February 08, 2014
Dark Fiber Week in Review
By Rory J. Thompson
Now that word is spreading about the benefits of high-speed connections, towns and cities are clamoring to get on board. We have some of the highlights from the past week.
The initiative Google (News - Alert) introduced to provide Americans with high-speed broadband has had a positive impact in the market. By introducing Google Fiber, the company has, in essence, forced other organizations to make the same technology available around the country. While this move has been positive, rural communities with a limited customer base are being left out because the infrastructure investment required to provide the service is not profitable for private companies. So, residents in Fort Scott, Kansas, held a Broadband Speed Improvement meeting in order to address this issue in the city and surrounding areas. As reported by Jason Silvers in the Fort Scott Tribune, the meeting was held to discuss the challenges the rural community as a whole faces in achieving broadband speeds. Community residents, including economic development and business members, voiced their concerns regarding the negative impact of not having broadband speeds. This includes the lack of economic development in the region due to companies looking for this type of technology turning elsewhere.
According to state officials in Wisconsin, there are inadequate Internet connection speeds at more than 60 percent of its public libraries. Additionally, the libraries in some of these rural communities serve as the only source of Internet access. However, a federal E-rate investment in fiber broadband connectivity of $4.2 million will provide enough funding to deploy broadband connections to approximately 350 libraries. According to the Department of Public Instruction, the fiber installation project will begin in April and end in November of this year. The installation will increase connectivity capacity, and in some cases triple the existing speed.
This week, the Beacon-News, a Chicago publication owned by Sun-Times Media Holdings, LLC, reported on its website that the city of Aurora, Illinois, is in the midst of connecting its first multi-tenant business building to the city’s fiber network via a link provided by the not-for-profit OnLight Aurora. This is the organization which has been tasked with connecting the city’s fiber optic network to community institutions. The plan is to provide a fiber network to existing and future tenants, for the first time; access to this technology is thought to be what is needed to succeed in today’s global business environment while meeting the needs of a growing and diverse population. By capitalizing on Aurora’s Fiber Optic Network across the city, residents will experience better traffic and a boost in efficiencies in operations, said Peter Lynch, Director and President of Onlight Aurora.
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