● business planning
● cable system testing
● community broadband
● engineering design
● grant planning & management
● public networking
● public safety
● rural communications
● smart grid
● wireless tower siting
Rural America faces a particular dearth of broadband and, in many cases, even cellular service—in large part because the private sector cannot generally make a business case for deploying services where population densities are too low and the terrain is too challenging. The services that are available in rural communities, such as DSL or satellite connections, are quickly becoming outdated in relation to the bandwidth needs generated by applications like streaming video, cloud computing, and tele-health initiatives.
To help rural governments meet their citizens’ communications needs, CTC’s team works with municipalities and rural electric utilities to evaluate the cost and feasibility of deploying government-owned networks. We fully understand that rural development projects must make the most of limited resources. Here CTC’s extensive engineering experience with a multitude of networking technologies is a real asset. We have designed networks that utilize microwave, WiMAX and Wi-Fi systems—technologies that can provide cost-effective solutions for better rural connectivity. CTC also has a long track record of assessing how existing infrastructure can be leveraged and best incorporated into future strategic plans.
CTC also prepares strategic “blueprints” that can serve as a guide for communities ready to take further steps in deploying communications infrastructure; and we evaluate incentives that communities might develop to lure private carrier deployment.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
In a year-long market research and analysis project for the SBA Office of Advocacy, CTC evaluated the effect of broadband speed, price, and availability on small businesses in metropolitan and rural areas across the United States. The project included conducting and analyzing the results of a written nationwide survey; an evaluation of existing broadband products, services, and technologies; and an assessment of emerging technologies. Based on the market research and independent data analysis, CTC developed policy recommendations for improving small business broadband access. The final project report was delivered to the SBA and congressional committees in fall 2010.
Garrett and Allegany Counties, MD
CTC is currently engaged in advising the rural counties of western Maryland regarding strategic plans for expanding broadband for economic development and education purposes. Central to that effort is our ongoing assessment of existing and potential program support and funding programs that can serve to support the counties in their efforts to expand broadband availability and use. We are evaluating a wide range of opportunities, from the newly created Connect America Fund (under the USF reform work underway at the FCC) to the E-Rate program (which has the potential to expand broadband use to schools and libraries in a competitive manner if undertaken correctly) to a range of loan and grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Hoopa Valley Tribe, CA
CTC provided Tribal authorities with a feasibility study and preliminary engineering design for the construction of a high-speed communications network to provide broadband Internet access across the 144-square-mile Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in rural Northern California.
Lake City, CO
CTC developed a conceptual design for a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in Lake City. The project included a description of FTTP architecture alternatives, a budgetary implementation cost estimate (fiber and required electronics), considerations for the detailed design, insights on how the conceptual design would support various business models, and a summary of estimated annual operating costs.
Access Humboldt (CA)
Working with an organization that represents Humboldt County and the cities of Eureka and Arcata, California, CTC prepared a network design, feasibility analysis, business plan, and federal grant application. The hybrid fiber/wireless network we designed was intended to serve anchor institutions and remote Native American communities, and to enable private sector provision of broadband services to residences. The regional network included point-to-point microwave and point-to-multipoint broadband wireless technology.
Easton Utilities (MD)
CTC performed a feasibility study for expanding network infrastructure for Easton Utilities, a local power and water utility that also offers broadband Internet service. Easton, Maryland is located in rural Talbot County on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Our staff conducted a drive through of potential routes where Easton Utilities could build out its fiber infrastructure to reach unserved or underserved rural areas. The team then prepared preliminary fiber backbone architecture planning and included cost estimates for build out construction. The report also included initial business plan recommendations to help guide future infrastructure expansion deliberations.
CTC researched and prepared an extensive analysis of the broadband communications needs of government, public safety, business, and residential users across Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The report explored the business case for a proposed OpenCape broadband network, including the role and opportunity for a private sector partner. CTC discussed the functional differences between fiber-to-the-home technologies with existing network infrastructure. The report also summarized a range of potential benefits of enhanced broadband access, including cost savings to the community, enhanced public safety, and reduced carbon emissions.
After completing the feasibility and needs assessment report, our team assisted OpenCape in preparing business plans and pro forma documents for its federal BTOP grant submission. The application was successful, and OpenCape was awarded more than $32 million in federal funding for the construction of a 350-mile, open access, fiber-optic and microwave network.
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