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Franklin County Broadband Partnership


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Franklin County\'s public-private partnership with B2X Online, Inc. to deploy a wireless mesh network to serve broadband to County facilities and citizens.

Franklin County\'s public-private partnership with B2X Online, Inc. to deploy a wireless mesh network to serve broadband to County facilities and citizens.

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  • 1. Project Overview Broadband Deployment Partnership Franklin County, Virginia Sandie Terry, I/T Director
  • 2. Franklin County’s Project Goals
    • Expand broadband services throughout the County and connect all remote agency offices to the County’s wide-area network
    • Work with Public Safety Radio system upgrade to capitalize on tower infrastructure
    • Connect all fire and rescue stations for public safety data sharing
    • Expand broadband options for citizens
  • 3. Process
    • Conduct a broadband assessment to document existing offerings and service areas
    • Work with WISP to identify areas of highest broadband demand
    • Compare remote agency locations, fire/rescue station locations, and areas of demand to highlight priority locations
    • Work with WISP to plan deployment and identify available/needed infrastructure
    WISP : W ireless I nternet S ervice P rovider
  • 4. Step 1: Broadband Assessment
    • Contracted consultants to:
      • Elicit and document
        • current service providers,
        • their services and delivery method,
        • pricing structure,
        • accessibility and reliability within different geographic regions of the County
      • Obtain coordinates and map broadband service areas as a layer in GIS
      • Develop a broadband report with findings and present to County stakeholders
    Fall 2004 Spring 2005
  • 5. Broadband Assessment Findings
    • Franklin County had many different types of broadband service providers
      • Cable
      • DSL
      • Satellite
    • Pricing of services are competitive with other localities
    • Coverage was good in Rocky Mount and some areas of Smith Mountain Lake.
    • Most underserved were southwest and northwest areas of the County
  • 6. Cable Franchise CABLE Routes
  • 7. Southside Fiber Backbone (MBC)
  • 8. Sprint (Embarq) DSL
  • 9. Step 2: WISP Partnership Search
    • RFP for Wireless Network published June 2005
      • County has a need to network several geographically separated government and semi-government facilities (fire, rescue, libraries, parks & recreation, etc.)
      • Provider should offer broadband Internet access to private and commercial customers in the County
      • The network is to be designed, implemented, owned and maintained by provider
      • County offers tower and infrastructure space in exchange for equipment/services
      • T1 or better throughput
  • 10. Winning Proposal
    • B2X Online, Inc of Salem, Va.
      • Small but aggressive, local company
      • Strong desire to “make a difference”
      • Recognized the need for last mile connectivity
      • Evaluated all brands of equipment
        • Developed a strong relationship with Motorola
      • Had already established connectivity and services in Salem
  • 11. Towers and B2X’s Coverage
  • 12. B2X Redundant Wireless Network
  • 13. Impact of Partnership with B2X Online
    • January 2005 B2X Online presence in Franklin County
      • 2 locations (small towers)
      • 5 businesses served
    • Summer of 2008
      • 14 towers and 1 additional under construction (AEP)
      • 143 businesses served
      • 1000+ residential customers
      • 16 County buildings
      • Still have waiting list for remote areas of County
  • 14. Technology
    • Really B2X’s area but we do know……
    • They use Motorola Canopy which is line-of-sight (LOS) and some near line-of-sight (NLOS)
    • UNI-band – or all the unlicensed wireless frequency
    • Distances:
      • 25 miles for the back haul (LOS)
      • 12 miles standard on subscriber (LOS)
      • 3-5 miles on 900mhz (NLOS)
  • 15. Funding?
    • Homeland Security grant money for connecting fire/rescue stations ($50k)
    • Pay for 3-5 years of services up front ($18K)
      • assists provider by funding equipment
      • Allows provider to realize a profit before revisiting the agreement
    • Total County general fund investment ~ $83k
    • Be creative!!
  • 16. Lessons Learned
    • Assess current broadband options (what do you have?)
    • Identify underserved areas with greatest demand (WISP can assist with demand assessment)
    • Determine locality broadband goals before searching for partner
    • Setup infrastructure (tower, water tanks, etc.) agreement with provider before deployment
    • Obtaining tower space on private land requires a lot of time!! (easements, etc.)