Light Reading

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   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/21/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
Cats with Phones
Too Fluffy to Talk Click Here
Elmer found that his bountiful fur got in the way of meaningful conversation.