Executive Summary

One of the significant challenges facing network operators today is the high capital cost of deploying next generation broadband network to individual homes or schools. Fiber to the home only makes economic sense for a relatively small percentage of homes or schools. One solution is a novel new approach under development in several jurisdictions around the world is to bundle the cost of next generation broadband Internet with the deployment of solar panels on the owners roof or through the sale of renewable energy to the homeowner. Rather than charging customers directly for the costs of deployment of the high speed broadband network theses costs instead are amortized over several years as a small discount on the customer’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) or renewable energy bill. There are many companies such as Solar City that will fund the entire capital cost of deploying solar panels on the roofs of homes or schools, who in turn make their money from the long term sale of the power from the panels to the electrical grid. In addition there are no Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and Green Bond Funds that will underwrite the cost of larger installations.

For further information and detailed business analysis please contact Bill St. Arnaud at bill.st.arnaud@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Economist on customer owned fiber


[Great article in this week's economist on customer owned paper based on the original paper by Derek Slater and Tim WU, which was based on the project we have in Ottawa and elsewhere -- BSA]

Who pays for the pipes?

Dec 10th 2009
Telecommunications: If broadband providers are reluctant to lay expensive optical fibres, consumers can sometimes pay for it themselves

TELEPHONE and cable companies make their money by investing in communications infrastructure and then charging people to use it. Having invested, however, they are often reluctant to upgrade their kit. Replacing copper wires with fibre-optic cables, for example, is hugely expensive, and many firms in Europe have been dragging their heels. Now an alternative has been proposed: why not ask communities and individuals to pay for installation themselves?

The idea that homeowners might be willing to pay a few thousand dollars for a cable sounds implausible. But it could be a worthwhile investment. As well as providing a high-speed broadband link, it would increase the home’s value. A survey conducted earlier this year by RVA, an American market-research firm, on behalf of an American telecoms-industry body, found that among respondents who did not currently have a fibre connection, 69% viewed high-speed service as an important factor when buying a new home.

Another attraction would be that if you paid for your own fibre, you might then be able to choose between several service providers. This is more likely to attract American technophiles than European ones, however, because there is already greater competition between service providers in Europe.

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