Covington Town Center, a $350 million development in Covington, east of Atlanta (GA), is the latest example of The Foxfield Company's (areal estate development firm) focus when it considers building a new master-planned community. Harry Kitchen, Jr., president of The Foxfield Company, has a philosophy to attract partners that offer premier amenities for residents and businesses. “We [try] to put in the horizontal infrastructure that provides the best-in-class broadband, fiber, and other technology as well as landscaping, walking trails, and connectivity.” After careful consideration, Foxfie
Sterling Ranch, a master-planned community in Douglas County (CO), has made fiber-based broadband the centerpiece amenity of its community. It is achieving its broadband goals through a partnership with Lumen Technologies and Lumiere Fiber, a network integrator. By expanding its relationship with Lumen, Sterling Ranch, the first all-gigabit community in Colorado, will offer its residents 8 Gbps symmetrical fiber-based internet services.
Georgia’s Clayton County, a growing community that includes Hartsfield Airport, has been ignored by large providers that have not upgraded their broadband facilities to support higher speeds necessary for remote work and learning. This leaves many residents, many of whom are low- or middle-income, with slow-speed DSL or cable connections. The lack of broadband facilities is just one problem for the county.
In 2023, broadband spending could taper off because of high-interest rates and economic challenges, but buildout expansions remain high. A few factors are driving this. Demand for household internet keeps growing. Leichtman Research Group (LRG) found that 90 percent of US households now get internet service, up from 84 percent in 2017.
Multifamily property owners want to make broadband an amenity available to residents as part of their rental agreements. They’re working hard to enter into bulk service agreements with service providers. Commonplace for cable television, these deals are between a homeowners association or condominium association and a company to deliver internet services to everyone who is a community member. Bulk internet services provide several benefits for multifamily owners/operators and residents:
The Hollins Market neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland, is a desirable place to live and work. It takes its name from Hollins Market, the oldest public market building still in use in Baltimore, which is in the heart of the neighborhood. Hollins Market is also the location of Hollins House, a high-rise apartment building that houses seniors and people with disabilities. Most Hollins House residents qualify for Section 8 public housing vouchers, which help people with low incomes rent homes on the private market. A large number of residents are refugees or military veterans.
Located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Dos Palos (CA) is halfway between San Jose and Fresno. It’s a remote community, which created challenges for the Dos Palos-Oro Loma Joint Unified School District (DPOL) when it needed to implement distance learning plans during the pandemic. Paoze Lee, the district’s technology systems director, said it was obvious that the district could provide wireless and broadband coverage only to about 50 percent of its students via commercial wireless operators. “As we tried to bridge the digital divide, we wanted to fill in the gaps,” Lee says.
Sterling, a town of about 8,000 in Worcester County (MA), has become another example of a community controlling its broadband destiny. The Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) is building the Local Area Municipal Broadband (LAMB) network, which will bring fiber-based internet to Sterling’s residents and businesses. Set to be fully completed in the fourth quarter of 2024, SMLD will proactively notify residents as construction begins in their neighborhoods.
Southern Tier 8 Regional Board, a multifaceted planning and development agency in New York state, sees broadband as an opportunity to improve the economic situation of the rural communities it serves. Jennifer Gregory, executive director of Southern Tier 8, recently announced Project Connect, an initiative to connect the agency’s entire eight-county region to high-speed broadband.
In Fort Collins (CO), Connexion broadband service broke ground in early 2019, but the desire to equip the city with service dates back more than a decade. Broadband discussions have been incorporated into Fort Collins' strategic plans since 2014. The city's plans now include broadband as a specific strategic objective: “Encourage the development of reliable, high-speed internet services throughout the community.” After years of thoughtful planning and community feedback, Fort Collins began building a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in February 2019.