nDanville Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Pilot Project Survey Results to be discussed at August 3rd City Council Work Session Meeting
As a result of the July 6th City Council work session meeting, City Council members requested a survey be conducted to gauge the level of interest in the Averett target community. So far, Gamewood Technology Group has received around 20% of their 1,100 postcards back that were sent out to the targeted homes and businesses. Out of those appoximately 220 postcards, 85% were in favor of obtaining service. City Council will discuss more about the project in detail at the August 3rd work session meeting and vote on whether or not to move forward with the 2,000-3,000 home project.
nDanville’s operating principle since its inception is that Danville’s businesses, institutions, and households should have affordable broadband services on par with those available elsewhere in Virginia in order to ensure access to entertainment, cultural, health, and especially to educational and economic opportunities. Many advanced broadband applications require fiber, particularly those requiring symmetrical up and down bandwidth greater than a few megabits per second. Conventional cable and DSL services offer only limited asymmetrical bandwidth in the 750 kilobits to 5 megabits per second range. While large private sector telecommunications providers like Verizon and Comcast are already investing in fiber to the home deployments elsewhere, it is highly unlikely that they will do so in Danville (or in similar “low tier” markets) in the foreseeable future.
nDanville’s open access system provides opportunities for service providers to take advantage of municipally constructed and operated telecommunication system to conduct business in return for a share of their revenues. Danville Utilities has been waiting for a client ready to deliver television services because they will provide sufficient shared revenue to retire debt on a fiber to the home deployment. Gamewood is prepared to do so and has briefed City Council on its plans. While Gamewood is the only service provider currently making use of nDanville, others are interested in the fiber to the neighborhood project and may join the network if given the opportunity to serve residential customers.
The pilot deployment of nDanville’s fiber optic cables to neighborhoods anticipates coverage of approximately 1,100 homes and businesses in the Averett University area and a similar number of properties in one or more areas to be determined as the project is initiated. The cost of the deployment will be $2.5 million to cover 2,000 – 3,000 service locations. Revenue collected from nDanville’s customers and service providers will cover capital costs for the project without impacting utility ratepayers or municipal taxpayers. The pilot project is expected to generate a positive cash flow by the sixth year of operation. nDanville proved its ability to self-fund projects of this size in its initial phase wherein an identical $2.5 million investment made by the City’s Electric Fund was repaid in a few years by the Telecommunications Fund.