“Gigabit envy”, a term that has been introduced since Google (News - Alert) started deploying its superfast Google Fiber network, is being displayed by many communities around the country. Currently the envy is directed toward the only cities in which Google Fiber is available, Kansas City, Austin, and Provo. While many communities around the country applied during the original vetting process, not many were chosen, and the rate at which Google is moving the process appears to be too slow for many of these communities. A guest post written by Joanne Hovis, a communications policy expert and president of CTC (News - Alert) Technology & Energy, on the Google Fiber Blog on Feb. 11, provides some pointers on how communities can increase their chances of attracting a fiber project.
As the former president of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), Hovis is able to shed light on what Google or any other fiber company needs in order to simplify the process of its fiber network deployment. Even though Google is one of the richest companies in the world, it has to select communities in which the infrastructure can be deployed with minimal costs. So to that end Hovis said, "There are certain steps that cities and counties can take that could help attract fiber companies to build private local networks."
Because digging is a huge part of deploying fiber networks underground, or raising poles to string fiber in the air, the first suggestion is to implement a "dig once" policy. What this means is communities should lay down fiber conduits while they are doing maintenance or digging up the streets in order to fix or install sewer or water pipes. By laying down the conduit while they are addressing these other issues, they will be able to avoid additional costs in the future and attract more companies that want to use the conduits. The "dig once" policy provides benefits to the community by avoiding future disruptions due to road closures and the costs associated with undergoing digging projects.
Another point Hovis makes is for communities to fully understand the layout of their infrastructure and make it available with 100 percent accurate points of interest. By making this information available, it will eliminate the need for companies to perform surveys, which is a time-intensive and costly process.
Speaking of process, if there is anything that delays collaboration between public and private organizations it is the many processes governments have in place. Streamlining these processes and making it as efficient as possible for the duration of the project can sway a company to choose one city over another. Local governments can expedite or implement a process in which companies will be able to address the issues regarding permits and other requirements more efficiently.
Hovis suggests looking at case studies that are available on Gigabit-Communities.com to see what has worked and what each community can do in order to improve their chances.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson