Tag Archives: broadband development

DEC

21

Mason County and the City of Maysville, KY, Issue Broadband RFP

Mason County and the City of Maysville, KY (the City/County) seek a partner to review the current status of broadband availability in the community; plan for the construction of an expanded network to address underserved, unserved, and unreliably served areas; and construct and operate the broadband infrastructure.

The City/County seek to empower residents and local businesses to be network economy producers and believe this project will enable economic diversification and create new job opportunities. The City/County intend to support this vision with a fiscally sustainable, scalable, and long-term solution. Responses to this RFP will ideally consider community needs not just of today, but for 10 to 15 years in the future.

 Responses are due Monday, January 17, 2022, at 2:00 PM local time.

The full RFP is available here.

Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2021 by CTC Technology & Energy

OCT

12

New Federal Grant Opportunity for Broadband Economic Development Projects: $500 Million in New Funding with Applications Due Early in 2022

Heather Mills, V.P. for Grant & Funding Strategies
Lydia Weinberger, Civic Technology Analyst

A promising federal grant program has new funding and creates the potential for securing broadband funding to support economic development. The American Rescue Plan Act added $500 million in funding to the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program run by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

With the new funding, EAA represents a wide-ranging $500 million program to support planning and technical assistance projects in support of a strong and stable economy. Of that $500 million figure, $200 million is allocated to coal-impacted communities, leaving $300 million in the general pot.Grant awards will range from $500,000 to $5 million.[1]

While the EAA program has not traditionally had application deadlines, the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) recommends submitting application packages before March 31, 2022. We recommend you treat that date as a hard deadline;the EDA team needs time to review and process applications before their funding window closes at the end of September 2022.

Eligible entities include:

  • Cities, townships, counties, or special district governments
  • State governments
  • Federally recognized Tribal governments
  • Nonprofits (excluding higher education) in partnership with a local government
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and state institutions of higher education

Eligible applicants that applied for EAA CARES Act funding opportunity but were denied due to lack of funding can resubmit under the ARPA opportunity. As with the CARES Act funding opportunity, the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis is considered an eligible “special need,” and all areas of the country are eligible to apply.

If you are interested in applying, note that a Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) or acceptable equivalent must be in place for the intended project area; the CEDS must discuss the need for broadband; and you will need to show support from the business community.

 Applicants will need to explain what steps they will “take to ensure that the economic benefits of the project will be shared by all communities in the project region, including any underserved communities.”And most important: Applicants must explain how their proposed projects will ease the economic effects of the pandemic and how they will encourage job creation—or, even better, directly create them. This program’s emphasis is the economy, jobs, and more jobs.

The grant will fund 80 percent of a proposed project. As such, applicants should be prepared for at least a 20 percent match. Higher matches will make proposals more competitive in the review process. Keep in mind as you start your planning that a wide range of technical, planning, workforce development, and public works projects are eligible for funding under this program. Building, designing, or engineering infrastructure and facilities to advance economic development strategies, or planning efforts to implement such solutions, are all considered eligible costs.

CTC’s Grant and Funding Strategies team continues to analyze the latest developments in federal funding. Please contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss how CTC can assist you.


[1] This funding is in addition to $1.5 billion added to the program by the CARES Act last year, which was earmarked for projects to address pandemic recovery.

Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2021 by CTC Technology & Energy

OCT

26

City of Boston Awards CTC Public Broadband Initiative Support Contract

The City of Boston has awarded CTC a contract to support a significant public broadband initiative. The City is taking the next steps in its ongoing effort to upgrade broadband connectivity to Boston Public Schools facilities and public safety sites. CTC’s engineers will develop technical criteria for the City’s procurement of dark fiber, will assist in the evaluation of vendor proposals, and will be the City’s subject matter expert on dark fiber procurement and interconnection. Read more here.

Published: Monday, October 26, 2015 by Andrew Afflerbach

FEB

06

Facilitating Gigabit Fiber Buildouts Report Featured in Broadband Communities Magazine

BBmag

Last month, we published our report for Google, in which we layout the fundaments in a “How-to” strategy guide for facilitating a Gigabit Community. Since, we have received great feedback from the community including tweets from the Head of Community Affairs for Google and other industry pundits whom are promoting our work. This month, we are proud of our report making the cover of Broadband Communities magazine which is also highlighting our report as the Editor’s Choice for the month.

Download the full report here [PDF]. 

Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 by CTC Technology & Energy

JAN

23

Gigabit Communities: How Local Governments Can Facilitate Private Investment in New Gigabit Networks

Local governments have long pioneered efforts to expand broadband availability and competition; for more than a decade, they have tested public projects and public–private partnerships to deliver new broadband to their citizens. As they look to the future, communities can choose to build their own broadband networks or can work toward new partnerships with private broadband deployers. Among the models for partnership is one in which a community works to facilitate new private investment in gigabit-speed networks by optimizing available assets and processes at key touch-points in the construction cycle.

Our analysis is based on our work since 1996 assisting states and localities to plan, design, and build broadband networks. Based on that experience, we recently wrote a detailed analysis of these strategies (see our Gigabit Communities page) and below, we summarize some of the steps communities can take in such a partnership.

But we caution that these strategies are merely one side of a successful equation—and if there is not another side to the public-private partnership, local government efforts are unlikely to bear fruit. Indeed, unless the private partner is truly committed to building gigabit-capable networks, these strategies may serve merely to transfer some costs of doing business from an incumbent phone or cable company to the public.

Simply stated, the key ingredient for public-private partnership in gigabit deployment is true partnership between a locality and a willing and able private partner—one that is committed to building next-generation infrastructure rather than simply reducing costs on existing, inadequate legacy networks.

In brief summary, some of the strategies localities can undertake in partnership with private broadband deployers fall into three general categories:

      1. Facilitating access to key assets such as fiber, conduit, utility poles, and real estate
      2. Making available useful information
      3. Streamlining and publicizing essential local processes

These categories are described briefly here, with representative examples. Extensive additional examples, case studies, and engineering analysis are included in our full report.

STRATEGIES FOR ACCESS TO KEY ASSETS

One of the biggest challenges in bringing better broadband access to more people is the cost of building the networks. New network deployments benefit from quick access to existing fiber optics, utility poles, underground cable conduit, and real estate where equipment can be located. These assets reduce the provider’s construction costs (or the locality’s, in the event the infrastructure is for a public project). The local community can take steps to make existing assets available—and lessen the time and effort required to use them. Access to dark fiber, underground conduit, and real estate all time and cost saving strategies communities can use to help expedite construction.

In our view, access to fiber and conduit is the single most powerful tool a locality can use to incent construction of new fiber networks. The most important recommendations we have ever given our clients is to build conduit and fiber whenever the opportunity presents itself—those assets can support local governments’ own internal networks and, if sufficiently robust and extensive, can serve as the core for private deployment of new gigabit networks.

There are a range of strategies for building fiber/conduit assets locally, many of them very cost-effective if planned comprehensively. For example, the locality can require “dig-once” practices, in which both public and private entities build their fiber/conduit when other projects are underway—building fiber when the streets are already undergoing construction for other reasons makes for more efficient network construction. At the same time, the community benefits by reducing traffic disruptions from construction and protecting roads and sidewalks from life-shortening cuts.

Another critical need in broadband deployment is access to utility poles. Optimally, the network builder needs a swift “make-ready” process to prepare the poles for new fiber. In most communities, the poles are owned by phone and electric companies, which control both fees and time frames for new fiber attachments. Localities, however, can encourage private pole owners to consolidate attachments; reserve pole space; and undertake other steps that may reduce make-ready time and costs—thereby reducing the average cost of aerial fiber construction.

A further challenge is entry into a building or development. Localities can require by code—or incentive—that developers build additional pathways from the public rights-of-way to an in-building demarcation as well as internal, standards-compliant building cabling or cable pathways.

 

STRATEGIES FOR INFORMATION ACCESS

Most localities already devote considerable resources to data collection. Some data sets already have on hand can be made available to network deployers. With this information, it becomes easier, faster, and cheaper to plan large-scale broadband construction projects. Similarly, by making available data regarding their existing fiber and conduit, localities can enable providers to lease public fiber and conduit as part of their network designs.

Existing Geographic Information Systems—advanced mapping systems with high-resolution detail—can serve new purposes that weren’t previously contemplated. For example, GIS data on buildings, streets, utilities, zoning, and a host of other layers can be enormously helpful to construction project managers as they examine options and determines what assets are needed to plan and to build.

 

STRATEGIES FOR PROCESS EFFICIENCY

As with any large-scale project, smooth processes enhance broadband deployment. At the same time, localities have to balance the needs of broadband providers with the public cost of the processes necessary to support them and with other priorities that clamor for the same resources. Unlike a private sector partner, a locality cannot focus its internal processes and efforts on one single end goal; local governments are responsible for impacts throughout their communities that do not concern the broadband industry.

One way to balance these competing interests is to make processes standard and easily identifiable. Such strategies enable localities to facilitate broadband projects without sacrificing their ability to simultaneously attend to other projects and priorities. For example, timelines can be determined based on local needs, publicized, and then met. Whether a community commits to review permit applications within three days or 10 days or 20 days, that commitment can be publicized and then consistently met. Transparency about processes and timelines enables broadband companies to expeditiously plan and deploy networks, and enables localities to manage the costs and burdens of the processes necessary to meet broadband providers’ needs. Government and provider stakeholders can cooperatively plan before construction so as to understand respective schedules and needs, and so that the provider can plan to stage its work around known and predictable local processes.

Our full, detailed report on this topic can be found here. The report was prepared with sponsorship from Google, but the content represents our independent view and we are solely responsible for the analysis. Our thanks to Google for the support that enabled us to write this report, which we hope will serve to advance gigabit network deployment, a cause we consider fundamental to the national interest and to the interests of our local communities.

Joanne Hovis, President
Andrew Afflerbach, Ph.D, PE, CEO

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 by CTC Technology & Energy

JUL

29

Officials Announce Latest Regional Broadband Grant for Garrett County, MD

For the second time in two years, Garrett County, Maryland has received a $250,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for community broadband development. The grant, which will be matched dollar for dollar by the County, is the latest in a series of major steps the small county has taken toward solving the challenge of rural broadband access faced by many communities across the country.

“ARC support for broadband expansion is good news for Garrett County residents and businesses,” said Congressman John Delaney (MD-6), who announced the award on Friday. “In the early days of Western Maryland, roads, rails, and rivers connected our communities to the rest of the country. Much of today’s commerce and communication takes place online and high-speed, high-capacity, online access is as essential as a navigable river or a paved road once was. This is precisely the kind of communications infrastructure investment that I believe is essential to our region’s future economic health.”

The award will help Garrett County develop wireless network resources for homes and businesses in unserved pockets of a mountainous and sparsely populated region. In 2012, CTC Technology & Energy recommended that the County pursue a public network using “TV White Spaces,” a nascent broadband technology carried over vacant television frequencies. The County’s connectivity goals are within reach in large part due to the One Maryland Broadband Network, the state’s NTIA funded fiber project that has brought over 45 miles of fiber optic backbone cable to Garrett County.

The new TV White Space network will reach 800 homes in its initial phase. The County’s goal is for the network to reach upwards of 3,000 homes through additional funding and partnership opportunities in the coming years, connecting the remaining 2,200 residences by 2016.

CTC Technology & Energy and Garrett County continue to partner on developing deployment strategies and finding private partners to provide Internet service to users of the network.

Published: Monday, July 29, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy

JUN

19

CTC Technology & Energy Report Makes Case for Government Fiber in Holly Springs, N.C.

A June report released by CTC Technology & Energy recommends that the Town of Holly Springs, North Carolina move ahead with plans to construct fiber optic broadband infrastructure to serve its public institutions. The Business Case for Government Fiber Optics in Holly Springs states that the return on investment of a Town-built fiber network would mitigate the capital costs of the project. “A Town-owned infrastructure,” the report states, “is the most cost effective approach for meeting internal Town networking needs in the long term.” Constructing a Town-owned fiber backbone would cost an estimated $1.3 to $1.5 million.

The Town, like many local governments, currently leases broadband infrastructure to serve its needs. Holly Springs will spend an estimated $159,000 per year for these leased services in the coming years; CTC Technology & Energy expects the Town to need to scale its network capacity to at least 1 Gbps circuits for its schools, libraries, and other facilities to keep pace with bandwidth demands. The cost of leased service will rise further with the planned construction of new police and recreational facilities. According to the report, if the Town invests in its own fiber, in the “worst case” scenario, the cost of financing this infrastructure would be comparable to continuing to pay for leased services. CTC Technology & Energy projects a cost savings between $922,000 and $1.1 million resulting from the Town building 1 Gbps circuits to each of its facilities.

The report goes on to recommend a strategy of building Town fiber toward private sector Internet providers, key businesses, and residential neighborhoods. In this way, the Town can encourage private sector providers to build last-mile networks, leasing fiber backbone from the Town, to directly connect homes and businesses. This strategy helps bring Holly Springs closer to the ultimate goal of encouraging fiber-to-the-premises technology to be built throughout the Town.

Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy

JUN

11

Culver City, CA Taps CTC Technology & Energy for Fiber Optic Study

CTC Technology & Energy will conduct a feasibility study for Culver City, California to explore developing fiber optic network connections for economic development sites and other locations throughout the City. The study will evaluate the existing needs of City agencies and private businesses in target areas. CTC Technology & Energy will develop a system-level design and cost projection for the construction and operation of a City-owned fiber infrastructure. The report will include an analysis of various business models the City could pursue, including selling City-lit fiber directly to businesses, selling circuits to third-party service providers, and dark fiber leasing with neighboring municipalities.

Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy

MAY

20

CTC Technology & Energy to Develop Broadband Plan for Kansas Hospital Association

CTC Technology & Energy is working with the Kansas Hospital Association (KHA) on plans to develop a high-speed network for the state’s healthcare community. KHA is a non-profit organization promoting the interests of community hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout Kansas.

CTC Technology & Energy kicked off the project by meeting with KHA staff and member organizations. Kansas hospitals and healthcare facilities, particularly in rural areas, are hungry for more bandwidth and service options as they migrate their systems away from old T-1 lines. CTC will develop a technical strategy, prepare a business case analysis, and submit a feasibility study and strategic recommendations for bringing high speed intranet and Internet service to KHA members.

KHA will release a Request for Information in the coming weeks to gauge interest from service providers interested in partnering with the Association.

Published: Monday, May 20, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy

MAY

07

Lawrence, KS Releases CTC Technology & Energy Broadband Report

The City of Lawrence has released CTC Technology & Energy’s report on broadband within the City, titled “Enhancing Broadband in Lawrence: A Range of Strategic Options.” CTC Technology & Energy conducted an assessment of Lawrence’s current state of broadband availability and demand, and outlined thirteen different potential strategies to increase broadband access for the City’s residents and businesses.

Though home to a major research university and a vibrant local economy, Lawrence does not have the same level of broadband availability as other comparable communities, particularly with respect to fiber optic technology. Among the various broadband enhancement strategies discussed in the report are: further investment in municipal fiber projects; leasing of excess City fiber infrastructure; collaboration with partners such as Kansas University and Gig.U to attract further investment; and pursuing discussions with Google Fiber in neighboring Kansas City.

Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy