Back in September, SandyNet announced that its FTTH gigabit network was officially up and running. The utility will continue to expand and eventually bring the network to all 4,000 households. Light Reading recently spoke with Joe Knapp, Sandy’s IT Director and general manager of the broadband utility about the new offering. With a population of 10,000, Sandy is in Oregon between Portland and Mount Hood.
The network is completely underground. Sandy is one of many communities that have developed smart conduit policies, reducing the cost and preparing the environment for deployment over a period of years.
You can listen to our discussion with Knapp on Sandy’s conduit policy in Episode 17 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. We also spoke with City Manager Scott Lazenby about Sandy’s conduit policies during Episode 48.
Like many other communities we study, Sandy invested in connectivity out of necessity. Knapp told Light Reading:
“We started out because we couldn’t get a DSL line at city hall,” says Joe Knapp, IT director for the City of Sandy and general manager of SandyNet. The utility first built a 900MHz wireless network, then WiFi, then a wireless mesh network to connect residents to broadband, he says. “That became so popular that we took about 40% of the market with wireless, but that was a hard thing to sustain.”
The journey to FTTH was not an easy one:
“We started to realize that a lot of communities are doing this,” Knapp says. “It took three years of beating my head against the wall to finally get it to happen.”
Gigabit speeds are something to boast about, but Knapp says SandyNet will not go to extremes to push them:
“As a muni network, we view this as trying to benefit the community. I tell them to try the 100-Meg service first — we’re actually not pushing the gig that hard.”