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What Are The 5 A's of Organizing Your Community Broadband Project?
While broadband has tremendous potential to be an enabler for economic growth, it is still a utility – just like water, roads, and electricity. And in most communities in Colorado, utilities are in some way owned and controlled by the community. Community leaders are challenged to ensure their communities are not left behind. Like their visionaries that built the railroads, roads, and interstate system, today's elected officials must take up the challenge of building their community broadband infrastructure. If it were easy, it would have been built a long time ago. The 5 A's methodology provides a guide for community leaders in planning, funding, building and operating their broadband infrastructure.
#1 Aggregate Experience
You will need to establish a Local Broadband Planning Team. Team members are best recruited based on a) prior experience in efforts to improve the communities broadband environment b) elected officials c) technical expertise d) local service providers.
#2 Assess Your Broadband Environment
"Ya gotta count it before you can cure it". Why is your internet slow? Is it the infrastructure? If so, what part needs to be fixed? Is the middle mile "redundant, abundant and affordable"?
#3 Assess and Aggregate Demand
What internet speeds are people currently getting in your community? What do they pay for that? What speeds does your community need in order to retain and attract industry? What will businesses and residences pay for quality broadband? If you build it, will they come?
#4 Adopt Existing Resources and Solutions
What broadband-related resources already reside in your community? In using existing resources, it is possible to save millions of dollars in capital expenditure on broadband infrastructure. The use of disruptive technologies and carrier neutral locations can expedite the deployment of broadband in your community.
#5 Adapt for Sustainability
Once you have built it, how will you keep it running years, decades and generations into the future? What is the history of your electric utility? Water plant? Streets? What is the legal or business entity that will succeed year after year in maintaining broadband infrastructure?