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Gigabit-GraphicWhat do Lafayette, Louisiana, the south side of Chicago, Google, Cleveland, the Texas hill country north of San Antonio, and a chunk of rural Missouri and Iowa bigger than Connecticut and Rhode Island have in common?

Each leads in delivering a faster, more reliable, and more innovative internet experience. And you would know that if you had attended—and paid attention—during the first day of the Fiber To The Home Council’s conference on From Gigabit Envy to Gigabit Deployed: A Community Toolkit for Building Ultra High-Speed Networks being held this week in Kansas City.

  • The parish of Lafayette built its own fiber network after fighting off the legal challenges of incumbent cable and internet providers. Now Hollywood special effects firms are opening offices and engineering firms from Boston are relocating their headquarters there.
  • Gigabit Squared is soon to start construction on a new fiber network in and around the University of Chicago neighborhood and already there is more than $100 million dollars in new investment and developers are working to make their projects gig ready.
  • Google is offering Kansas City residents gigabit speed internet, and 1 terabyte of cloud storage, and 100+ channels of cable television, and a DVR with 500 hour of storage (in HD), and a Nexus tablet remote control, and a fast home Wi-Fi—all for $120 a month.
  • Northeast Ohio’s One Community fiber network is allowing neurosurgeons to virtually rehearse the operation before they crack open your skull.
  • The foresight of the GVTC telephone cooperative ten years ago in deploying a fiber to the home network has allowed it to weather the storm of reduced landline usage and move into internet, cable, security, long-distance and advanced data.
  • Grand River Mutual has used USDA grants and loans to build a fiber network that brings fast, reliable, reasonably priced telephone and internet services—and economic development opportunities.

When it comes to blazing a trail—even in something as technically involved as telecommunications—the experience of these organizations shows that vision, creativity, and perseverance can be more important than size, financial resources, or the zip code of your headquarters.  – Barrett Sydnor


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