The city of San Francisco has just released its draft (200 pg pdf file) of a major feasibility study for building a “fiber to the premise” network for the city, titled Fiber Optics for Government and Public Broadband:
A Feasibility Study.
The press release is here.
What did they find?
FTTP is the holy grail of broadband: a fat pipe all the way into the home or business–but in the near future only available for a privileged few located in the limited areas of private-sector deployment.
But private-sector networks3 are not meeting this growing demand for bandwidth and speed in an affordable manner. Though there are private-sector FTTP deployments underway in some, limited areas of the United States, none is planned or foreseen for San Francisco.
In this context of private sector disinterest, municipal FTTP would rank San Francisco among the world’s most far-sighted cities — by creating an infrastructure asset with a lifetime of decades that is almost endlessly upgradeable and capable of supporting any number of public or private sector communications initiatives.
The report proposes building a fiber network first to provide capacity for city government, then to targeted “enterprise zones” in the city, and then to expand it city-wide. The report details various fiber networking technologies and topologies for deployment in San Francisco, examines costs and financing alternatives, and looks at operational options.
This is definitely worth a look, and it will be fascinating to see how the report is received and what comes next in SF.