Community Broadband

CTC specializes in advising local government clients about public broadband initiatives, from conducting initial feasibility studies to preparing network designs to recommending guidelines for network operations.

Many of our engagements include assessing a community’s existing networking infrastructure and evaluating the community’s broadband needs. We conduct statistically valid market research, lead community discussion groups, facilitate outreach to wired and wireless service providers, and perform detailed needs assessments of key stakeholders such as government departments, businesses, schools, libraries, and other institutions.

We develop high-level network designs and cost estimates; evaluate potential business models; and prepare detailed financial analyses. And when clients decide to move forward with network deployment, we prepare requests for information (RFI) and requests for proposal (RFP) to identify construction vendors and partners; evaluate responses; assist with finalist negotiations; and perform construction oversight and quality assurance tasks.

Bloomington, IN

CTC is supporting Bloomington’s efforts to develop ubiquitous, Gigabit-class broadband. We collaborated with City staff and other stakeholders to facilitate a public symposium and related communications materials on the value of next-generation infrastructure. Our team performed in-depth analysis of the local broadband market, and fostered engagement with a range of public and private stakeholders. CTC’s analysts and engineers also assessed the City’s existing assets, prepared a competitive assessment of broadband services, benchmarked broadband availability, and developed high-level engineering and cost estimates. Additionally, our team developed and administered an RFI to gauge public-sector interest in partnering with the City to achieve its broadband goals.

Boulder, CO

CTC supported Boulder on a major broadband feasibility study, including extensive stakeholder engagement, assessment of existing infrastructure, development of a high-level network design and cost estimate, preparation of a request for information (RFI) to identify potential private partners, scoring of RFI responses, and facilitation of ongoing discussions with finalists.

State of Connecticut

CTC is assisting the State of Connecticut in a number of critical areas of broadband assessment. Our work to date has identified technical and financial approaches to expanding broadband availability, fostering greater digital inclusion, and promoting economic growth and innovation across the state.

First, we analyzed the degree of need for State involvement and engagement in broadband. Based on our national experience, we evaluated Connecticut’s standing relative to its competitor states, identified broadband gaps, and assessed incumbent plans for service and infrastructure expansion. CTC financial analysts evaluated the extent the State can improve competition in the middle mile by redirecting its existing telecommunications spending.

In addition, we evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of proposals submitted by potential private partners. Based on our analysis, our team developed a range of strategic options for the State and municipalities in Connecticut. To support decision-making by the State and its localities, we developed a cost estimate for a statewide Gigabit fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network—primarily at a county-based level. We also prepared case studies of best practices among state-driven Gigabit initiatives.

Our report, “Broadband in Connecticut: Opportunities for the State and Localities to Enable World-Class Broadband,” discussed the importance of ubiquitous, affordable high-speed internet service and provided an overview of potential models for municipalities (including public, private, and P3).

Huntsville, AL

CTC conducted broadband feasibility planning for the City and identified a range of options for models and approaches. We wrote the RFI through which the City launched its efforts to identify a private partner for citywide FTTP deployment. That process ultimately led to the City’s negotiations and agreement with Google Fiber.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

CTC completed a business and technology plan for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to determine the feasibility of using the Department’s fiber network to offer services to the public and businesses. Our team assessed existing LADWP communications infrastructure and interviewed potential customers for networking services. Based on these findings, CTC discussed the potential benefits and risks associated with different business models and deployment strategies. We have also long served as technical adviser to the City of Los Angeles on fiber and cable matters and has performed long-term performance evaluation and inspection of existing broadband networks. CTC designed a fiber optic network for Los Angeles and advised the City on the technical feasibility of open access networking.

Madison, WI

CTC wrote a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) feasibility study for the City in mid-2016. Over the course of the engagement, CTC engineers and analysts inventoried the City’s key physical infrastructure, including the Metropolitan Unified Fiber Network (MUFN); conducted interviews with representatives of City departments and stakeholders; researched the region’s available broadband services and costs; evaluated potential public–private partnership business models; and developed pro forma financial statements for a City-owned fiber network. In addition to those tasks, we conducted residential market research to supplement the report’s findings, and to help gauge the community’s interest in broadband.

State of New Mexico

CTC wrote a guidebook for New Mexico’s local governments to lead them through the business, financial, and strategic planning necessary to implement city- or county-owned broadband networks. We completed a comprehensive statewide strategic plan for deployment and adoption of broadband in the State of New Mexico. Our team developed a detailed plan and cost estimate for building fiber to the unserved business areas of the State, with associated recommendations. We continue to supporting the State’s Office of Broadband and Geospatial Initiatives on a range of broadband planning efforts.

PES Energize—Pulaski Electric System (TN)

CTC staff acted as Pulaski Electric System’s trusted advisor during the planning and deployment of its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) system. We assisted with business planning, sales and marketing, and financial modeling, as well as providing engineering consultation. Our staff developed an FTTP business plan, including business models, cost analysis, and probabilistic outcome analysis. We also conducted residential market research to assess the market potential for a community offering of triple-play services.

Pikeville, KY

CTC is supporting Pikeville with a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) feasibility study and strategic planning. Our work has included an FTTP cost estimate and financial analysis. As part of our ongoing engagement, we wrote and administered a request for information (RFI) and a follow-up request for proposals (RFP) to identify potential for-profit and non-profit entities interested in partnering with the City to develop a citywide FTTP network. The City is committed to enhancing broadband availability for all its businesses, residents, and anchor institutions.

Summit County, CO

Summit County, Colorado, is a rural county deep in the Rocky Mountains. Despite its proximity to significant communications infrastructure, and the demand created by its residents and visitors, the County lacks sufficient access to reliable and robust broadband access, both wired and wireless.

To identify strategies that will help the County reach its goals—including improved broadband connectivity for residents, businesses, and public safety users; greater digital inclusion; the delivery of municipal services; governmental cost savings; and more efficient “connected government”—the County hired CTC to evaluate existing communications infrastructure, conduct outreach to the cellular carriers; evaluate potential solutions (including partnerships); and develop requests for information (RFI) to seek partners willing to engage on wireless or fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployment in the County.

CTC’s work with the County resulted in igniting discussions with major carriers who may be able to fill the coverage gaps in the County. Through the RFI process, the County now has a set of vendors that they are beginning to vet who may provide the County with a broadband solution that not only supports the County’s initiatives, but also provides a foundation for Smart City and other goals of the Towns within the County.

Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B), IL

CTC has been the strategic and business planning consultant to Urbana, Champaign, and the University of Illinois for more than seven years—since the coalition first conceived of constructing a middle-mile fiber network to connect community anchor institutions.

Following construction of the middle-mile fiber, we prepared a request for information (RFI) to enable the cities and the university to identify a private partner that would finance and operate an FTTP expansion of the network to serve 100 percent of the community. We evaluated potential partners’ proposals, then helped to negotiate with two partners to reduce the community’s risks and ensure that a partnership would achieve the coalition’s policy goals for digital inclusion.

As a result of the coalition’s final partnership, UC2B secured an open access Gigabit FTTP network buildout that, based on the negotiated agreement, would protect its public policy interest by providing the same opportunity for access to the entire community. In return, UC2B’s chosen partner would have access to UC2B’s existing middle-mile infrastructure (which it would operate) and the foundation of a significant last-mile consumer network.

Westminster, MD

The Westminster model that CTC pioneered is the most influential broadband P3 in establishing the model of city-owned fiber and private use of that fiber. The construction of the City’s FTTP network and its groundbreaking partnership are the culmination of a multi-year engagement with CTC. We first prepared an FTTP feasibility study, cost estimate, and business case for the City in 2012 and 2013. Our report, which focused on maximizing available backbone network connectivity, included a technical design and cost estimates for two last-mile FTTP pilot projects (one focused on residential customers, one focused on businesses).

Based on the strength of the City’s commitment to its principles, and the outcome of the feasibility analysis, the City decided to move forward with small-scale pilot projects.