All posts by Wade

No Holiday for Tech or it’s Workers!

COP Banners for Wade4wireless

Technology does not get a day off. In fact, people rely on it more on their days off. Can you deny that you won’t be on the internet, posting pictures from your smartphone, or anything like that over your holiday break? Can you possibly live without Facebook to share those special moments with family that couldn’t be there when your kids open that gift? Maybe when they put on that outfit someone in another state bought so they get to see the excitement, or gloom, in the kid’s eyes when they try it on for the first time.

Tower Safety for all your safety training!

Most people that use their technology have no idea how hard it is to make changes are upgrades when the fewest number of people are using it. This could be the holidays or overnight. Most engineers, installers, and even climbers have worked these shifts.

I worked many holidays back in the day! It is part of the job description when you do any public safety or carrier work. It’s business as usual. Upgrades, repairs, emergencies, and anything else that may have needed to be done. I have also got called out for useless things that someone thought was important, although we know it wasn’t, you know what I mean. Stupid stuff that could have waited. It’s all part of the job, which is really a lifestyle when you think about it.

Memories! I was called out on New Year’s Eve back when I was in paging because we all thought that the year 200 GPS roll over was going to crash systems, remember Y2K? I do, I worked that New

Year’s Eve as did all our teams to make sure the paging terminals, controllers and microwave uplinks would not crash. Fun times? No, but the team was awesome! They did a great job and didn’t complain, too much.

I was called out on Christmas when a system crashed, and a hospital needed to stay in touch. It was a quick fix that only took 6 hours or so, but it was back on the air when I was finished.

I once left a Thanksgiving because a modem was locked up. I drove 60 miles to reboot a modem so people could connect. All this at midnight so it would work the first thing in the morning.

I once had to repair a terrestrial link that died the day my oldest son was born. It failed because someone in the office changed something they shouldn’t have, and it crashed. Things happen, people do stupid things, and this is what happens. I don’t judge because I do stupid things. Sometimes the timing could be better, that’s all. Because the company didn’t want to pay for a contractor to come, they called me. They didn’t seem to know I was up all night in the hospital watching my oldest son come into this world. My son is doing great by the way.

Enough about me, let’s hear a great story about a big venue! The Las Vegas Convention Center is impressive, full of Wi-Fi and carriers. Cox manages most of the wireless there and they do a great job. The team there has done an outstanding job building up the Wi-Fi and managing the wireless carriers throughout the center. I am impressed with all that they have done.

However, the Cox team has a tough job. They look at holidays, even Christmas, as a prime time to upgrade their system. I was out at IWCE a few years back and I got to talk to the team that manages the wireless systems. They were a great bunch of guys. There is one Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!guy managing almost all the wireless. His main responsibility was the Wi-Fi, but he also would oversee the DAS and carrier work inside the convention center.

You see, for the convention center to deal with all the carriers and the Wi-Fi vendors is a headache for them. After all, their business is booking the convention center and maintaining it. Wireless is one part of it. So, they have a team to manage the wireless. Under the wireless umbrella is Wi-Fi and Cellular. The cellular, in this case, is all the carriers who have coverage in the building. It really is impressive the way they have the systems installed to cover the entire venue.

It’s more than Wi-Fi, it is also the tracking of users, the counting of people in the venue and walking by. The managing of all the heavy data usage. The Cox team does an amazing job managing everything, physical and data. It’s no easy task.

If you think that they get a day off, guess again, they usually work holidays to make sure that the upgrades and changes are made. No SOW Training Coverone said wireless gets a day off. Holidays are when the teams do upgrades, additions, and changes. That is how these venues continue to grow and improve.

He told me the story of how he had to work Christmas, like most holidays, because the convention center is empty, and they can make changes without hurting service or interrupting people on the floor.

This shows you that they really care about the uptime and quality of the service not to mention the interruption of anything going on. They know that they have a window to work when no one can be interrupted. They do this when they can, which is generally a holiday when everyone else is off and enjoying their family time.

In tech and wireless, believe it or not, the customer really does come first. User experience matters.

These guys work hard when you relax just so you have a great user experience when you’re at the convention center for anything.

It’s not just him, the installers, engineers, commissioning teams,

everyone, all there so that the system gets installed properly. They look at holidays as the day to get things done without customer complaining or getting in the way.

So, when using your smartphone or getting on Facebook, think how many people are working to make sure you can post on Facebook or share this blog and listen to my podcast. Technology has come a long way, but it still takes people to install and commission. Plug and Play is close, but for the large deployments, it’s not quite there. Even so, you still need to install the gear, even small cells, they don’t show up by themselves and the drones can’t do it. It’s not an app, but physical hardware that will be attached to a physical structure.

I have to tell you, I don’t miss being called out or working for someone else on holidays. I get to work on my writing or things like that and spend time with family. I missed so much when my kids were young. That’s right, while the work was rewarding, it does bring regrets. Unfortunately, we don’t realize that until you hit my age. When you think these people work hard, they do, they also give up a lot, miss a lot, sacrifice a lot. That’s why I write, so I have more choices in how I spend my time. It took me over 50 years to figure that out.

Thank you to all the installers, engineers, IT technicians, wireless workers and construction workers that gave up their holidays to make sure we have a better system. Thank you for making it so reliable, and trying not to inconvenience the people who can’t live without Facebook or LinkedIn. I was one of you and now I enjoy all that work that you still do today. I hope you get paid well because you deserve it.

Godspeed!

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

May you find peace!

Resources:

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!

  Get all your updates via email!

 

Tower Safety for all your safety training!

 

 

 

Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

 

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign-up to get all your updates!

 

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

What is Carrier Aggregation?

COP Banners for Wade4wireless

 

Did you ever hear of carrier aggregation and wonder, “What is Carrier Aggregation?”, at least in the wireless world. How does it work and how will it help improve bandwidth and what does it have to do with 5G?

Well, I am so glad you asked! Let’s do this!Tower Safety for all your safety training!

Carrier Aggregation, a LTE feature that bonds together multiple carriers to make it look like on big channel or pipe. An excellent explanation can be found at http://www.3gpp.org/technologies/keywords-acronyms/101-carrier-aggregation-explained where they explain in detail how it’s done.

Let me give you the high level of what it is, how it works, and why we love it.

It can be used on TDD or FDD, in fact, the beauty of aggregation is that it crosses formats and puts together into one. This was the foundation for LAA and LWA, (Licensed Assist Access and LTE Wi-Fi aggregation. The key here is that the LTE carrier can use multiple carriers look like one big carrier, regardless of where the bandwidth comes from. This is exciting because we used to be limited to one carrier. Now we can have many carriers all working together to reach higher than 100 Mbps throughput speeds!

How can they do that? Well, in this data-centric world we could use multiple RF sources if both sides can receive and transmit, then the data can be aggregated together. The RF becomes the pipe. The devices must be able to receive all the spectrum to get the benefits.

The best examples are AT&T who was able to use multiple bands to jump from 10.69 Mbps to 15.18 Mbps using carrier aggregation. Sprint can aggregate 3 carriers in the 2.5GHz band to get more throughput than almost anyone on a standard LTE carrier.

We still rely on the coverage to be good. We also need to know that the carrier has aggregation functions enabled. Here in the USA, anyone using LTE has this enabled. If not, get on with it.

The goal is to get past 1Gbps in throughput, and the way to do that is by using the spectrum we have and putting it all together to look like one big pipe. It may need help like massive MIMO and 64 and/or 256 quadrature amplitude modulation, (QAM) to make it happen along with carrier aggregation.

How is this done? Well, according to Carrier Aggregation for dummies, link below, we can use 2 10MHz channels along with 2×2 MIMO to get 150Mbps, then we jump to 4CA, 4 carriers of 10MHz each along with 2×2 MIMO to get 600Mbps of throughput. Awesome! The 600Mbps is happening today and should be out in the real world soon! I can’t wait!

So how is it done? The carrier aggregation is done when the data is controlled by the core and a header is attached to the packets going out to the device so that the device can piece them all back together. The caveat is that the transmitting device must send all the data at the same time and the UE device has to receive, (hear), all the data at the same time. The device will put the blocks all back together, so they look like a huge pipe of data being push into your device! BAM! Big data throughput shoved into those tiny devices over the air!

Let’s simplify, we can take channels of 20MHz, 15MHz, and 5MHz over the air and add carrier aggregation to talk to the device. The device should have two receive antennas, and the transmitter should have two transmit antennas. The data all goes out to the device at the same time, and when the packet is sent, it thinks it is going through a 40 MHz pipe, and this equates to a downlink rate of 300Mbps using 64 QAM using 2×2 MIMO. The 2×2 MIMO is the antennas all working together. The 64 QAM is the modulation rate. Do you feel it? Do you feel the power of aggregation making wireless connections feel more and more like fiber? What was once a Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!spattering of spectrum is slowly becoming a beautiful orchestra all playing together as one solid melody. Again, I wish I could hear the beauty, but all I can do is impress you with a speed test on my smartphone.

Modulation is increasing as 256 QAM is being rolled out, three carrier aggregation is here today, and we are using LTE in conjunction with more spectrum. In theory, using TDD on 2.5GHz should put Sprint in prime position to make the leap to 5G massive broadband in no time, that is, if they can get out of their own way to make that happen. Instead, I see T-Mobile making great things happen with the spectrum they have. There is a company that I wish had more spectrum to pump massive data out to the masses, but let’s put our personal opinions aside.

Do you get what is happening? The shift of new breakthroughs is increasing wireless throughput to improve. I mentioned massive MIMO in an earlier post, I explained TDD and FDD, now you have more on aggregation to show you that the wireless 1Gbps is just around the corner, possibly in 2019.

Sign-up to get all your updates!

SOW Training Cover

Remember when carriers relied on the FCC to release more and more spectrum, that should be less of an issue with aggregation and massive MIMO. We should see new throughputs as well as efficiencies and loading improvements throughout the next several years.

Now, you are wondering why we need this, fair question. This is going to be one more stepping stone to 5G and the throughput requirements that are expected. You see, it is not done with just one leap in technology, it is done in steps. To get to 5G we may need new hardware, but the goal is to put out the box and antennas that will last for over five years, nearly an eternity in technology. If you do not believe me, ask yourself when the last time you got a new smartphone, is it over five years old? Seriously, think about it. Is it over five years old? Why did you get a new one? Nuff said!

So there you have it, yet another leap made towards the 5G massive broadband dream! Aggregation is incredible! It’s being done today! Combine that with massive MIMO, and we have liftoff to the beginning of 1Gbps to every new smart device out there in 2020. Do you feel the power of broadband in your hand! Who needs a cable connection when your smartphone can be the access point in your house. Triple play already exists on your smartphone. With it you can watch Netflix on any device, after all, you don’t want to miss a single episode of Game of Thrones! Binge watch baby, don’t stop! You have unlimited data.

Resources:

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!

  Get all your updates via email!

 

Tower Safety for all your safety training!

 

 

 

Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

 

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign-up to get all your updates!

 

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

What is Massive MIMO?

What is massive MIMO? Let’s start with MIMO, Multiple in Multiple out.

What is MIMO?

Well, in wireless technology MIMO means that you have several antennas and radios all on one BTS. So, you have one BTS with a

sector that has multiple antennas for transmit and receive. So, the alpha sector could have four transmit and four receive all in one panel. With only a few transmit and receive, the radio head could be behind the antenna. MIMO is already deployed across the US by almost all the carriers helping LTE reach the speeds it has today. That along with carrier aggregation, improved processing, optimization techniques, and a myriad of additional features making that smartphone look faster than your laptop when running an app.

What is massive MIMO?

This is where we have more active elements in the antenna; this could be 64T64R or 128T128R or even higher. The 64T is 64 transmit elements, and 64R is 64 receive elements. Just imagine the feature we get from MIMO, listed above, are suddenly on steroids and making the current features even better! WOW!

This changes many things on the tower. Since running 64 coax jumpers is not practical, the OEMs are inclined to create an active antenna. That would be an antenna with the radio head inside of the antenna so that they could have a connection between each radio head to each element. It just makes sense. No more coax and fiber direct to the antenna. No more radio head and power to the antenna.

What changes will happen in the eNodeB? The BBU will need to handle more processing than ever! They will also need to improve the BBU, the baseband unit.

Why do we need massive MIMO?

Several reasons come to mind, listed below, feel free to add more.

  • High bandwidth needed for throughput
  • Spectral efficiency for improved spectrum usage
  • Lower latency
  • Improved device density connectivity
  • It is a step towards 5G

What does the BBU need to do to support massive MIMO?

It needs to process so much more data. Now, instead of controlling one or 8 radio heads, it will need to process and distribute the power Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!across 64 or more individual radio elements. It needs to pass more data.

The BBU needs to be significantly improved. What will it do?

  • Process more data
  • More bandwidth
  • Control more radio heads
  • Talk to more UE devices
  • Handle carrier aggregation
  • Process more services simultaneously
  • Perform self-optimizing network, SON, services
  • Capture data
  • Handle neighbor list to avoid interference

 

What about the backhaul?

It needs to be upgraded to handle more data since we are now going to increase the broadband throughput. 1Gbps backhaul may not cut it because it may need to be much more. What does this mean?

  • Better routers at the sitesSOW Training Cover
  • More strands of fiber for each site
  • Aggregation of the fiber carriers so that it looks like a massive pipe of over 10Gbps
  • Improved network slicing functions for the router to perform more functions than before

What about the fronthaul?

The fronthaul is the fiber, (or wireless), the line between the BBU and the radio heads which now should be in the active antenna.

This may require more strands per sector so that the data can be sent to each sector. Look at it this way, instead of dealing with one antenna with 4 to 8 elements; now you are dealing with one active antenna that could be simultaneously sending data to more than 64 elements in one concentrated antenna system. That is a lot of data! In theory, it could be more than 1Gbps per sector! WOW!

Fronthaul will need to be:

  • Improved for more bandwidth and data
  • Lower latency than before
  • Perhaps more strands of fiber

Can CRAN or C-RAN be a massive MIMO system?

The jury is out because of the massive bandwidth and low latency. This is going to be worked out, but it is essential that we know that a Centralized RAN and a Cloud RAN are essential parts of the 5G system. As you all know, massive MIMO is a huge stepping stone for 5G.

What about CRAN and C-RAN?

This is going to be a challenge to get to no BBU at the site, but it can be done. The need for MEC, Mobile Edge Computing is still there because we want low latency. That is right; the routing needs to be as short as possible. Also, the RF equipment is doing an excellent job of lowering latency. The 5G standards are asking for lower and lower latency, looking for 1ms or less, wow! That is going to be a real challenge if you rely on the cloud to do the BBU processing or if you have the BBU hotel somewhere else. Why? Even though it is light running through the fiber, it takes time to travel across town, the state, or anywhere. Hence, that is how MEC may be able to save the day! Direct routing would be a key factor instead of running everything back to the core.

How does it affect the UE device?

The UE probably won’t have more than four antennas in it, if that. They may have 2 to 4 receive antennas, and two transmit. The thing is though, with massive MIMO and the way it should work, an element or 2 can focus on one US device freeing up the other to talk individually to other devices. This will improve throughput and lowers latency.

The bottom line is that it will help the UE in 2 ways. The UE will get more bandwidth, especially as they add more antennas internally, they already have two receive in most devices which allow for better downloads. The massive MIMO will be able to talk directly to an individual device and lower latency. This will help the response time of the device, making the device seem more responsive and once again, quicker! Now it is up to the device makers to speed up the internal processing speed and improve the memory in each device so that we can enjoy the new low latency services.

What changes at the site?

This is going to require new equipment at the site, no matter how you look at it. The equipment that is there now will need to be upgraded or replaced. Most likely, some of it will need to be replaced. It would make sense to have 64 or more radio heads so that you would replace the existing antennas and radio heads with an active antenna. You would remove all coax and run fiber to the antenna. You would need a BBU that can kick ass with processing power and bandwidth. You need to improve your backhaul, which means a better router CRAN quality equipment at the site. You need to improve your fronthaul between the BBU and the active antenna.

What does it mean for business?

Here’s the deal, the equipment we have today will not cut it. Replacing the existing BBU and radio heads and antennas with the new system. It must happen. So, this means a lot more work for the deployment crews. As always, it will all happen at once, causing a strain on the tower workforce.

  • Tower crews – busy replacing equipment on tower and the ground
  • Engineering teams – new RF engineering and optimization along with drive tests to complete the rollout of the new system. Let’s not forget the potential for self-interference that’s going to happen. There is a learning curve.
  • Backhaul:
    • The fiber needs to be upgraded, new fiber or additional fiber.
    • Wireless backhaul will need to be replaced, added, or upgraded.
    • The router needs to be upgraded or replaced.
    • Backhaul will need to be upgraded, so the service provider had a real opportunity to make some additional money on installation and possibly monthly reoccurring for fiber delivery services.
  • The OEMs will have a significant push for getting the new gear out to carriers, mostly in urban areas, so it will not be the entire system that gets upgraded, but the specific markets where loading is needed or where 5G is a priority.
  • The carriers need to invest in this, apparently, the stepping stone to real 5G bandwidth and performance. Enough said.
  • The tower companies may not get any more money. The way most leases are written leaves room for these upgrades. Of 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelscourse, the tower companies will find ways to make incremental dollars like site access, new structural for less weight, and so on. What they will not get is the additional rent money that is their bread and butter. However, we will Those larger tower owners are savvy.
  • What about small cells? I bring this up because, in theory, the way that the massive MIMO improves densification it may reduce the need for a small cell that usually would fall within the coverage area of the tower for loading purposes. This hurts me to say, but small cells will be a fill site outdoors. Indoors we will still need small cells for coverage and offloading. The outside in coverage does not cover as well with new environmentally friendly windows. We need the indoor small cells more than ever.
  • Looking at the additional parts associated with the deployments we need to see that coax is going to be reduced dramatically. What’s the need when you run fiber everywhere. Let’s look at the list and make this easy.
    • Coax, hardline, jumpers, and associated connectors and ground kits will no longer be needed for this type of deployment. Get ready to see a lot more of the old stuff on the scrap metal places.
    • Fiber will increase. I am curious if the carriers will continue buying the hybrid cables for fronthaul or if they will just buy armored fiber lines to run to the radio heads up the tower or in the rooftops. They still need power to the antenna, which they initially needed for the radio heads. Remember that the connectors may change, so we will have to think about the distribution of jumper.
    • Tower mounts may change. All the weight from the radio heads will be shifted to the actual antenna mount. Whether it is a simple mast of the whole mount. The radio head weight will be gone from behind the antenna, and now it is going to be in the antenna. Weight distribution has changed from being evenly distributed to being concentrated on the antenna. Site engineering should be fun.
    • Possibly power upgrades will be needed which means potentially new rectifiers and battery upgrades and then utility upgrades. Remember that we were trying to get more power efficiency at the sites, this may be a set back for that effort. If you need a new rectifier, then maybe new or additional batteries and associated cables and hardware. Then the power from the utility to power said rectifiers.

OK, that should be good for now. I am putting together a full report, if you’re interested, reach out to Wade4wireless@gmail.com for more information.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!  Get all your updates via email!

 

COP Banners for Wade4wireless

Tower Safety for all your safety training!

 

 

 

Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

 

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign-up to get all your updates!

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

 

 

 

 

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

Smart City Use Cases Report

To make all our lives easier, we needed to create a report, in the form of a book, which put together many “smart city” use cases, case studies, and development notes all in one handy book. Introducing the “Smart City Use Cases” book which is a comprehensive collection on smart city initiatives that range from transportation to broadband rollouts. It includes the wireless and Wi-Fi builds. It won’t just point out the success, but the failures. This is how we can all learn, from what’s been done and tried. Not every initiative is a success, so let’s learn from both the failures and the successes.

The Smart City Use Cases book is a collection of smart city case studies and development notes. The purpose of this book is to give you some advice and direction on smart city development. It’s for any city worker or consultant or integrator that intends to roll out in their city. The customer is not always right in this case. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just because it’s been done doesn’t mean it’s right for your city. Think through what they end goal is then work backward from there.

Why not look at what other cities have done, how they got to where they are, why they did it, and the results? The process is as important as the end goal. The city will need buy-in from the residents and support from various departments. It helps when the integrator has a solid plan. Even with the solid plan, things change, and you need to be flexible. It pays to build one system that can serve multiple functions and support many users. It must have value, not just to the city but to the residents. It helps when it can make money or have a payback. This is another tool to help you down the path.

Get it today!

Learn from what others have done.

Why make the hard mistakes of other smart cities?

Are you looking for a partner or a cost-effective way to roll out your city?

Do you want to know how they got buy-in from their community?

Get some help right here!

If nothing else, this will save time doing all the research while preparing to go on the smart city adventure.

Learn this:

  • What is a Smart City?
  • How do you roll out broadband?
  • What have other cities done to develop broadband initiatives?
  • How can I learn from their mistakes and successes?

Here is a sample of the table of contents:

  • What’s been done?
  • What is a “Smart City”?
  • Typical Approaches to Smart City Initiatives
    • Solve Problems
    • Grant Money
    • Future Proofing
  • Smart City Initiatives
    • The US Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge
    • NYC Planning Document called One New York
  • The Smart City Playbook by Nokia and Machina Research
  • Smart City Focus
  • Smart Cities Council
  • Smart City Research Case Study Overview
    • What to look for
    • Smart Cities Council and Cisco
    • Smart City Case Studies
    • Chula Vista, Ca
    • Kansas City
    • Dallas
    • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Smart City Project Notes
    • India Smart Cities
    • Singapore
    • Santander, Spain
    • Yinchuan, China
  • IDC Government Insights
  • Multiple Case Studies
    • Case Study Chicago:
    • Case Study Philadelphia, Pa
    • Charlotte, NC
    • San Francisco, Ca
    • Columbus, Oh, Smart City report
    • Smart City Cleveland
    • Smart City Atlanta
  • Safe City Highlights
    • Indonesia
    • Singapore
  • Safe City Summary
  • Things to Consider
  • What is MetroLab?
  • It is not a Kiosk. It is a Smart Hub
  • Smart Lighting
  • Next Century Cities Membership
  • Smart City Planning Audits
  • Mounting assets (lampposts, wood poles, telephone poles):
    • Underground assets
    • Fiber assets
    • Building tops and Towers
    • Billboards
    • Parking Garages
    • Street Furniture
    • Wireless Backhaul
    • Data Collection
  • Smart City Broadband Initiatives
    • Primary
    • Partial
    • Facilitator
  • Who buys broadband?
  • Pricing matters!
  • What about Wi-Fi?
  • Not all Deployments are a Success!
  • When Incumbents fight Back!
  • Some States Prohibit Public Networks!
  • City Strategies for a Broadband Initiative
  • Smart City “Other” Services
  • What is IOT for the Smart City?
  • Resources
  • Glossary

Get it today!

Get the right start on your smart city journey. The cities, contractors, and consultants need to work together to make ventures successful.

The rest is up to you, it’s hard work, don’t get me wrong, but this should help you see it can be done. There are failures, I point that out, but you need to take what you can and learn from it. Why make the same mistakes other’s have made when you can look at this and maybe even ask others what they did right and wrong.

It’s all up to you!

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!  Get all your updates via email!

 

COP Banners for Wade4wireless

Tower Safety for all your safety training!

 

 

 

Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

 

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign-up to get all your updates!

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

 

 

 

 

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

Smart City Broadband Initiatives Part 3

COP Banners for Wade4wireless

This is part three of a three-part series. This has been taken from my upcoming book, Smart City Use Cases, with Smart City Development Notes.

City Strategies for a Broadband Initiative

There are several strategies for any city to start the initiative.

  • Do you want to undertake this effort? Is this something that you need for the city? Can you build a story around it?
    1. Then do the research, get the buy-in, and lay out the options.Tower Safety for all your safety training!
  • Weigh out your options to get started? This is the first step.
    1. Will you do it yourself or gather partners?
    2. If you partner, which you probably will, who do you reach out to? Think about whom it will benefit. It could help the universities and the local businesses. Start with them first because they have the most to gain. Broadband attracts business and talent, both of which help the local universities and cities.
    3. Look at what’s been done. Are there groups, like Next Century Cities and Smart Cities Council, that you can reach out to for help? Are there other cities that would offer advice? Of course! Do some research and look them up.
  • Once you have a partner and maybe a high-level plan, then what?
    1. Will you own the network?
    2. Will you want local businesses to build out the network?
    3. Will you offer incentives, like easing the permitting process, offering city assets, or other things to promote local business to deploy?

Let’s Review

Let’s review some lessons that Gig.U taught us. I am summarizing from their Next Gen Handbook found at http://www.gig-u.org/cms/assets/uploads/2016/12/next-gen-handbook-v2.pdf to Tower Safety for all your safety training!help make this easier. (In my words.) I changed the order by what I thought would be more important. I explain what I think is important that somewhat aligns with Gig.U. I speak from case studies and my personal experience.

  • Community buy-in! This is essential to have the community buy-in and have stakeholders in the community that want this to happen. Local resources help things move and continue moving. The problem with partners and consultants is that if they don’t have the support of the community, the project will die a slow miserable and painful death. Don’t let this happen to your project! Find people and groups in the community that want this to happen as much as you do! Residents and especially local activist groups will make or break you. Get their buy-in and have them be supportive from day 1 to day 400. (Builds take a long time, well more than a few years, you will need all the help you can get to stay motivated.)
  • Local Leadership is critical! If you don’t have the local politicians on board, then it is an uphill battle. Even if you do have the local political leaders, who’s to say they will continue to support you without the local community and activist groups. Politicians are 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsfickle. They will support you for 2 reasons. One – because they truly believe in the cause that high broadband will make residents and business happy and build a new business in their community. While this is great, very few have the vision to see it through, Philadelphia is a great example. When Earthlink was building out Philadelphia, the local politicians were as fickle as the win, and they certainly didn’t commit any money to the project. When the local unions complained, the politicians turned on Earthlink as quickly as the Philadelphia wind changed. (About 10 minutes for those of you wondering.) It takes great leadership to make this go through, like Mayor Bloomberg in NYC, he has the grit to see the greater good, unlike the group of politicians in Philadelphia who chose to shut the system down after it was built and operation due to lack of interest and money. In my opinion, they had no grit and preferred to be remembered as a failed system, which they blamed Earthlink, that innovators. They are leaving the innovation up to the residents, who innovate despite the local government.
  • It’s not enough to build a plan, but you need the story, budget and goals to be laid out clearly. The truth is the budget is a guess, an educated guess, but these things always take longer and seem to cost more than originally anticipated. BUT, you need to start somewhere. Build a vision of what you and your partners expect to happen. Be honest and show people what it takes. See if they have the stomach to work through it or if they will cower away and home the local cable company gets off its ass and build something without screwing the residents. It’s your call, but it takes grit, something that most city leadership does not have. They blame everything. They say we don’t have the money or what if it fails or what if the residents don’t want high-speed internet access. Listen, get partners to pay, it won’t fail, and who doesn’t want high-speed internet access? The government doesn’t pay for their access because the local taxes cover it, so they don’t care, do they? When they get home, they probably use a smartphone they got from work, again, paid for the local taxpayer. Most school kids don’t have that luxury, yet they don’t’ care, they have what they need, screw the other residents in that city. (My opinion here)
  • It’s hard to plan and execute! Yes, it is, again, grit and a get’re done attitude is needed.
  • In most cases, incumbents will react, not initiate! That is The local cable companies normally won’t do jack until they see a clear and present competitor. Examples are Nashville, TN, where AT&T and Comcast fought to keep Google Fiber off the poles. Then in College Station, TX, where Suddenlink put $250 Million aside to upgrade the network only after they saw a clear competitor in the local government who issued an RFP to build the local network. To be clear, Suddenlink didn’t announce anything until after the RFP hit the streets. The community wanted broadband in the worst way, Suddenlink didn’t do jack until the RFP was real, then it looks like they panicked and moved ahead. Sometimes a kick in the ass is needed to get these guys to listen to the community. Competition is just the kick in the ass Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!they needed.
  • Did you do an audit? Most cities wait until after they initiate several consultants to do an audit. They should be proactive and see what they really have available ahead of time. Prior to the actual engagement of partners and consultants. However, they don’t. It adds time to the entire process. Just do it, audit what you have and align with the local utilities to see how they will cooperate with you on this venture. Let them be the heroes if that’s what it takes. Think of the residents, not yourself! What we need now is a team and to align with the local utilities is a great place to start and ask for buy-in. We need the residents, local businesses, and the local utilities to get this moving. Work to get their buy-in and resources to move ahead. If you need help, let me know. What you need to know is: 1) what assets do we have? 2) what assets do we have access to? 3) who can we partner with to make this happen? 4) what assets don’t we have, and can’t we touch? Don’t worry, the local ISPs and Cable Companies will clue you in, either in a good way or a horribly competitive way.
  • There are multiple solutions, pick one! I think you see here each city, municipality, town, or community has its own specific solution. If you’re looking for a “One size fits all” solution, good luck. It’s OK to see what others have done and copied it, but you will soon see that they all did something a little bit Pick you best plan to move forward then execute.
  • Be persistent and be nimble! It takes persistence to keep moving, but don’t be afraid to pivot and make changes. You will need to rely on the flexibility of your partners to keep things moving ahead. The only thing you should be rigid on is the result, not the way you deploy. You may need wireless to get some fiber blocks, so do it. You may need to gain access to some buildings to bypass some poles that the incumbents would not let you on, do it. Don’t hesitate to the point where it stops the project. Be nimble and open-minded. It takes some creativity to keep moving ahead. Be open in receiving suggestions.
  • It needs to be scalable and sustainable! Don’t forget that you will want to expand, so keep the option open to grow. It needs to be sustainable, do keep an eye on the payback. You want your income to cover the costs. If they don’t then next group of politicians will shut it down or make the deployment harder for contractors even if the locals get pissed. They won’t care if the system is bleeding money.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure. Sometimes you need to keep the dream

    alive even if this didn’t work. Maybe a partner or local business could step in to make this dream a reality, maybe they know something you didn’t, so be open to accepting help.

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!  Get all your updates via email!

Resources

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Sign-up to get all your updates!

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

 

 

 

 

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

Smart City Broadband Initiatives Part 1

COP Banners for Wade4wireless

This is part one of a three-part series. This has been taken from my upcoming book, Smart City Use Cases, with Smart City Development Notes.

Smart City Broadband Initiatives

Are you curious about some broadband initiatives that are out there? Some broadband case studies that are have rolled out? What Tower Safety for all your safety training!broadband initiatives have been successes and failures? What works better, the city owning it or a public-private partnership or private only?

I am always saying that broadband is the foundation of any smart city. Someone shared the Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook. It’s publication by Gig.U, and it can be downloaded from http://www.gig-u.org/. Gig.U is a group that encourages the partnerships between cities and universities. They did a great job of putting together this document, published in December of 2016, showing past case studies of gigabit deployments in both wireless and wired. They cover success and failures.

Here is an outline of some of what is in this document, I highly recommend downloading it, after all, it is free!

First off, the make the point that CapEx and OpEx must be lower than the revenues coming in and it should be serving a purpose for the users. Pay attention, Value and Profit make the system sustainable! Value and profit make the system growable! It has to make money! That is something that most cities overlook because they think that the benefit will outweigh the revenue, but it will not. Revenue matters in the long run and the benefits matter up front. Up front we want buy-in and residents to love it. In the long run, we

need sustainability, so it does not bleed money in expenses.

Does it solve a problem for the

residents? So, they see the value in it? Will they pay for it? When you start a business, you need to answer these questions. Figure out the price point. Some cities can put a tax out there to pay for the system, but that is not popular in most cities.

One example that I love in this document is the cable companies. They saw broadband up to 1 Gbps as silly, but they really didn’t want to upgrade their system unless they had too. Guess what? They had to! BUT, after they got competition in first form the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and Google running fiber all over the place for a very reasonable cost to the consumer. It paid off. Now all the cable companies are touting higher speeds. They see value because they were losing market share. That’s amazing when you realize they had a monopoly for years in their neighborhoods. They had no competition, but the need for broadband and cheaper video hurt them. They thought they could control the market, but in the USE the market started swinging back with DirecTV and fiber competitors. They suddenly have to be strategic.

OK, let’s get back to the business of broadband. Once you build it, expect competition! If your business model works then more and more people will do it, just look the cable companies. While they had a monopoly for years, they got lazy. Now they have competition, and it’s hurting them. Not just from fiber, most of the younger generation realized that they have a smartphone that can do anything the cable company can do, so why pay for both? Get the picture? The landscape has changed, and if you just look at other companies that do what you do, then you only see part of the competitive landscape.

This is happening with everything because broadband is the pipe to end all pipes. It could be through fiber or wireless, but the internet has opened doors to everything unless you live in China, then it only has a few open doors and a lot of blocked websites.

There is one thing that almost any city can agree on. You need broadband in your city to compete. The question is, “How do we get 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsit here?” This is where you can look at other examples of successes and failures.

Google Fiber was supposed to be the knight in shining armor, but they stopped. They say they are going to wait for wireless, probably CBRS, but to be honest, there are plenty of bands and products that could deliver broadband now. I think that Google realized the profit model was not what they had hoped for, but they never said that officially, they just stopped, laid off a bunch of people, changed some leadership in the company, and they started saying wireless would save the day.

More on Google fiber stopping http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article110655177.html, this is a great article because they talk about all the pain points that Google saw in the real world. TV is expensive, incumbents have more control of the poles than they ever thought possible, and maybe wireless will be easier. They also say demand is not there. I don’t get that excuse at all! It seems lame. I think they should say competition is fiercer than they thought. That is more like it. For me to sum it up, Google should have cherry-picked markets that didn’t have too much competition. They should have focused on tier 2 cities that would not only have appreciated their presence but don’t have an alternative. I live in Pennsylvania, where the cable companies rule. The rules here don’t make it an ideal state to deploy much of anything, but it has plenty of underserved cities that not only want broadband, but they need it to survive. The smaller cable companies will not make the investment until they have too. They won’t spend the money. This is an ideal target for someone like Google Fiber to deploy. But, alas, I am dreaming.

Where was I? Oh yes, economic development. Broadband is a foundation for economic development. We know that businesses need broadband to survive, but how do they get it? Many cities have a dig once policy, so if someone lays broadband, then many people need to get it in while he or she can. This really helps to get things moving and keep the competition behind you if they are late to the game. Fiber companies and deployment companies win! They can lay out the dark fiber and sell it later, not a bad model.

They also cover the 3 models that cities can look at.

Primary

This is where the city takes the lead by using public facilities to roll out the fiber and makes the investment to deploy. They use their assets to mount it. They are the provider. They may partner with someone, but generally, the city runs the business and takes the credit.

An example of this is the Chattanooga, TN, network. In 2010 the city decided to have a gigabit network available for homes. They rolled it out, and since then Volkswagen and Amazon both expanded to that area. We give the broadband credit since it was there and they took a chance to deploy. Their model served other cities like Wilson, NC, and Leverett, Ma.Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

They also talk about Ammon, Id, who also built the gigabit backbone. They decided to provide the gigabit backbone because the local telco would not spend any money. The city was worried because they would need 50% of the market share to make it pay for itself. Guess what? They got 70% of the market share! When incumbents get lazy, there is a great opportunity!

Huntsville, Al, owns the electric utility. This provided them with the means and foundation to deploy broadband quickly and with an experienced player. They put in the backbone and leased it to Google Fiber. This is a win-win because Google didn’t’ have to deploy the backbone, the fiber is there and ready to use. They could move ahead quickly. The city maintained control and could make money off it right away with a large customer waiting. The negative is that people perceive the fiber being built with city funds, but it worked! They had a utility, an income plan, a customer, so why not do it? They can lease the fiber to anyone, so they are not bound to only one customer, but anyone who wants it or needs it. Awesome! Learn more at https://www.gru.com/GRUComFiberOptics.aspx.

Santa Monica, Ca built out their network without a municipal department. They did it by connecting public facilities then expanding from there. They have a dig once policy, and when someone would dig, they would lay fiber. Learn more at http://ilsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/santa-monica-city-net-fiber-2014-2.pdf. They took the slow approach, one that would not have any upfront costs but would remain steady and efficient.

Partial

Usually a public-private partnership, PPP, that the city supports and endorses, but the private partner will be the one doing the heavy lifting and running the business. This would rely heavily on the partner, and the city would give complete support and take some of the credit, but the private business would take the profits. Partnerships matter here more than anywhere. If the partner is an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or a nonprofit, they need to be sure they can do what they say they can do. It matters big time and reputations are key.

ISPs are everywhere, not all of them look good, but many of them provide broadband to the home or local business. They often are rooted in the community if they are local and they want to succeed. However, not all of them do, I’ll point that out farther down.

If you wonder about the nonprofit, I will give you an example of one that I worked on personally. In York, Pa, there is an organization called Crispus Attucks Association that sponsored an initiative to connect the local schools up to wireless broadband. While it went well, they are a shining example of a roll out to the schools in York County. This was one of the first of its kind. While it was later replaced with fiber, it’s an example of how a nonprofit took the lead to deploy broadband. This was over 10 years ago. Gigabit was not thought to be cost-effective back then.

Westminster, Md, is an example of how the community knew they need to do something to attract people from the cities of DC and Baltimore out to their rural area. Beautiful and scenic, but far from major highways. They knew they needed broadband, and decided on fiber.They hooked up with Ting, https://ting.com/blog/next-ting-town-westminster-md/, who was a smaller ISP eager to roll out fiber. The city looked at the fiber as infrastructure, like a building or bridge, seeing it as a city asset and letting Ting manage the operations and customer service and sales. The city has an asset, but little risk and they are not running the day-to-day business, Ting is.

South Portland, Me, laid out $150,000 upfront (http://www.southportland.org/files/7514/0682/8622/06_-_ORDER_12_-_Bid_for_dark_fiber_infrastructure.pdf) to build fiber and chose GWI, https://www.gwi.net/about/ to build it. GWI will build it and run it and give 5% of the revenue back to the city.

Cleveland, Oh, decided to work with a nonprofit called OneCommunity, http://www.onecommunity.org/big-changes-onecommunity-evolves/ who is rolled out the network and is continuing to expand into other communities to increase the reach of broadband across Ohio. They are receiving support from the US Economic Development (EDA) Grant, https://www.eda.gov/grants/, continuing the work.

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!  Get all your updates via email!

Facilitator

Where the city supports the rollout, maybe offers some rules and regulations that make it easier to get started and deploy, but otherwise, it hands off. Cities can still play a part in broadband development if they have companies in their area willing to take charge and make things happen.

East Lansing, Mi, has created the “Gigabit Ready” project which pulled in many groups like Michigan State University, Lansing Economic Act Partnership, various nonprofits, commercial property managers, and anyone else who would sign up. The goal was to roll out gigabit broadband, rather obvious, right? What did they do? They looked at the LEED program and thought, let’s do that for gigabit access. This lead to the creation of the Gigabit Certified Building Program, http://statenews.com/index.php/article/2012/07/msu_lansing_on_track_for_high_speed_internet, to set guidelines and requirements for buildings to add gigabit broadband. This helped Spartan-Net, (taken from the Michigan State Spartans I assume), to partner with DTN Management Co so they could roll out broadband across East Lansing and beyond!

Louisville, KY, worked with Louisville Fiber to create a website that allowed people to request gigabit service across Louisville. Why? So that lawmakers could see the need for speed, and it worked! Using the addresses they gathered, they built a layout of where the heaviest concentration was showing local officials the need. Louisville gave 20-year franchise agreements to BGN Networks, SiFi, and FiberTech. It also helped Louisville to be chosen as a potential Google Fiber City, (which means very little now).

College Station, TX, took a different approach. They put out an RFP to test the market. I personally hate this because when you’re on the other side, you do a lot of work that goes nowhere, but it served the city well because they got what they wanted. Suddenlink responded by promising to put in $250,000,000 into upgrading their network to make it gigabit capable, http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/GigaSpeed-Internet-Soon-to-be-Offered-in-BCS-276059641.html. Suddenlink got scared of having the government compete, so they got off their lazy ass and did something. College Station could motivate these guys into action! It all worked out for the residents.

In North Carolina, the NCNGN, North Carolina Next Generation Network, formed a group of universities and cities. Wake Forest, University of North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State got together to work with Carrboro, Cary, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh to make this happen. This is a large group and has deep resources in knowledge, data, and money. Who saw this as an opportunity? AT&T moved in and started deploying fiber. Then, not to be left behind, Frontier Communications started their deployment. Finally, RST Fiber got rolling as well. Then Google started to deploy. Now you have all the competition to make it happen and affordable.

Connecticut did something similar where 46 communities all got together to host a gigabit conference to share their vision to become the first Gigabit state, https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/01/16/connecticut-could-be-first-gigabit-state2/.

To be continued! 

 

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Sign-up to get all your updates!

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

 

 

 

 

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

Smart City Broadband Initiatives Part 2

COP Banners for Wade4wireless

 

 

This is part two of a three-part series. This has been taken from my upcoming book, Smart City Use Cases, with Smart City Development Notes.

Facilitator

Where the city supports the rollout, maybe offers some rules and regulations that make it easier to get started and deploy, but otherwise, it hands off. Cities can still play a part in broadband Tower Safety for all your safety training!development if they have companies in their area willing to take charge and make things happen.

East Lansing, Mi, has created the “Gigabit Ready” project which pulled in many groups like Michigan State University, Lansing Economic Act Partnership, various nonprofits, commercial property managers, and anyone else who would sign up. The goal was to roll out gigabit broadband, rather obvious, right? What did they do? They looked at the LEED program and thought, let’s do that for gigabit access. This lead to the creation of the Gigabit Certified Building Program, http://statenews.com/index.php/article/2012/07/msu_lansing_on_track_for_high_speed_internet, to set guidelines and requirements for buildings to add gigabit broadband. This helped Spartan-Net, (taken from the Michigan State Spartans I assume), to partner with DTN Management Co so they could roll out broadband across East Lansing and beyond!Tower Safety for all your safety training!

Louisville, KY, worked with Louisville Fiber to create a website that allowed people to request gigabit service across Louisville. Why? So that lawmakers could see the need for speed, and it worked! Using the addresses they gathered, they built a layout of where the heaviest concentration was showing local officials the need. Louisville gave 20-year franchise agreements to BGN Networks, SiFi, and FiberTech. It also helped Louisville to be chosen as a potential Google Fiber City, (which means very little now).

College Station, TX, took a different approach. They put out an RFP to test the market. I personally hate this because when you’re on the other side, you do a lot of work that goes nowhere, but it served the city well because they got what they wanted. Suddenlink responded by promising to put in $250,000,000 into upgrading their network to make it gigabit capable, http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/GigaSpeed-Internet-Soon-to-be-Offered-in-BCS-276059641.html. Suddenlink got scared of having the government compete, so they got off their lazy ass and did something. College Station could motivate these guys into

action! It all worked out for the residents.

In North Carolina, the NCNGN, North Carolina Next Generation Network, formed a group of universities and cities. Wake Forest, University of North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State got together to work with Carrboro, Cary, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh to make this happen. This is a large group and has deep resources in knowledge, data, and money. Who saw this as an opportunity? AT&T moved in and started deploying fiber. Then, not to be left behind, Frontier Communications started their deployment. Finally, RST Fiber got rolling as well. Then Google started to deploy. Now you have all the competition to make it happen and affordable.

Connecticut did something similar where 46 communities all got together to host a gigabit conference to share their vision to become the first Gigabit state, https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/01/16/connecticut-could-be-first-gigabit-state2/.

Who buys broadband, really?

If we look at how broadband, gigabit especially is distributed, then what would we see? It takes a community. If one person wants it, too bad. If a community wants it and they want it bad, then it’s going to happen, eventually. That is something that the cable companies missed. They were so hell-bent on selling what they had that they could have missed this opportunity. They eventually were forced to upgrade and listen. Not they see the benefits of rolling out an all internet access system. They are going to save money on tariffs to run throughout the city. They are going to start scaling back their reliance on networks. They are going to let other providers deal with paying for network access and TV show. They are not stupid.  They turned sour grapes into fine wine. Give them credit. They started looking at the big picture. At least Comcast did, and the others followed suit.

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!  Get all your updates via email!

Pricing matters!

Yes, it does! Gigabit broadband went from $7,000 a month to $70 a month in a matter of a few years. Good for consumers, tough on the 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsprovider. When we get gigabit out to the masses, it will eventually become a commodity, but you still need to get it to the people. It could be fiber or wireless. People are willing to pay, but the providers will need to offer more than just access. Years ago, it was video like TV shows and on-demand movies. Now it’s internet access, wired and wireless, and let the people choose what they want from there.

The thing was, we had to start, businesses needed broadband, and they got it. Then everyone else wanted it, and it is soon going to be everywhere. We need to be connected. The next question is how? Wired or wireless? While the smartphones are a part of our everyday lives, do they really need gigabit? Does our laptop or tablet need more than Wi-Fi? Ask yourself; my opinion changes too often.

What about Wi-Fi?

Well, we all love Wi-Fi. It is a value-add, right? Does it add value?

Well, Philadelphia and Seattle had failed Wi-Fi rollouts, highly publicized and ugly. Should we let this discourage is or should we learn from these disasters? I say we learn!

While I am a fan of what’s coming out soon, like the CBRS and expanded Wi-Fi, several cities have successful programs. Philly just didn’t have the commitment to do something like this. Luckily, they had Comcast who picked up the slack. Comcast did a great job in Philly, especially since the city had no intention of putting any money into it.

San Francisco and San Jose, Ca did a great job with their Hotspot 2.0, https://www.pcworld.com/article/2449160/free-wifi-networks-in-sf-san-jose-join-hands-through-hotspot-20.html, and Passpoint, https://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-certified-passpoint, programs, really the same program. This was a big win for Ruckus, but the cities new the residents needed connectivity, so they acted and provided what people can use in both cities by registering once.

Boston rolled out the “Wicked Free Wi-Fi” covering specific neighborhoods in an effort to increase downtown broadband usage. The city already has a fiber backbone, so why not extend it to the citizens via Wi-Fi?

Blacksburg Va has an amazing Wi-Fi system that was rolled out with Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!crowdfunding by Techpad. Techpad is a local coworking and hacking community that raised $90,000 to make this happen.

Let’s not forget NYC, the city that rolled out Wi-Fi where the old telephone booths used to be. They put access points in every kiosk they put out. They give it away for free for tourists and residents to use to save on data usage on their smartphones. The LinkNYC project is the same as London’s LinkUK project. They both roll out the kiosks, which are really cool, have internet access and emergency call buttons, as well as Wi-Fi hotspots. Both cities rolled out hundreds of these units throughout the cities to create an amazing Wi-Fi system and an attractive kiosk that elevate it into the elite, smart city status. They look great! They make money through advertising and services. They are a win-win for any city.

Then there are all the cities, communities, and states that do nothing. Too many to mention. You know who you are. Yet, people continue to live in cities that have no initiative to improve. Why is that? I intend to move because, in my city, they do little, poor planning for the most part. In these areas is an opportunity for private companies to step up and try to get something rolling. Each city has different rules, so it may be too much effort and money to deploy in these cities. If that is the case, then you need to find a city that will work with you on economic development and build there. Don’t’ waste your time on areas that can’t or won’t work with you.

Not all Deployments are a Success!

In Seattle, it would have been city owned. The idea was to get gigabit rolled out across the city to improve internet connectivity anywhere. I don’t know what the agreement was between the city and Gigabit Squared, but it seems it fell apart. Maybe the company was too small or didn’t understand what the deployment would need or lacked commitment. It’s not clear to me what happened, but you can read more about it at https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2014/01/seattles-fiber-deal-with-gigabit.html?page=all. The article hints that it could be more about the private company getting financing. It also hints that neither party worked on the local buy-in.

In Utah, there was a rollout y Utopia that was failing. So, Macquarie Financial took them over. This is a financial company, not an ISP or fiber company. Macquarie offered to cover the costs of the build out. However, the plan included a utility fee of $18 to $20 per household to continue. While this doesn’t sound like a lot, it is more money out-of-pocket to continue. They had opposition called, wait for it……… Unopia! How funny is that name? UNOPIA! I must admit, I like that name, but all the same, is there an alternative?  Unopia wanted to stop unnecessary fees. I get that. Why should they pay for a rollout when they don’t want the service? The lesson here is that the community didn’t want broadband bad enough, so it stalled. Learn more by looking at http://www.centervilleut.net/downloads/administration/ulct_-_utopia-macppp_faqs.april2014.pdf for this older deal.

When Incumbents fight Back!

Yes, the incumbents fight back. Not always in a way that makes sense. It would make more sense if they would just build out a network, but many go to court first. Many whine or say no one wants it. Most just criticize.

Look at Monticello, MN, and the city-owned Fibernet. The city did it to spark competition. This really ticked off the local Telco, TDS, which first took Fibernet to court, and lost! Then they decided to build their own network, which if they would have done that in the first place none of this would have happened. TDS had to get off its butt and move! Then Charter, another incumbent, slashed their prices to $60 a month for access. The moral of this example is that the city’s plan worked perfectly, they increased competition and forced the incumbents to do something, which is what they would not do before. Before Fibernet, they did nothing. Lesson learned!

Then there was Lafayette, LA, who built the network through LUS Fiber, (Lafayette Utility Service), only to be criticized by Reason.org in a statement, http://reason.org/files/municipal_broadband_lafayette.pdf, showing that they fell short of predictions and have debt. Welcome to the world of business, it takes money and patience. However, did LUS overlook the business principles when planning? Did they get a commitment from the community to purchase it? Apparently not. LUS says they are cash positive, Reason.org says they are not. To be honest, I am not sure what the real deal is here.

Let’s be honest here. Cable companies didn’t’ care about internet access, even when the customers were begging for it. They didn’t care until they had competition. They saw AT&T and Verizon offer broadband and realized that there is a market for it. Now they are becoming ISPs. I mean true ISPs are offering more and more bandwidth. Comcast rolled out Wi-Fi successfully. Now that they know there is a need and people will pay for it, they are rolling it out. That’s because they are no longer a monopoly in many areas.

Google Fiber put some fear into them. So much so that they started becoming a thorn in the side of Google. In Nashville, I talked to a friend who saw the local cable company and AT&T do all that they could to block Google from attaching the fiber to their poles. Do you blame them? NO! It’s the name of the game. While you may think this would not stop Google, it did. They began to see the realities of competition, petty fights, permitting, and pole acquisition. It costs money before you make a dime. A completely different model than what they’re used to. So, what we see now is Google Fiber on hold hoping wireless is cost-effective. They will see that site acquisition is a killer there as well. When the site acquisition costs are more than all other expenses together, you see why small cells did not roll out by the masses.

Some States Prohibit Public Networks!

What about the states, they certainly would not stop the city from building a network, would they? Oh yes, they would! As incredible as this sounds, it is a real thing. Some states, in fact, many states have laws in that stop city ownership or control broadband roll networks. Our friends at BroadbandNow has a website at https://broadbandnow.com/report/municipal-broadband-roadblocks-by-state/ that covers states with laws about broadband.

Colorado is a great example of control. The state that allows marijuana sales would not allow their cities to partner with Google Fiber to roll out broadband. It took an election to overturn the law.

It doesn’t always work out like that. In North Carolina and Tennessee, the FCC tried to have those state broadband regulations overturned, but the FCC lost. The laws remained.

The states with these laws are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The laws are geared towards cities that want to own or partially own broadband networks. I think the idea is that broadband should be competitive.

This parallels what many states are doing with small cell deployments for the carriers. They have been passing state laws that allow the carriers to roll out their small cells without the local municipality slowing them down. The CTIA has done a great job lobbying the states to make life easier for the carriers at the expense of the local cities.

To be continued! 

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Sign-up to get all your updates!

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

 

 

 

 

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.