Editor's Note: Communities Explore Broadband Through Partnerships of Different Stripes

Partnerships in many U.S. communities are making successful broadband rollouts and expansions possible.

As communities look to improve their broadband situations, partnerships have become a necessary tool. Broadband partnerships come in all shapes and sizes: public-private partnerships (P3s), traditional utilities and providers, and network builders and communities.

Each partnership is different, but they all reflect the creativity communities deploy to solve their broadband problems.

Four Unique Partnerships

This issue of Broadband Communities highlights the work of four communities filling broadband gaps:

  • Bristol, New Hampshire: After it couldn’t forge a partnership with local incumbents, Bristol, New Hampshire, developed the Bristol Broadband Now initiative, an effort by the town’s Economic Development Committee to build a fiber network. The town is collaborating with eX² Technology to build an open-access FTTH network. (page 30)
  • Washington Court House, Ohio, and Horizon: As a family-owned rural telco for more than 100 years, Chillicothe, Ohio–based Horizon was rejuvenated when private equity firm Novacap purchased it in 2018. Having built fiber for local businesses and wireless operators, Horizon began building FTTH services to rural Ohio towns and cities, including Washington Court House. (page 42)
  • Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU): Seeing an opportunity to serve residents and improve its internal communications simultaneously, CSU is building a citywide fiber network with Ting Internet as its first anchor tenant. (page 32)
  • Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD): In the Massachussetts town known for the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” SLMD created its LAMB (Local Area Municipal Broadband) network. (page 36)

Broadband is Not a Luxury

The theme of these partnership stories is the same: Affordable broadband is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that fact.

Communities with robust broadband networks are more attractive to residents who can work remotely. Businesses are more likely to put down roots in communities with fiber.

Joe Denen, city manager for Washington Court House, says people expect broadband in rural communities. “Broadband is one thing a lot of folks have become accustomed to,” he says.

By adopting a creative approach, cities and towns can meet this expectation. Grab your broadband partner and get started!

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