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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Sunday, May 11, 2003


New Hampshire town urged to consider a public-private FTTH network

New Hampshire town urged to consider a public-private FTTH network

A private company, the Merton Group, is proposing the town of Hampton, NH partner with it to build a city-wide FTTH (fiber to the home) network.

My take on this proposition:
Hampton does not own its' own power utility as do most other towns that are deploying FTTH networks in the U.S. As a result, they will have to pay the town's pole owners (some mix of the local power company and/or the local phone company) a monthly fee for access to the poles. Also, since no space has been reserved for them by other pole users, in many cases the town will have to pay to have crowded poles replaced with new, taller poles in order to meet the cable spacing requirements of the National Electrical Safety Code. Such pole replacements can easily cost $3,000 to $5,000 because they require skilled linemen and heavy equipment to physically move energized power lines in service from one pole to the other.

The work required to get the poles and rights-of-way ready to actually install fiber cable is called "make-ready" and can easily exceed the cost of the fiber cable and its installation.

Cities that own their own power systems can also get stuck with a lot of costly pole replacements -- unless they use ADSS (all-dielectric self-supporting) fiber cable and install it near the power conductors where there's usually room available.

The article quoted a merton Group official as saying: "'The very first step is a feasibility study to find "a sense of the community,"' McGarty noted. The Merton Group would also get an accurate count of the number of telephone poles in town, and build a financial model specific to Hampton. The initial work could be done in 10-11 weeks, he said."

Hopefully, Merton's pole count will also include a pole-by-pole assessment of the amount of "make-ready" work required, including pole replacements. We've seen too many feasibility assessments gloss over the costs and details of what too often then ends up being an unanticipated project requirement.

Sunday, May 11, 2003 #

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