Telecompetitor, March 28, 2013
There are numerous things municipalities can do to help bring high-speed broadband networks to their communities, said participants at an FCC workshop on gigabit communities yesterday. The workshop was held as a follow-up to FCC Chairman Genachowski’s announcement earlier this year that set a goal of having at least one gigabit community in every state by 2015.
“The cost of throwing fiber in the ground is really low compared with [the cost of] tearing up roads,” commented Christopher Mitchell, director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Municipalities that have acknowledged that reality have been able to do a range of things to increase the odds of their communities gaining high-speed broadband networks, said Mitchell, who took part in a panel discussion focused on “Leveraging Local Tools” that was part of the gigabit workshop.
Mitchell cited the examples of Santa Monica, Calif. and Seattle, where the local governments installed fiber whenever and wherever the streets were torn up. By using that approach, a city can amass substantial fiber resources in just a few years.
In Santa Monica’s case, the city eventually had enough fiber to support a municipal network. In Seattle’s case, an extensive fiber footprint helped attract a high-speed network project that resulted from the Gigabit Squared initiative, Mitchell said. As Telecompetitor has previously reported, Gigabit Squared aims to bring high-speed broadband to several communities nationwide.