverts resources and action away from building the necessary long term foundation for high speed information: fiber optic networks.
DSL and cable networks cannot offer the speeds required by a city wishing to compete in the digital economy. Business, government, and citizens all need affordable and fast access to information networks.
Today's decisions will lay the foundation of telecommunications infrastructure for decades. Fortunately, we already know the solution: wireless solves the mobility problem; fiber solves the speed and capacity problems; and public ownership offers a network built to benefit the community.
Burlington Telecom, a city department in the largest city of Vermont, offers a world class fiber-to-the-home network offering cable television, fast broadband, and telephone services. This case study explains how they did it.
ILSR issued a report in 2011 that updates this case study: Learning from Burlington Telecom: Some Lessons for Community Networks
- What exactly is a Community Fiber Network?
- Who offers services?
- What does public ownership mean?
- Why publicly owned? Aren't private companies more efficient?
- I heard there is tons of dark fiber available - why isn't the City using that?
- What if a better technology comes along in a few years?
- Doesn't fiber break easily?
- Don't Comcast and Qwest already have fiber networks?
- Comcast has DOCSIS 3, isn't that as good as fiber?
- Should government compete with the private sector?
- Do we really need faster connections?
- Symmetric? Asymmetric? Huh?
- Why not wireless?
- What happened to the whole muni-wireless thing?
- What about WiMAX?
A Community Fiber Network is a community-owned broadband network that uses fiber-optic cables to connect all subscribers (the fiber cable goes all the way to the home, apartment, or business). It can offer phone, television, and Internet access. The capacity on the network is so great that it could offer tens of thousands of television channels while allowing thousands of people to talk on the phone while still offering Internet access at faster speeds than a cable modem system or DSL currently offer.
In some communities, the city government (Monticello) or local utility provides services (Chattanooga). In others, the network is only open to private service providers who compete for customers on equal terms (this would be an open network, Report: Open Access: The Third Way). Some cities have used a hybrid...