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
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
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
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
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
The Town Council of Holly Springs, N.C. has given the green light for CTC Technology & Energy to begin work on the Town’s fiber optic network plans. CTC Technology & Energy will develop a business case for expanding the Town’s network capacity and offer specific strategies for fiber utilization. The town seeks to increase data communications and network redundancy among Town facilities, and opportunities for economic growth through dark fiber leasing to private carriers.
CTC Technology & Energy will develop a business case analysis, and subsequently a business model for the municipal network. The final report will explore the revenue potential of leasing dark fiber as well as cost savings opportunities associated with providing dark fiber connections to schools and libraries. The network would also enable the Town to tap into the statewide North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), providing connections with schools, hospitals, and other municipalities across the state.
Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy
CTC Technology & Energy will support the State of New Mexico over the course of the next two years on the implementation of two regional broadband pilot programs. The pilots will test strategies for developing plans for broadband expansion and maximizing the benefits of federal funding for rural broadband programs.
CTC Technology & Energy prepared a guidebook for the state on local and regional community broadband planning in 2012. The pilots will enable many of the guidebook’s recommendations to be implemented in the two selected areas. The plans will place an emphasis on demonstrating how regional broadband planning and implementation can work over the long term throughout New Mexico. The pilots will also seek to inform the development of public-private partnerships among localities, service providers, utilities and other regional stakeholders. The project will also emphasize ways to maximize the benefits of federal grants that fund broadband deployment in low-income and rural areas, telemedicine for veterans, and distance learning applications.
Even though there will be only two pilot areas, all regions of the State will also have access to the data, applications, and guidance to consider for their own communities’ specific broadband needs and efforts.
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy
The Colorado intergovernmental broadband cooperative EAGLE-Net has released CTC Technology & Energy’s 2012 study on the public middle-mile carrier. The report compares the EAGLE-Net approach with successful models in other states. CTC Technology & Energy’s analysis addresses the concerns expressed by some Colorado companies over EAGLE-Net’s scope of network construction. The report highlights various benefits of the EAGLE-Net network, including: substantial economic growth and job creation; unique intranet capabilities for public entities; and network expansion into unserved areas.
CTC Technology & Energy found EAGLE-Net’s practices to be in line with industry norms. The report states that the cooperative has followed best practices to “maximize win-win outcomes with existing providers.” In addition to concluding that EAGLE-Net has operated in a transparent and open manner that has been non-controversial elsewhere in the country, the report notes a number of key benefits conveyed by the network not otherwise addressed by private carriers. These include: rural network access; fiber-to-the-premises availability; last-mile fiber investment stimulation; and affordable and sustainable service to community anchor institutions.
The full report can be read here.
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy
The City of Lawrence, Kansas has partnered with CTC Technology & Energy to plan for its digital future. CTC Technology & Energy will evaluate the current state of broadband in Lawrence and propose strategies for expanding network infrastructure to serve homes, businesses, and the public sector.
The City Commissioners, who have indicated concerns over the available speeds and costs of broadband in the community, seek ways to leverage Lawrence’s existing infrastructure to encourage further private investment in broadband capacity. Included in CTC Technology & Energy’s analysis will be an assessment of short- and long-term economic development opportunities through fiber and wireless broadband expansion.
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 by CTC Technology & Energy
CTC Technology & Energy’s investment in solar energy is showing results. The company’s 12.48 kilowatt (DC) rooftop photovoltaic array has produced more than 9 megawatt-hours of energy since it was activated this summer. The energy savings is enough to power 298 houses for a day, and offsets CTC Technology & Energy’s carbon footprint by 6.23 tons, or the equivalent of 160 trees.
CTC Technology & Energy completed installing the solar array at its headquarters office in Kensington, MD in May. With the capacity to produce tens of thousands of watt-hours of energy per day, the solar power source will significantly reduce CTC Technology & Energy’s power grid usage.
The system interfaces with the electrical grid through a “net metering” system, where solar power replaces what would otherwise be drawn from the grid. When more solar power is generated than consumed, the surplus is exported back to the grid.
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 by CTC Technology & Energy