Blog

MAY

11

An FTTP Public–Private Partnership in Salisbury, North Carolina

Tom Asp, Principal Engineer and Analyst
Michael O’Halloran, Staff Analyst
CTC Technology & Energy

CTC congratulates the city of Salisbury, North Carolina, and Hotwire Communications on their successful negotiation of a lease of Salisbury’s fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, known as Fibrant. This agreement is yet another example of a public–private partnership offering a “win-win” approach to broadband in America. The final agreement enables the City to maintain ownership of the fiber assets, while Hotwire will assume operations and maintenance of the network.

Like many municipal governments that have deployed FTTP, Salisbury “invested in building Fibrant as a municipal utility to encourage economic development, increase competitive opportunities for … existing businesses and provide citizens globally competitive access” to state-of-the-art broadband, according to the City.

However, faced with significant competition from ever-larger national players (the result of merger and acquisition activity in the industry), Fibrant found itself struggling. In January 2017, the City released and heavily promoted a formal request for proposals (RFP) to convey its interest in entering into a contractual arrangement with a third-party provider. Its goal was to enhance the operations, sales, marketing, and delivery of Gigabit-class broadband service to the community.

The RFP asked respondents to articulate their proposed business models; describe their technical, transitional, and operational capabilities; affirm Fibrant’s goals; and present details on their proposed financing, funding, and payments.

After extensive consultation with the City’s advisory committee and CTC, the City Council selected Hotwire’s proposal as the most promising option. Negotiations began in September 2017 and were finalized in March 2018. This week, voters approved the deal.

The Hotwire lease will generate a positive revenue stream for the City that will reduce its required draw from the general fund. The agreement also:

  • Brings Hotwire’s scale and expertise to the City
  • Offers enhanced services to Salisbury residents and businesses
  • Maintains Fibrant’s network performance and customer service standards
  • Upgrades Fibrant’s existing electronics and delivery platform
  • Lets the City avoid an estimated $5 million equipment refresh that will be required in the next five to seven years

Read more about Salisbury, Fibrant, and the lease negotiation process here.

Published: Friday, May 11, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

MAY

03

Sublette County, WY, Releases Broadband RFI

Sublette County, Wyoming, has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit ideas and informal proposals from private sector entities that may have an interest in working with the County to address gaps in middle-mile connectivity and enable high-quality broadband service to businesses throughout the County.

The County hopes this initiative will support and accelerate private providers’ efforts to improve broadband service options in the County, potentially by utilizing County-owned fiber or conduit assets—or by building their own infrastructure with County financial support.

Response are due to the County by June 8, 2018.

Read the RFI here.

Published: Thursday, May 3, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

APR

26

An FTTP Milestone in Alford, Massachusetts

Matthew DeHaven, Principal Engineer, CTC Technology & Energy

Congratulations to the rural town of Alford, Massachusetts, on this week’s ribbon cutting for a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network. The event—held at a new telecommunications hut next to the town’s fire station—is a key milestone, and a remarkable achievement for a town of only about 500 residents.

CTC is proud to have designed Alford’s FTTP network, called AlfordLink. The network, which is still under construction, will provide 1 Gigabit service for $110 per month and telephone service for $12.95. So far, AlfordLink has 102 subscribers.

The town borrowed $1.6 million to build the network and will also receive $480,000 in state grant funds through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, a state agency, toward construction costs.

It is also noteworthy that Alford’s public broadband entity (a municipal lighting plant, or MLP) forged a strong partnership with another municipal utility to enable this project. Through an intergovernmental agreement, Whip City Fiber—the broadband arm of Westfield Gas & Electric, in Westfield, Massachusetts—will be AlfordLink’s operator and service provider.

Tuesday’s event was attended by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito; Peter Puciloski, chair of the Alford MLP board; and other local officials.

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

APR

05

CTC Guide Details Best Practices for Government Network Resiliency and Security

Andrew Afflerbach, PhD, P.E.
CEO & Director of Engineering

A high-profile “ransomware” cyberattack on Atlanta’s city network last month brought attention to the need for municipalities and other public agencies to understand and take steps to mitigate risks to public networks caused by malicious attacks or natural disasters. Our new “Network Resiliency and Security Playbook” details strategies and best practices for doing just that.

While it is not possible to mitigate all risks—and high levels of protection generally come with higher costs—local governments and agencies can cost-effectively protect their networks by first taking key steps to ensure proper system design and resiliency, and then following best practices to maintain physical and data security.

The National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS), under a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Infrastructure Protection (DHS/IP), commissioned CTC to write the playbook. The report draws on both independent research and our experience designing and engineering resilient and secure communications infrastructure for public sector clients nationwide.

As our report details, protecting a network against threats requires:

  • Ensuring that strategic planning processes take resiliency and security into account, and that decisions are made based on lifetime costs.
  • Working regionally by developing formal or informal consortia for information sharing, joint procurement, best practices, and joint exercises.
  • Building segmentation and resiliency into infrastructure, such as through virtual separation of different kinds of communications according to sensitivity, departments, or users.
  • Making use of widely available security education resources, such as those available from DHS.
  • Training for emergencies—both internally (by department or government) and with regional counterparts.
  • Developing procedures to back up and restore compromised systems, and having redundant systems and plans in place should the primary system fail.
  • Hiring and training appropriate staff (especially individuals who have significant experience with similar infrastructure) and keeping information security functions separate from IT functions.

Some best practices are relatively straightforward and perennial. They include ensuring that software undergoes routine security updates, that data are regularly backed up, that redundant power supplies are in place, and that public agencies have the capacity to manage these processes. But the report is meant also to address larger strategic and organizational issues, and to provide practical, actionable, and cost-effective strategies.

In all cases—and as our report explains—it is incumbent on the government agencies operating or overseeing the networks to understand the benefits and limitations of available solutions, and to properly specify hardware, software, and services.

Read the full report here.

Published: Thursday, April 5, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

MAR

21

NCLM Publishes Paper Co-Written by CTC President Joanne Hovis

The North Carolina League of Municipalities today released a report jointly written by CTC’s president, Joanne Hovis, and NCLM’s legislative counsel, Erin Wynia, describing how closing gaps in North Carolinians’ access to reliable broadband will require state policy changes that enable and encourage local governments, non-profits and private-sector providers to enter into innovative partnerships.

The policy recommendations in the report, “Leaping the Digital Divide: Encouraging Policies and Partnerships to Improve Broadband Access Across North Carolina,”  include:

1. Mandating installation of underground conduit to house fiber optic cables each time state entities, such as the Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Railroad, undertake projects that require digging along public rights-of-way, allowing that conduit to be used in the future by internet service providers.

2. Instituting “dig once” policies that require utility providers, when undertaking a project in a right-of-way, to coordinate with local governments so that conduit and fiber can be installed as other infrastructure is built or updated.

3. Creating digital literacy programs and providing incentives to low-income customers to improve adoption rates and help drive more investment by internet service providers of all types.

The report calls for policy to clarify and enhance local governments’ authority to raise and spend money for broadband infrastructure and lease that infrastructure to private and non-profit entities to provide retail service. It also recommends that the state create a competitive grant fund, similar to those in other states, within the N.C. Broadband Infrastructure Office that would appropriate dollars to public and private entities for broadband projects.

CTC has extensive experience nationwide on forging public-private partnerships; more background on the firm’s work in this area is available here.  Notably, CTC last year co-authored The Emerging World of Broadband Public–Private Partnerships: A Business Strategy and Legal Guide, published by the Benton Foundation.

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

FEB

28

How Localities Can Prepare for—and Capitalize on—the Coming Wave of Public Safety Network Construction

Andrew Afflerbach, PhD, PE
CEO & Director of Engineering

In the coming months, localities around the nation can expect to begin receiving a flood of applications to construct the first of hundreds—perhaps thousands—of new telecommunications towers up to 300 feet high, plus applications to attach hundreds of thousands of “small cell” wireless devices on buildings, utility poles, and new structures.

A major driver of this activity is FirstNet, the federal organization overseeing the deployment of a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). AT&T, which won a $6.5 billion, 25-year federal award in 2017, will build the network and offer broadband service to public safety agencies. Those agencies are also free to choose other providers; Verizon, for example, already has contracts with many public safety agencies and has stated it will be making upgrades.

These developments will bring clear public safety benefits. And they will occur at the same time carriers are increasing capacity for their commercial service. As demand for mobile data balloons, the major mobile network operators are investing tens of billions of dollars to enhance their networks by upgrading existing antennas and adding new sites.

We note that while the NPSBN has been the product of negotiations and agreements between the federal government and AT&T, implementation will play out locally. There are steps localities and states can take to process these applications while best serving local interests.

Now is the time to ensure that ordinances, policies, and application processes are in place; develop plans to coordinate among multiple applicants; address community concerns (especially regarding aesthetics); and explore opportunities to satisfy municipal infrastructure needs during this extraordinary buildout period.

Properly handling these applications is particularly important because a Federal Communications Commission order sets time limits of 150 days for a locality to act on applications for new wireless facilities or 90 days for modifications (co-locations) to existing facilities. These time limits are often called the “shot clocks”—and if a locality does not properly handle an application, it might lose its ability to influence how new infrastructure is built.

ABOUT FIRSTNET

The NPSBN is a next-generation public safety network conceived after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, interoperability and other problems hampered communications and contributed to the loss of life among some first responders—especially firefighters who did not receive warnings to evacuate the twin towers. The physical destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 compounded awareness that many public safety networks are fragile and outdated.

In 2012, Congress created FirstNet as an organization within the Department of Commerce and gave it the job of building the NPSBN, a nationwide, interoperable, IP-based, high-speed mobile broadband communications network that will give first responders priority access.

Following a competitive bid process, AT&T was awarded the contract, which included 10 MHz of prime spectrum. All 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia have “opted in,” meaning they accept AT&T’s plan for deployment and operation of FirstNet. However, local agencies retain autonomy, and will choose whether to use FirstNet services or another provider.

WHAT LOCALITIES CAN DO

We have found that when local governments take commonsense steps to ensure they have appropriate wireless siting policies and ordinances in place, they get the best outcomes in terms of improved public safety communications and higher aesthetic value. As applications for siting FirstNet equipment and other commercial wireless facilities begin to arrive, localities and public utilities can take a number of specific steps:

  1. Localities need to understand their state’s FirstNet plans. Their first step should be to communicate with their FirstNet “state point of contact” (SPOC); a full list of such contacts can be found here. SPOCs may be able to help localities understand where AT&T and other carriers and wireless infrastructure providers want to address service gaps.
  2. Localities need to establish consistent local processes. CTC offered guidance on this issue in a 2017 report, “How the Local Oversight Process Addresses the Concerns of the Public Sector in Small Cell Siting.” In CTC’s experience, proper processes and coordination can protect local interests while facilitating orderly and well-engineered buildouts.
  3. Localities need to facilitate carrier infrastructure applications while protecting local interests. AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers will be asking to build in the name of public safety and better commercial service to residents. (Carriers may also outsource the work of installing towers and other infrastructure to third parties.) It is not unreasonable for localities to seek expert second opinions on whether a proposed antenna siting is the only suitable approach. An independent engineering analysis can help check applicants’ claims or assess alternative infrastructure sites.
  4. Localities need to be prepared to handle wireless facility applications. Because of the combined effects of FirstNet and commercial network upgrades, carriers will be requesting huge numbers of attachments from municipalities, counties, states, and municipal utilities nationwide. CTC’s 2016 report, “How Localities Can Improve Wireless Service for the Public While Addressing Citizen Concerns,” provides a comprehensive guide to how localities can address these matters, whether for FirstNet-related attachment requests or other commercial deployments. Localities will need to find ways to handle siting applications that come in batches of hundreds or more and that involve structures like light poles in addition to utility poles.
  5. States and localities can consider assessing AT&T’s deployment by conducting an independent baseline network performance analysis, illustrating where new infrastructure would enhance performance. These entities can also create or update coordinated processes for deployment of infrastructure in public rights-of-way.
Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

FEB

15

Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition Publishes CTC’s Fiber Cost Estimate and Approach to Connecting Rural Communities

With an open, competitive, and coordinated effort, it would cost $13 billion to $19 billion to connect all unserved schools, libraries, health providers, community colleges, and other anchor institutions (outside of Alaska) to fiber. That’s the estimate CTC developed in its study for the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition—part of an effort to develop a concrete strategy for addressing the rural digital divide.

The cost estimate takes into consideration the different infrastructure requirements posed by the county’s various geographies and population densities. It focuses on connecting anchor institutions because, based on our analysis, doing so would bring fiber to within the ZIP code of 95 percent of the U.S. population.

Read the full report here.

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

JAN

31

CTC President Joanne Hovis Testifies Before U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on “Closing the Digital Divide: Broadband Infrastructure Solutions”

CTC’s president, Joanne Hovis, testified yesterday before a House subcommittee about the critical importance of local participation in broadband planning. She noted that successful local efforts include ones that leverage public assets to build infrastructure and attract private investment. Around the country, such approaches are closing the digital divide in rural areas and “urban deserts” alike.

Despite this, local governments are being vilified at the FCC and elsewhere in Washington as the primary impediments to wireless broadband deployment. And a surge of state legislation threatens to preempt local authority in wireless siting on public property.

In CTC’s experience, local governments are among the most important players addressing the broadband challenge. Joanne refuted the suggestion that preemption of local authority would incent private deployment. Such preemption would not change the challenging economics of deploying in rural and other unserved areas—it would simply make deployments more profitable in already-served metropolitan areas. Joanne noted that this is especially true when it comes to 5G wireless deployments, which are not being planned by wireless carriers for rural areas—and are not technically appropriate in such areas—and so should not be used as a policy rationale for preemption.

Joanne’s full testimony—delivered to the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology—follows below. (A PDF copy of Joanne’s testimony can be downloaded here.)

Chairman Blackburn, Ranking Member Doyle, Members of the Subcommittee—thank you for having me here. And thank you for your commitment to bridging the digital divide. My name is Joanne Hovis. I am president of CTC Technology & Energy, a communications engineering and planning consultancy serving the public sector.

I am also CEO of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice, a non-profit entity that brings together public and private entities that believe solving our nation’s broadband challenges requires a full range of options. And this includes locally-driven efforts to deploy networks and create public-private collaboration.

As we look forward to Super Bowl Sunday, I suggest today that our country’s drive to bridge the digital divide is a critical test of our ability to develop a winning strategy on one of the most important playing fields of the 21st century.

My comments focus on two critical questions about this essential effort. My first question is, do we actually have a winning strategy? Much of the current discussion here in Washington seems premised on the idea that a winning broadband strategy will smash so-called barriers, such as environmental permitting, local process, and costs of access to public facilities. The premise is wrong. In reality, the fundamental reason we do not see comprehensive broadband deployment throughout the United States is that areas with high infrastructure costs per user, particularly rural areas, fail to attract private capital. This is not surprising. Nor is it a value judgment. It is simply how private investment works. If return on investment is low or nonexistent, the investment will not be made.

To solve this, state, local, and federal governments can take steps to improve the economics of broadband deployment in areas where investment has been insufficient. These areas include not only rural communities, but also underserved urban areas such as small business locations in cities and suburbs, as well as low-income areas where adoption is low and incumbents see no return that justifies network upgrades. Particular attention and support must be directed to those areas; without such efforts, private dollars will continue to flow primarily to the most profitable areas.

A better game-plan would involve these plays:

  • First, support public–private partnerships that ease the economic challenges of constructing rural and urban infrastructure
  • Second, incent local efforts to build infrastructure—ones that private service providers can use—by making bonding and other financing strategies more feasible, potentially through reduced interest payments or expanded use of tax-exempt bonds
  • Third, target meaningful infrastructure capital support to rural and urban broadband deserts, not only to attract private capital but also to stimulate private efforts to gain or retain competitive advantage
  • Fourth, empower local governments to pursue broadband solutions of all types, including use of public assets to attract and shape private investment patterns, so as to leverage taxpayer-funded property and create competitive dynamics that attract incumbent investment
  • Fifth, require all entities that benefit from public subsidy, including access to public assets, to make enforceable commitments to build in areas that are historically unserved or underserved
  • And, maximize the benefits of competition by requiring that all federal subsidy programs are offered on a competitive and neutral basis for bid by any qualified entity

Such strategies directly address the core reason the digital divide persists: lack of return on investment in many areas of the country.

Let me be very clear why the current strategy doesn’t squarely face the challenge. Current efforts are focused on reducing the private sector’s costs of doing business, such as by removing local processes, waiving environmental protections, and forcing local communities to subsidize carrier access to public property. All of this simply makes more profitable the already profitable areas of the country. Reducing those requirements does not fundamentally change the economics of broadband deployment in areas where return-on-investment is challenging because the local processes and environmental and historic protections are such a small part of the economics of reaching and serving a rural area.1 Rather, at best, these efforts tinker at the margins of broadband economics; at worst, they distract from the key issues and misdirect resources.

If we want to solve deployment issues in rural and low-income areas, we must target our solutions to those areas, and the solutions we choose must be adequate to the task. One-size-fits-all approaches will not bridge the digital divide because they effectively provide most of their benefit to providers in better-served areas that don’t need incentives, without requiring the providers to invest some of their windfalls in more challenging areas. In other words, legislation or regulatory activity that purports to remove so-called barriers like local processes and fees may make for more profitable carriers in well-served areas. But they won’t be sufficient to incent deployment in rural and urban broadband deserts.

Furthermore, if these strategies are premised on the idea that removing so-called barriers will lead to rural deployment of the emerging wireless technologies known as “5G,” it’s critical to know that no credible engineer, market analyst, or carrier is claiming that 5G deployment is planned or technically appropriate for rural areas. This is because 5G, which is still in developmental stages, is a wireless technology for very fast communications over very short distances. No wireless carrier would use 5G to serve low-density rural areas, any more than a team would focus on short-yard plays when far from the end zone, behind at the end of the fourth-quarter. If the goal is to attract private capital to rural communities, making wireless deployment more profitable in high-return metropolitan markets is exactly the wrong way to do it.

In summary: Doubling down on existing broadband investment patterns by making them even more profitable will not close this nation’s digital divide. Rather, this approach is like moving the ball a few inches and calling it a touchdown.

My second question about our digital divide strategy is: Do we have the right players on the field? Let me suggest that local governments have proven themselves most valuable players in creating and incenting broadband deployment for many years—and that it’s counterproductive to vilify localities based on the evidence-free assertion that local efforts and local processes restrict or disincent private deployment.

The assumption that the federal government is more motivated to enable deployment of this critical economic development infrastructure ignores the immediacy of the broadband need and the digital divide for local officials. And the assumption that the federal government is more competent to develop strategies to incent broadband deployment ignores the experience of the past decade, which demonstrates that local governments, given the opportunity, will apply creativity, local resources, physical assets, and diligence to try to solve broadband problems. For example, when Google Fiber first got started, more than 1,100 communities offered access to infrastructure, data, and other help to try and attract the company.

And they are not alone. Hundreds of localities have reached out to companies like AT&T and other incumbents, C-Spire, Ting Internet, Metronet, ALLO Communications, and many others to offer what amount to economic development packages and other incentives in return for commitments to deploy broadband infrastructure. Local collaborations are in formation between public and private sectors in hundreds of communities, to the benefit of both. The federal and state governments should not disrupt them.

Make no mistake: It is in areas where localities have been free to use their creativity, public assets, and legal authority to incent opportunity where we have seen some of the most robust broadband deployment. Observe the small towns in the Tennessee Valley that are connected with ubiquitous community-owned fiber optics; the Google Fiber cities where incumbents, led by AT&T, have greatly increased their upgrade investments to react to the threat of competition; the communities in Mississippi that competed to attract C-Spire investment; the Indiana towns that developed economic development packages to attract Metronet; and so many others. The data are clear: The areas of the country with the best infrastructure and the liveliest competition are areas where localities have been able to engage in addressing their broadband needs based on local strategies and local needs.

Is it wise or appropriate for the federal government to interfere with those and many other potential local initiatives? Is the federal government better able to understand how to work with companies to meet both private and community needs? And is it really accurate to assume that industry giants like AT&T and Verizon cannot ably negotiate with localities—and require the intervention of the federal government to protect them?

Broadband is an existential issue for many local governments. No one recognizes better than an elected local official the importance of broadband to the economic vitality of a community, and its attractiveness for residents, workers, and businesses.

In short, it’s counter-productive to tie the hands of the public officials—the very people who have the greatest incentive to solve these problems effectively and efficiently.

Let me share a few examples of the local motivation and creativity I see throughout the country:

  • In Spring Hill, Kansas and Pikeville, Kentucky, local communities are seeking to deploy fiber optic infrastructure to enable private sector service provision and competition as part of a broader economic development strategy. In Pikeville, the goal is to replace the declining coal economy with a coding economy, which is possible only with robust and plentiful broadband.
  • Seattle has sought ideas from the private sector and has developed strategies for enabling wireless broadband service to low-income communities and users; the City is considering strategies to incent companies to serve lower-income parts of the City.
  • In Gallup, New Mexico, the city’s utility seeks to deploy infrastructure for public safety that will also enable private sector services in an area where private sector infrastructure deployment has not emerged.
  • San Francisco is considering establishing an innovative public–private partnership that would ensure deployment and provision of ubiquitous best-in-class services with particularly attractive and affordable pricing for the 150,000 San Francisco residents who are not currently able to purchase existing high bandwidth products.
  • In Michigan, a number of rural townships that are unserved with broadband are seeking to build broadband infrastructure in their rights-of-way and partner with private entities for service provision. A local non-profit, the Michigan Broadband Cooperative, formed to work with and coordinate among the townships so that they can learn from each other and build sustainable partnership strategies.
  • In Sublette County, Wyoming, and Huntington, West Virginia, the local governments are seeking to deploy infrastructure to business districts to enable private sector services in an area where private sector infrastructure deployment has not emerged. Bowling Green, Kentucky has done exactly that: the city built fiber infrastructure to businesses and has enabled local companies to compete in the global marketplace.
  • Boston has developed an innovative partnership with an open access fiber and wireless infrastructure provider in which the City incented new, open fiber deployment by leveraging the needs of schools and public safety facilities for fiber-based services.
  • Rural Queen Anne’s County, Maryland has been working with local incumbents seeking partnership opportunities to support broadband deployment.
  • New York City late last year released a request for information seeking industry ideas for how the city and private entities can collaborate to bridge the considerable digital divide in which low-income New Yorkers have fewer broadband choices and challenges affording high bandwidth options where they exist. In a clear indication of the potential for city-led public-private collaboration, the city received more than three dozen substantive responses.
  • In Wilson, North Carolina, the public utility extended gigabit internet to rural areas in its electric footprint. It enabled a large family farm to export its sweet potatoes to the European market by meeting Europe’s high food monitoring requirements. At the same time, the utility was the only carrier to help the 600-home rural town of Pinetops with free connectivity to the local church and shelter during the 2016 flood following Hurricane Matthew.
  • In Lafayette, Louisiana, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and dozens of other communities, local governments have developed their own advanced communications networks after finding the incumbent providers unwilling or unable to upgrade their networks in a timely manner to meet local needs.

Blaming localities for the digital infrastructure divide ignores these and thousands of other local efforts. At the same time, tying the hands of localities reduces their ability and incentive to work creatively with partners of all sorts to solve these problems. And preempting local authority over infrastructure assets such as light poles removes from the local toolkit incentives that localities can use to attract and shape private broadband deployment.

In short: Preempting local efforts and authority is not a winning strategy; it simply removes from the playing field one of the most important players: local government. Let me suggest that the urgency of this task, bridging the infrastructure digital divide, calls for all players to take the field.

My thanks for your consideration of my comments and for your commitment to this enormously important issue.

On March 21st, 2017, Joanne also testified before this Subcommittee on “Broadband: Deploying America’s 21st Century Infrastructure”. Click here to read the full testimony.

Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by CTC Technology & Energy

DEC

19

New Mexico Broadband Program Publishes Broadband for Businesses Study

This document is the result of the New Mexico Broadband Program’s request for CTC to create an actionable roadmap that provides recommendations for improving access to affordable and reliable broadband services for businesses in support of economic development. CTC previously prepared a preliminary report in late 2016 discussing tools and recommendations for both State and local government policymakers regarding expanding gigabit broadband facilities to businesses.

This report elaborates on those insights by evaluating the current broadband infrastructure available at business locations in the State and develops a range of strategies for improving the broadband services to underserved areas. Further, it identifies the range of State and local entities that would likely be involved in the implementation of new broadband facilities.

Read the report, “The New Mexico Broadband Program, Broadband for Businesses Study,” here.

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 by CTC Technology & Energy

DEC

05

The Holiday Season Brings More Great Broadband News From Kentucky

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray recently announced that the City has secured significant new fiber broadband investment and will soon be one of the country’s largest gigabit cities—with the potential for even faster speeds in the future. Over the past couple of years, CTC has been honored to work with Lexington on this effort—undertaking tasks from design engineering to financial modeling to discussions with potential investors—and we are thrilled to see the City’s vision and work pay off.

The City is on track to finalize a new cable franchise agreement with MetroNet, an Indiana-based cable and internet provider. MetroNet has agreed to spend between $70 and $100 million building a new fiber-to-the-premises network in Lexington.

Significantly, the agreement includes a robust build-out provision, ensuring that no part of the Lexington community is left out of the gigabit era. MetroNet has agreed to build out to 70 percent of the City in the first four years, with the remaining 30 percent to be added as the company achieves certain subscriber benchmarks. This outstanding agreement is testament to the City’s commitment to digital equity and to MetroNet’s willingness to bring fiber to everyone, rather than exclusively to the neighborhoods that offer the highest return on investment.

Mayor Gray’s announcement is also testament to the citizens of Lexington, who had clearly communicated to their elected officials their desire for better broadband services and more competition. Once MetroNet’s network is built, Lexington’s residents and businesses will enjoy more choice and dramatically better services, all offered over a robust fiber-to-the-premises infrastructure.

Our team here at CTC is proud to have worked with the City on this effort, and we see this successful outcome as a demonstration of how collaboration between the public and private sectors can lead to a better broadband future.

Our congratulations to Mayor Gray—and to his spectacular City team, led by Chief Innovation Officer Scott Shapiro and Chief Information Officer Aldona Valicenti.

Joanne Hovis
December 5, 2017

Published: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 by CTC Technology & Energy