Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Running Fiber in New Residential Developments: Why Don't More Developers Do This?

There's a bunch of buzz surrounding the pre-State of the Union teaser that President Obama put out yesterday: Affordable High-speed Broadband for All Americans



I'm blessed to have friends on every side of every issue; who either love or despise when the President makes an announcement, so it keeps me on my toes. This one, was not immune to that .. obviously.

But, it got me thinking: This is a pretty big undertaking for a City, I mean, Cedar Falls started this in 1994, in a city of 40,000 at 30 sq. mi., and that's not even too big comparatively speaking. When Cedar Falls Utilities was established, it was built to provide "municipal water service, electricity generation and distribution, natural gas service, and combined cable television and Internet access to its customers." What a fantastic idea: own the infrastructure and let others use it by creating a competitive environment that benefits the residents. 


"FTTH fiber-to-the-home" by Dennis van Zuijlekom licensed under CC BY 2.0

So while Cedar Falls, or Vegas, or Ozona, Texas (the goat roping Capital of the World), might find the task daunting, why haven't more land developers taken the initiative to offer these services, in a smaller scale? Remove all of the utility services, just be the fiber transport to the houses, and you have increased the value of your neighborhood pretty significantly. 



Google Fiber is taking on the task of doing this for cities that don't have their own Municipal Utility, and they're shaking up the carriers left and right; just wait til Title II goes through and they have the same access to right-of-ways that carriers have.

Clearly I am not a builder or developer and have no idea what the costs are that are involved, but if I'm already running sewage, water, electrical, etc, what's another conduit or another cable down that conduit? Obviously it can have it's ups and downs, but it seems pretty simple (if done right): Head-end the whole thing at the entrance to the property in a patch panel or enclosure and start the bidding! There might even be an opportunity for you to make a little scratch doing it. 

There are probably a few legal issues that need to be solved, but that's the case with everything.  I'm sure that the local providers can help offset the cost of the equipment at the "head-end", but even if the developer builds it out, it can still be made up through the sale of the lots by offering a unique ultra high-speed connection on property.

Even if the cable companies, telcos, and local LECs don't take advantage of delivering fiber to the head-end from their network, it still leaves room to work with a local WISP to shoot a high speed microwave link to the property and provide some great access.
Maybe I'm thinking about this all wrong: Maybe it's the WISPs that need to approach the builders in their communities and strike agreements with them:
"Hey, we'll pay for the fiber if you run it and sign a contract allowing us to provide high-speed broadband to your community"
I don't know why this hasn't worked, maybe the blogosphere can shed some light on it for me, I'd love to see what the hurdles are so that maybe we can collectively get over them. This is too good of a thing to not be happening with every builder, in every new neighborhood, in every community.

There's probably some light to be shed by reading up on trade mags or attending a conference to "Gigafy America", so maybe I'll check that out in Austin in March.

Feel free to send me some tix to the show :)
Oh yeah, and you can put Wi-Fi on all the poles in the neighborhood to as an added benefit.  After all, this is a wireless blog :)

As usual, thoughts and words are kindly accepted.
I post not because I know, but because I don't know :)

No comments:

Post a Comment