City Fiber Strategies

Governments and carriers are cooperating on fiber to the home proposals, most notably in Austalia and recently in Hawaii. But other areas are getting on board the fast train.

Hyperoptic is offering select residents of London access to 1 Gbps fiber to the home for £50 ($79) per month (in multi-dwelling buildings only). Virgin’s 100Mbps service is priced at £35 per month, while BT’s 40Mbps Infinity services runs £28 per month including line rental.

Cisco is working with U.K. cable operator Virgin Media, deploying DOCSIS 3.0 for faster broadband speeds. During an ongoing trial in East London, Virgin Media achieved broadband speeds of 1.5 Gbps using Cisco’s (3G60) Broadband Processing Engine, high-density line cards and Cable Modem Termination System for the residence.

Cisco’s technology was also used in a demonstration of the technology at the Cable Show by Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. He downloaded an entire season of 30 Rock — 23 full episodes — in about a minute and a half,” noted Murali Nemani at Cisco. “And he did it on camera, over a real-world production network, the first ever with 1-Gbps broadband download speeds.

Portland Oregon’s Broadband Strategic Plan (pdf) will be considered by Portland’s City Council on September 14 at 2:00 pm. An adoption of the plan would provide a long-term strategic vision for the role of Broadband infrastructure in Portland’s future.

UPDATE: The Portland City Council voted in favor of the Broadband Plan this afternoon.

Key stragegies and goals of Portland’s Broadband Plan include:

  • Prioritize “Big Pipe” Capacity: Plan and incentivize very high bandwidth Broadband deployment through clustering and co-locating very large capacity users, and providing economic incentives to providers to serve these areas.
  • Attract R&D: Work with institutional partners, including OHSU, PSU, PDC, the State and others to attract at least one major research and development facility whose work requires very high capacity broadband infrastructure and globally-based research.
  • Standards and Best Practices: Partner with Education, Industry and Research Organizations to encourage involvement in standards development, open architecture and the evolution of work and markets
  • Eliminate broadband capacity, equity, access and affordability gaps so Portland achieves near universal adoption of broadband services for all residents, small businesses and community based organizations.
  • Establish Neighborhood Broadband Hubs: Create high-capacity access points within neighborhood community centers.
  • Expand City Capacity to Address Digital Equity: Improve equity through dedicated funding and staff resources and community partnerships.
  • Facilitate Marketplace Competition: Advocate for and facilitate robust competition in Portland’s Broadband marketplace.
  • Create Broadband Centers of Excellence: Create innovative alliances, partnerships and incentives to develop advanced services and applications locally.

Basically, Portland wants to drive fiber to the neighborhood, especially to hospitals, fire stations, schools, libraries, and community centers. Entrepreneurs can take it from there.

Once the strategic plan is adopted, a work plan for 2012-2013 will be developed through the City’s budget process. It is this first work plan which will launch the activities that stem from the goals and key strategies.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is pushing to bring high-speed fiber-optic connections to businesses in the city, starting in Pioneer Square. Portland’s Strategic Broadband Plan aims to lay fiber to schools, hospitals and community centers, first, then build out from there.

South Korea has launched a nationwide broadband upgrade to rid themselves of 100Mbps service for $38 a month. By the end of 2012, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second and slash the monthly price to just $27 a month.

GigOm compiled a list of places that offer 1 Gbps residential connections.

But let’s not dismiss municipal wireless broadband, just yet. By 2013 more than one million hotspot venues will be available worldwide and by 2015 there will be nearly 1 billion 802.11ac-enabled devices, says InStat. Wi-Fi hotspots have become a service used to attract customers to other product offerings.

Ubiquiti’s RocketM5 APs teamed with three AirMax sector antennas (above) with Cloud Control might provide inexpensive wireless backbones. With a range of 8 km (5 miles) it could serve dozens of White Space neighborhood access points. In turn, White Space clients might easily connect – through walls – to a White Space AP several blocks away. Instead of 40-50 wifi nodes costing $100K/sq mile, White Space nodes might reduce cost by a factor of ten with enhanced indoor penetration. Theoretically, low-cost white space infrastructure could deliver “free” broadband – subsidized by advertising.

“Free” municipal WiFi, subsidized by advertising, was envisioned but never delivered on its promise. Municipal Wi-Fi infrastructure cost too much — almost $100K per sq mile. It required 30-40 nodes per mile, lots of backhaul and maintenance. Designed on the edge of operability, these networks became unreliable as WiFi’s own popularity increased the noise floor. Free WiFi also began spreading to neighborhood coffee shops, restaurants and pubs, where it was a better match for WiFi’s limited range. That also reduced demand for a municipal service.

Today, 4G networks are available in most urban centers — but they cost $40-$80 a month. If broadband wireless were half that cost — even free with advertising — the impact on newspapers, magazines, education, transportation, software developers and the general economy could be huge.

If longer-range “White Space” access points can indeed cut costs by a factor of ten AND deliver reliable broadband everywhere, then community broadband may have another shot.

Related Fiber Optic articles on Dailywireless and 650 related Municipal Wireless stories include; Hawaii Plans Broadband Initiative, Unlicensed Muni Broadband: Take Two?, Ten Largest Data Centers, The Fiber Utility, 1 Gbps Fiber Comes Home, HomeGrid: Closer to Home, Ocean Observatories off the Oregon Coast, A Splash Page proposal for Newport, Bike Sharing with RF-ID, Telehealth in a Watch, CitySense, Ofcom: White Spaces by 2013, Meraki’s Outdoor Cloud-Controlled Hotspots and US Lags in Broadband, Philadelphia: On Again?, Wireless Philadelphia: Born Again?, Earthlink to Philly: We’re Outta Here, Philadelphia WiFi Network To Shut Down June 12, MetroFi Vs Portland, EarthLink’s Old Milpitas Network Now Free, Minneapolis WiFi Breaks Even, A MuniFi Roundup, Muni-Fi’s Got Trouble, Who the MuniFi MAN?, Municipal WiFi: What Would You Do?, Wireless Silicon Valley: Would You Believe a Dozen Hotspots in San Carlos?, Clearwire in Portland, WiMAX Speed Test in Portland – 10 Mbps, Free Grass Roots Wi-Fi: It Works in Portland, Starbucks Adds AT&T Wi-Fi, Dvorak: Muni WiFi Will Die, and Minneapolis Bridge Collapse & Emergency Communications.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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