& cplSiteName &

Power Companies Promise Gigabit Broadband

Mari Silbey
3/25/2014
50%
50%

Two cooperative power companies, Co-Mo Comm and Habersham EMC, are the latest US electric utilities to announce plans to launch gigabit broadband service.

Co-Mo Comm in Missouri missed its original target of last fall to debut gigabit service, but a representative at an FCC event last week said the company now plans to introduce a gigabit broadband tier in August of this year.

Habersham EMS, meanwhile, is soliciting pre-orders from the communities it serves as a way to determine where to offer gigabit service first. So far, one out of 18 regional zones has met the pre-order goal for deployment, but the campaign is ongoing through the end of 2015. Habersham's approach is similar to the Fiberhood model Google Fiber Inc. initiated in Kansas City. (See Gigabit This, Google Fiber!)

EPB in Chattanooga, Tenn., is probably the most famous and successful case of a utility company entering the high-speed Internet business. The community-owned organization offers a 1Gbit/s service to more than 150,000 homes and businesses, and even powers its own smart grid with the same high-speed fiber network. (See Chattanooga Rocks 1-Gig FTTH Service.)

While it's not overly common for power companies to take on the role of Internet service provider, the concept of community groups building out their own telecommunications lines has precedent going back to the early 1900s. When telephone access first spread, local farmers and businesses would build their own lines connecting out to the local telephone exchange in town.

Meanwhile, recent activity from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) suggests the link between electricity and Internet service could flow in the opposite direction as well. Comcast confirmed in January that it is conducting a retail energy trial in Pennsylvania with NRG Energy. In that effort, Comcast customers are given special energy plan considerations, and power service from NRG is bundled with an Energy Rewards Benefits Program administered by Comcast. Rewards include offers such as three free months of HBO or Showtime access and prepaid gift cards. (See Comcast Eyes Electrical Surge.)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(11)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
derac7020
50%
50%
derac7020,
User Rank: Lightning
3/26/2014 | 10:45:53 AM
Re: Quite widespread in some European countries
They're not uncommon in the US and have been deployed [or in the process] since the 2001-2002.   While it seems like a slam dunk app especially for those areas that weren't served well by the incumbant broadband providers there are so many hoops to jump through at the local and state level [or being banned outright like in NC] that it turns into a long slog.   I was personally connected to UTOPIA in the SLC area for a while but we talked to a lot of other munis and power companies back in the day.  
RKlindt
50%
50%
RKlindt,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/26/2014 | 7:56:24 AM
Co-Mo
A couple of comments from Co-Mo: I stated gigabit will be available in April. We have been doing FTTH for 2 years now. This is a speed increase for us. Not just a press release! Our 100mbps customers will be upgraded automatically to a gig in just a few days. Randy, GM, Co-Mo Comm
trailwave
50%
50%
trailwave,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/26/2014 | 3:25:35 AM
Re: lots of muni. networks
Hi Kbode, 

You seem to have a firm grasp on the challenges facing rural broadband/locally controlled networks. 

In our case, we are very fortunate to already have 1,800 residential customers on our network as well as several hundred businesses and schools. We have the ability to upgrade any one of them that asks to gigabit service the same day.  We have already added several new gig-to-the-home subscribers this very week, some of which were upgrades and some were brand new fiber customers.  

For those not in serviceable areas yet, we are building to demand in a "fiberhood" model using the CrowdFiber.com tool so that our neighborhoods know exactly how many homes are needed in order for last mile build to be scheduled, while having access to a transparent place to check on progress. 

A press release can't replace the nuts and bolts and hands on work of building a subscriber base locally, but it does help us to share what's possible for companies like ours to accomplish. 

If you have any other thoughts or questions, we welcome them!

info@hemc.coop

 
percosan
50%
50%
percosan,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/25/2014 | 6:26:15 PM
A matter of time ...
Power Companies have a ton of cash, strong cash flow and "last mile" access to 100% of the homes they pass. It has only been a matter of time before they consider how to extend their product offering to include broadband.


Next step for them, "franchise" the Google fiber Win-Win for them.

 

Thoughts?

-p
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/25/2014 | 5:38:29 PM
More competition
Great to see more competition in the Internet service provider market, where customers have often had too little choice.
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 3:28:56 PM
Re: lots of muni. networks
I'm wondering if the fact that they are coops, and not just a power company, makes sense in offering gigabit service because they'd be offering it to those who, in effect, are their owners.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 2:16:07 PM
Re: lots of muni. networks
Good points. Promises aren't always so set in stone and whether the promised gigabit rolls out as planned let alone as scheduled remains to be seen. There's still lots of hoops to go through not the least is community franchise agreements that pretty much lock out competitors.
mfidelman
50%
50%
mfidelman,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/25/2014 | 1:24:03 PM
Re: lots of muni. networks
No arguement on that.  I spent about 6 years doing policy work in that arena, and consulting to various municipalities and municipal electrics.  It's been a slow slog.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 1:02:51 PM
Re: lots of muni. networks
It's not THAT uncommon, but it has been an uphill climb for many of them. That's in no small part thanks to being sued to oblivion by incumbent broadband providers, or having to navigate protectionist state-level regulations literally written by the local broadband duopoly. 

These two launches look interesting, but I'm wonder how much "fiber to the press release" (for show) they are. Most companies now are crowing about offering 1 Gbps, even if at the end of the day just a few small handfull of high-end developments are the only ones that get to see it -- in 2017.
mfidelman
50%
50%
mfidelman,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/25/2014 | 11:36:00 AM
lots of muni. networks
"While it's not overly common for power companies to take on the role of Internet service provider" is not really that accurate.  Just off the top of my head - Glasgow KY, Braintree MA, UTOPIA (Salt Lake City Area), there are a whole bunch in the Pacific Northwest.

There's a nice map of munciipal network projects at

http://www.muninetworks.org/communitymap

Most are done by municipal power utilities - which makes great sense, they have poles, people to climb them (who are certified to work near electric wires), have their own operational needs for networking, and already have everybody in town as customers.

 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Atrinet's NetACE – Migration to NFV & SDN With NetOps-Driven LSO

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At Atrinet's headquarters, Ray Le Maistre sits down with Roy Silon to get an in-depth look into the company's focus and the secret recipe for their success.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Amsterdam ArenA, Powered by Huawei

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Huawei's ICT solutions power the state-of-the-art Amsterdam ArenA, turning it into a smart stadium.
    LRTV Interviews
    Testing When There's No 'There' There

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The benefits of SDN/NFV are well known, but the transition comes with some challenges, prominent among them is: how do you test a network that has been abstracted and has the potential to be endlessly reconfigurable? Light Reading was at NFV World Congress in Santa Clara, Calif., where we bumped into Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds, a Swedish ...
    LRTV Interviews
    Ditching the Slash & the Orchestration Wars

    5|3|16   |     |   (2) comments


    SDN and NFV have been inextricably bound with each other for so long that on a conceptual level, smooshing them together into one catch-all phrase – SDNFV – is now justifiable, according to Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Light Reading spoke to Pitt at the NFV World Congress, where he explained that the next ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    ZTE TV Connect Highlights

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    ZTE gives us a tour of its booth and new products at TV Connect in London.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and visit the Deluxe booth at NAB! Here you'll find Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution, OTT video, virtual reality, HDR, 4K and much more!
    LRTV Interviews
    Verizon Puts Gray Boxes in the Shade

    5|2|16   |   04:33   |   (1) comment


    When it comes to the white box trend, "gray" boxes, which have a slight proprietary twist, don't give service providers and end users the advantages they're seeking, according to Verizon's Vice President of Product and New Business Innovation Shawn Hakl.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Dealing With a Disrupted Video Market

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ericsson's Simon Frost discusses how traditional pay-TV providers can cope with the big changes wrought by the rise of OTT video and IP technology.
    LRTV Custom TV
    The VNF Responsibility of Red Hat

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At MWC, Caroline Chappell of Heavy Reading visits the Red Hat booth and sits down with Chris Wright to talk about the responsibility the VNF needs to take on in order to ensure the operators get the carrier-grade performance they expect for their network.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Amazon AWS Reports $2.6B Quarterly Revenue, Up a Colossal 64%
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/28/2016
    Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/3/2016
    Amazon & Other 'Big 4' Cloud Providers Crushing Competitors
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/29/2016
    FCC Poised to Re-Regulate Wholesale Access
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Sloth Mail Click Here
    Sloth mail -- somehow even slower than snail mail.
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.